Written by Brian De Los Santos
Jim Berklite has been a competitive cyclist for years.
From the late 80s to the early 90s, he took rides up and down the coast, even some as far as from Canada to Mexico. But the annual ride with Fire Velo — a national cycling club comprised of firefighters — he’s participated in for the past seven years always seems like more of an accomplishment than some others.
“Big guys who aren’t very emotional become emotional; it’s an accomplishment that not many people thought they could do,” he said. “It’s just the emotional side of seeing things people do things they’ve never done before.”
Berklite, the club’s president, and Fire Velo will begin this year’s trip this Sunday, starting their 471-mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to spread cancer awareness among firefighters up and down the California coast.
The ride, in total, will last seven days, making stops in places such as Half Moon Bay, Big Sur and Morro Bay before ending at the Santa Monica Pier.
The group consists of 35 riders, some cancer survivors, who will stop at fire stations along the coast to talk about cancer among firefighters. In a job surrounded by a constant stream of toxins, it forces firefighters to talk about cancer and prevention, Berklite said.
One of the stops along the way will be in Watsonville on Monday, Aug. 19, they second day of riding. Cyclists will stay at the Days Inn after biking 71 miles from Half Moon Bay to Watsonville. On Tuesday morning, they will head south and travel 60 miles to Big Sur.
The ride finishes Aug. 23 in Oxnard.