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What you need to know about the mega-inspiring Cycle for Survival


Cycle for Survival
(Photo: Facebook/Cycle for Survival)

This weekend, New Yorkers will slip into their spin shoes for Cycle for Survival, an incredible event that harnesses the power of the country’s fitness communities to raise money for research on rare cancers. Since its inception in 2007, Cycle has raised more than $28.7 million and funded 53 clinical trials.

“Cycle for Survival is the fastest growing fundraising event in the world,” says Equinox COO Scott Rosen, who explained that it’s doubled in size and fundraising each year. “More than 13,000 people are expected to ride in Cycle for Survival 2013—an increase of more than 1,000 riders compared to 2012.”

It’s so popular, in fact, that the three New York rides sold out instantly. But while you can’t get into a class this year, we gathered the need-to-know facts so that you can be ready to register for 2014.

Cycle for Survival
(Photo: Facebook/Cycle for Survival)

WHO: Cycle for Survival was founded by Jennifer Goodman Linn and her husband, David. Linn had been diagnosed with sarcoma and underwent 12 kinds of chemotherapy and six surgeries before passing away in July of 2011. She was an avid cycler, and while fighting the disease, spin classes provided her with relief. “Every hill was representative of my battle against cancer, and I would leave feeling emotionally refreshed,” she says in a video promoting the event. Linn started the event as one class with 50 bikes, which raised $250,000. In 2009, she partnered with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) and Equinox to launch on a larger scale.

WHEN AND WHERE: Last year Cycle for Survival events were held in six cities with Equinox clubs, and 2013’s event includes ten cities—New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington DC, Miami, Chicago, San Francisco, Greenwich, Summit, NJ, and Roslyn on Long Island. The rides take place throughout February and into early March. In New York, Cycle has 12 classes across three Equinox locations—Graybar, Rockefeller Center, and Fifth Avenue.

WHY: All of the money raised goes to MSKCC’s research on rare cancers. This is important because cancers classified as “rare,” like brain, pancreatic, cervical, sarcoma, and stomach, make up about 50 percent of all diagnosed cancers. But since each lacks a critical mass of people affected by the disease, they get less research funding than more common cancers like breast and prostate.

Cycle for Survival also eliminates a lot of the red tape that creates a time lag between money for research and actual studies. “What sets Cycle for Survival apart is that within six months of each event, every dollar raised is allocated to an MSKCC research initiative devoted to discovering new and more effective treatments for rare cancers,” Rosen says.

“We are honored and inspired by the team at Memorial Sloan Kettering, our cycling instructors, members, and those that benefit from the cause. We strive to make 2013 the most successful year in Cycle’s history, to continue on the legacy and ride until we find a cure.” —Lisa Elaine Held

For more information, visit www.cycleforsurvival.org