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SoCal spin studios raise money for charities

A cycling class is seen in this undated file photo.
April 25, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Biking for bucks is the latest trend in fitness fundraising. You may be surprised by the charities that are benefiting, and where people are spinning their wheels.

"It's been really exciting to have this collaboration with other charities, and we're all working together, everybody's got different angles," said Lisa Maneheim of the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.

They may have different angles, but they all have one common theme: cycling for charity.

"We really like to go to our community and say, 'Who do you want to raise money for?' And we've done it since inception seven years ago," said Gabrielle Cohen of Soul Cycle.

Cohen says all of their studios hold weekly events bringing in impressive results.

"We did over 150 charity rides across the country and raised well over $500,000 for charities across the country," Cohen said.

They're not alone. Cycle House L.A. works with the Feeding America organization, securing 145,000 meals since 2011. Each class taken translates into two meals for the hungry.

And new to the SoCal cycle scene, Aura Cycle holds a community giveback ride every Sunday, with proceeds going to community groups that fight childhood obesity.

"The community giveback, that's really what we want to do right now, and it's something we're really happy to be doing," said Jose Pilau of Aura Cycle.

And then there are those that take their stationary cycle right out of the studio and spin somewhere special: On May 19, there will be up to 400 bikes on the Strand in Manhattan Beach for Tour de Pier.

Manheim, a cofounder of Tour de Pier, is hoping for a big push at this fundraiser to reach a $250,000 goal. A big part of that goes to the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.

"We're actually partnering with four charities. It's the Hirshberg Foundation, we're also partnering with Livestrong, the Friendship Circle of the South Bay and the Cancer Support Community in Redondo Beach," Manheim said.

Three local Spectrum Clubs donated cycle bikes for this event. It's $500 to reserve a bike, which can be shared by a team of four, with no minimum time required. You can pedal for as little or as long as you want.

On June 2, it's Pedal on the Pier -- the Santa Monica Pier this time. One hundred bikes and 100 miles is the ticket to raise money for the Harold Robinson Foundation that sends underprivileged kids to camp. Their goal is to raise $500,000.

Got a good cause and want to bike for bucks? Might as well make it fun, too.

"So the idea is that you have a great time, you do something healthy and you raise money for charity," Cohen said. "We'll do T-shirts and balloons and healthy snacks afterwards. We want to make it a joyful experience."


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