Jon and Ken's Most Excellent Adventure: Santa Cruz Sunrise Rotary Charity Bike Ride

  • 27 Sep 2018
  • 29 Sep 2018
  • Healdsburg, CA to Santa Cruz, CA

Healdsburg to Santa Cruz or Bust! Explore the legendary 3 day course that covers 200 miles of beautiful Northern California scenery. For those who haven't yet ridden the historic, challenging, and always beautiful Healdsburg to Santa Cruz track as laid out by the Santa Cruz Sunrise Rotary Club here is your chance.

Jon & Ken’s Most Excellent Adventure


Originally not intended to be a fundraiser, the first Most Excellent Adventure Charity Bike Ride rode off in October of 1998. Jon Sisk and Ken Whiting, both members of the Santa Cruz Sunrise Rotary Club, simply wanted to go on a distance bike ride.

Once they had determined a course and a date, they and a group of friends, both Rotarians and non-Rotarians, set off for what was a truly great adventure riding between San Luis Obispo and Santa Cruz. The event turned out to be a great success - and in the course of planning, an accidental fundraiser. The first ride ended up raising over $4,000.00 and what started as a simple adventure among friends soon evolved into a popular event and a successful fundraiser.

Since that first ride in 1998 things have taken on a life of their own. The Jon and Ken’s Most Excellent Adventure Charity Bike Ride has become an annual event with the 21st Ride scheduled for September 27 - 29. The event organizers decided that the bike ride could really be used as an event to “build something” for the community and it was eventually decided that funds would be put towards building a new track and field for Santa Cruz High School. To work towards this goal, Jon and Ken committed to run the bike ride for 10 years. With nearly $500,000 raised through the bike ride, a new track and field was completed in early 2010 at Santa Cruz High School.

With the track and field complete, funds from the bike ride are now being put towards youth athletics and community projects benefiting children in Santa Cruz County.

The Ride

Even though the event has grown as a fundraiser each year, the organizers believe that more is not better. The size is limited to about 60 bike riders, plus the support team. At this size, friendships are made or renewed and everyone has a great time. The level of service our support team can deliver to this size of group exceeds expectations, and any more than this simply adds to the management and work, as well as would complicate the logistics of traveling 200 miles over three days.

The current course begins in Healdsburg and ends in Santa Cruz, with hotel stays in Bodega Bay and Pacifica. Each rider is required to raise a minimum of $500, as well as pay $350 that covers the expenses of putting on the event. Tremendous corporate sponsorship support and a raffle ticket sale enhance the fundraising component.

One of the real strengths has turned out to be non-Rotarian participation. About half the participants are not members of Rotary. Many of them have really adopted this event and have raised thousands of dollars. Several have gone on to become very active members of the Santa Cruz Sunrise Rotary Club since their involvement with this bike ride.

Also in true Rotary fashion, the volunteer support this event enjoys is what makes it the truly unique experience it has become. For rider safety, comfort and enjoyment, there are several trucks on the road to assist riders, a nurse, and a motor home filled with all the necessary provisions. The finish line party is an energizing event that only occurs through the contributions and efforts of other Sunrise Rotarians.

Under the umbrella of Rotary, hundreds of people have participated in the bike ride, many times more have made contributions, and nearly 180,000 miles have been ridden. Over the past 15 years, what started out as a fun adventure among friends has managed to remain true to this original spirit while also becoming a way to give back to the community. The bike ride has achieved the original goal of “building something” with the recent completion of the track and field project at Santa Cruz High School. In the next ten years the Santa Cruz Sunrise Rotary Club looks forward to supporting our local Santa Cruz youth and providing an adventure for all participating riders in the Jon and Ken’s Most Excellent Adventure Charity Bike Ride.

Rotary Fellowship Cycling to Serve

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