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Gary Aubuchon to ride for Cure on Wheels

February 14, 2019
By MEGHAN BRADBURY (news@breezenewspapers.com) , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

On Feb. 17, one Cape Coral resident will pedal more than 325 miles from Tampa to Tallahassee to raise funds and awareness in the fight of cancer.

"It started really as a way to raise awareness within the legislature for the need to fund cancer research in the State of Florida," Gary Aubuchon said. "When I heard of the organization, Cure on Wheels, and the work they were doing I was excited to join and combine two passions of mine. One, which is cycling, and the other is the advocacy for cancer research."

This year Aubuchon, of Aubuchon Team of Companies and a former state representative has a goal of raising $5,000 for Cure on Wheels. As of Friday, Feb. 8, he had already raised $4,719.

"I'm pretty excited about that. There is a lot of caring people out there," he said.

When Aubuchon sends out his Cure on Wheels email blast there are many people who respond by saying they have lost their mother, father, dear friend, spouse, or child to cancer.

"It's touching and at the same time it is a bit heart wrenching to know that pretty much every one has had cancer touch them in some way," he said.

Those who would like to donate to the cause can do so by visiting www.cureonwheels.org and either donate to Gary Aubuchon, or the organization.

In the past four years, he has raised between $25,000 to $30,000 for Cure on Wheels.

"I get amounts as little as $25 and amounts as high as a couple hundred dollars. Everybody feels good about being able to do something to be apart of what we all hope to be the ultimate cure for cancer," Aubuchon said.

To prepare for the ride, he primarily does an indoor spin class with his instructor Dave Salko, who was the first person to tell him about the ride. He typically takes three to four classes a week to train.

The ride will begin at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa to the steps of the Capital Building in Tallahassee. Aubuchon will travel the distance on his 1997 Schwinn Passage.

Cure on Wheels is a three-day ride that travels between 100 to 110 miles each day. The first day they travel from Tampa to Ocala and spend the night in Ocala. The following day they travel to Lake City, where again they spend the night. The final leg of the trip travels from Lake City to Tallahassee across the Panhandle.

"There aren't back roads. There is a main highway that goes east to west and you have to ride that shoulder," Aubuchon said. "More than anything we want everyone to arrive safely. There is almost an element of caution on the ride."

The fourth morning, he said they have a celebratory ride into the capital with a police escort.

"We meet on the plaza between the old Capitol and the new Capitol. There will be a bit of ceremony upon arrival. Some of the legislators will come down to greet us. We will spend most of that day in the capital visiting with members of the legislature," Aubuchon said, adding that they are always well received. "They appreciate the effort that we all exerted ourselves to get there. It isn't so much that we have to illustrate the importance of cancer research, as much as it is to remind them when they are finalizing the budget that there are dollars in the budget for cancer research. There is a wide array of people out there that care very much about this issue."

Cure on Wheels, which is a 100 percent volunteer organization, he said has several people who are involved that provide the logistics for the ride. All the cyclists drive to Tampa and leave their vehicles there before biking to Tallahassee. From Tallahassee, the 20 to 25 riders, travel back to Tampa on a small bus, while their bikes are brought back in a box truck.

"During the ride there are three, or four vehicles that follow behind us for support in case anyone needs bike repair. One year we had a pretty bad crash with about six of us. One broke their shoulder. The support vehicle was there. There is wonderful support and they provide us with fluids and snacks along the way," Aubuchon said.

Each one of the four rides he has participated in have been a unique experience.

"Last year every morning when we started out the temperatures were in the low 30s. The challenge that year was the cold. Another year the challenge was wind and rain. This year we are hoping for milder temperatures," he said.

Aubuchon said he enjoys the ride because of the camaraderie and fellowship. He said there are several riders who are cancer survivors, which makes the ride that much more meaningful.

 
 
 

 

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