Manhattan Beach Tour de Pier spin-a-thon exceeds $500,000 goal
After only its second year, the Tour de Pier has achieved signature event status in Manhattan Beach.Sunday morning, while the 8th and final stage of the Tour of California was finishing up in Thousand Oaks, 1,200 Tour de Pier spin cyclists were racing in teams of four on 300 stationary bikes overlooking the Manhattan Beach pier.
Local beach volleyball Olympic gold medalists Eric Fonoimoana and Kerri Walsh-Jennings, Long Beach Olympic cyclist Tony Cruz and Palos Verdes big wave rider Alex Gray led the riders from a stage at the head of the pier.
Manhattan police officers and firefighters, including Police Chief Eve Irvine and Battalion Chief Ron Laursen, Los Angeles County Lifeguards and local businesses, including the Zislis Restaurant Group and Shorewood Realtors sent teams.
Manhattan Beach resident Jon Hirshberg came up with the idea after learning of a national spinning fundraiser that raised over $3 million in one day. Following the death of his father in 1997, at age 54, Hirshberg and his step mother Agi founded the Hirshberg Foundation, which has raised over $23 million to fund pancreatic cancer research at UCLA.
For the Tour de Pier, he enlisted the help of fellow Manhattan Beach resident and cycling enthusiast Heath Gregory, who had participated in a similar spinning fundraiser produced by the Livestrong Foundation in Bacelona during the 2009 Tour de France.
Heath is a partner in The Strand House, overlooking the Manhattan Beach Pier. In the weeks leading up to the Tour de Pier, The Strand House offered an anti-oxident, cancer-fighting menu to help raise awareness about the effect of diet on cancer prevention.
Last year’s inaugural Tour de Pier raised $339,000 and earned the City of Manhattan Beach the Outstanding Special Events Award from the California Association of Parks and Recreational Commissioners.
Among the Tour de Pier’s original supporters is legendary South Bay racer and bike store owner Ted Ernst, founder of the South Bay Wheelmen.
Sunday’s Tour de Pier raised $503,00 for the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, the Livestrong Foundation and the Cancer Support Community Redondo Beach. For more information visit TourDePier.