Road cycling has been increasing in popularity in recent years, and that is overwhelmingly evident in Lake Nona. On any day of the week and at various times throughout the day, you will see individual riders, small groups, or even large pelotons of riders rolling down the streets of Laureate Park, Lake Nona Boulevard and on Narcoossee Road.
This activity has so many positive health benefits, and the social aspects of it make this a very enjoyable sport that provides a means for residents of Lake Nona and the surrounding area to meet one another. One of the most prominent cycling groups in the Lake Nona area is Nona Cycle, a group that celebrated its second anniversary in August and has grown in a short time from 16 cyclists to now over 650 members. Nona Cycle and their signature Sunday morning ride draw cyclists every Sunday from all corners of Central Florida to enjoy a 36-mile ride through the streets of Laureate Park and St. Cloud and ending with a very rewarding cup of coffee at the Lake Nona Starbucks. On average, there are about 65 cyclists attending these rides, but there have been more than 125 show up on occasion!
With all of this attention to cycling in Lake Nona and our social behavior, it was just a matter of time before this group would turn to finding a purpose. We didn’t need to look far since Lake Nona and Tavistock Group both work very hard to attract charity events to our neighborhood. In March of this year, Nona Cycle raised $44,000 to benefit the American Diabetes Association through their annual Tour De Cure (Walk/Run/Ride) Event.
Our next challenge is the 9th Annual Ride-For-RMHCCF, on Oct. 14. Ride-For-RMHCCF (Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida) is a charity cycling event held to benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida. The charity operates three RMHs in Orlando with the newest house located on the campus of Nemours Children’s Hospital in Lake Nona.
In 2017, Nona Cycle’s team consisted of 36 cyclists and raised $11,865. We weren’t alone, though. Companies such as Tavistock Development Co., OUC, and individuals like Ryan Thomas of Northpoint Mortgages Inc. all worked very hard to secure donations to support this great and local cause. All in all, there were more than 400 cyclists, volunteers and organizers who raised more than $218,000. This year, we will exceed that number.
The organization’s cornerstone program, Ronald McDonald House, provides a home away from home for families with children receiving treatment at hospitals and medical facilities in Orlando. Before the Ronald McDonald Houses, parents were sleeping in their cars or in chairs in the waiting room, eating out of vending machines, or bearing the expense of impersonal hotel rooms while trying to stay positive and support those going through potentially life-threatening events. When families stay at a Ronald McDonald House, they are steps away from their ill child and are given a comfortable bed and warm meals so they can focus on their child’s health.
As many local residents are aware, Lake Nona is a special place to live, and the fact that we have such great charity events like the Ride-For-RMHCCF gives all of us an opportunity to show our appreciation and to show that Lake Nona cares. There are many ways you can participate this year, such as joining the Nona Cycle team or creating a team of your own.
Not a cyclist? Don’t worry; there are virtual riders who help raise donations without having to get on a bike. There will also be fun activities for the whole family at the event. Details and registration information can be found at https://www.rmhccf.org/events/2018-ride-4-rmhc.