Rachel Reeves

South Bay Sunrise Rotarians donate $15,000 to charities, education

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Torrance council members with South Bay Sunrise Rotary Club President Todd Cruser. Photo courtesy of Warren Kelly

Torrance council members with South Bay Sunrise Rotary Club President Todd Cruser. Photo courtesy of Warren Kelly

by Warren Kelly

The South Bay Sunrise Rotary Club has donated $15,000 to  South Bay charities and schools — funds raised through the Rat Beach Bike Tour held on Sept. 21 of last year.

Directors from each beneficiary joined South Bay Sunrise Rotary President Todd Cruser, plus city council members from  Torrance and Redondo Beach Councilmember Jeff Ginsburg, at a Jan. 16.  mixer. There, checks were presented to the following charities: Pediatric Therapy Network, The Harbor Regional Center, The South Bay ARC, The Friends of Exceptional Athletes, The Boy Scouts of America, Hawthorne High School Interact Club, North High School Jr. ROTC, South High School Interact Club, Torrance High School Interact Club, Torrance High School Cheerleaders, El Segundo High School Interact Club, and The Palos Verdes Amateur Radio Club.

In his remarks, Cruser also recognized and thanked the many volunteers who have helped make the ride a success, including Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce representative Michael Jackson, Redondo Beach Lobster Fest event director Pete Moffet, RAT Beach Bike Tour director and founder Jim Beardsley, and the many South Bay Sunrise Rotarians and other  volunteers so critical to its mission.

The South Bay Sunrise Rotary Club has hosted the Rat Beach Bike Tour for four years running, and donates proceeds from that tour to local South Bay charities and schools. The tour started in 2010, and has grown each year, boasting 576 riders in 2013.

Several years ago, Beardsley approached the Redondo Beach City Council about the idea of co-sponsoring the event and coordinating it with the annual Lobster Fest, which was taking place the same weekend as the ride each year.

Beardsley was put in touch with Moffet, and for the past two years, the Rat Beach Bike Tour has co-sponsored the Bike Tour with Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce’s Lobster Fest.

The tour starts and finishes at Lobster Fest, held at the Seaside Lagoon in Redondo Beach, and takes riders on 15, 31, and 62 mile bike rides, through Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Marina Del Rey, El Segundo, Torrance, Lomita, Rolling Hills, San Pedro, Rancho Palos Verdes, and Palos Verdes Estates.

When the riders return, they are admitted to the Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce Lobster Fest and treated to lunch at Ruby’s Diner or a Lobster Fest/Lobster Lunch. The combination has proved very successful.

The RAT Beach Bike Tour is on track to becoming a destination event, benefitting not only the charities being served but local businesses as municipalities as well. This year’s 5th annual Rat Beach Bike Tour will take place on Sept. 27 and is projecting around 700 riders.

For more information see ratbeachbiketour.com or contact Beardsley at jim.beardsley1@verizon.net.

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