What initially began as a means of transportation was actually the setting for an epic story. In 1999, two friends (Ben and Joey) found themselves without access to a family car to take them from their homes in Washington DC to the Delaware Shore. No car, no problem! With two bikes, beach clothes stuffed in backpacks, and the determination to join friends in celebrating their high school graduations, Ben and Joey biked 100+ miles to the beach. Over 12 hours, breakfast at McDonalds, and hitch-hiking over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, the guys arrived safely in Bethany Beach, DE.
The following year Joey’s brother Tommy, intrigued by the legendary story, joined the pair in biking to the beach for a second time. A tradition was formed, and each year following, a few more friends embarked on the 100+ bike ride from Washington DC to the Delaware Shore. One year in particular, this adventurous bunch decided to go green, and made their way to the beach without the use of any motor vehicles. Biking from DC to Annapolis, they sailed across the Chesapeake Bay to Easton, MD and continued the ride from the Eastern Shore.
The Cause Takes Root
In the years between the first Bike to the Beach and when Bike to the Beach became a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, the founding members joined the millions of Americans who are affected by autism, family members and or friends were diagnosed with the developmental disorder.
The founding members saw how these diagnoses affected their families and transformed the lives of those around them. Each were inspired to make a difference in the fight to understand and treat a disorder for which the cause is unknown, yet is more prevalent than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes and pediatric AIDS combined.
A tradition among friends, the drive of physical challenges, and the love of cycling was combined with a new cause – autism. In 2007, Bike to the Beach became a 501(c)3 organization and partnered with Autism Speaks. The first fundraising campaign began with that year’s Washington, DC to Delaware Shore ride.
Bike to the Beach as a 501(c)3:
- In 2010 Bike to the Beach expanded to New York and held its first New York City to Westhampton Beach charity ride.
- In 2012 Bike to the Beach expanded to New England with a ride from Boston to Newport, RI.
- In 2013 Bike to the Beach added on to it’s flagship ride and built a ride starting from Baltimore, MD to the Delaware Shore joining the DC ride outside of Annapolis, MD.
- In 2014 Bike to the Beach moved south for its first winter ride from Key Largo to Key West, FL.
- In 2016 Bike to the Beach travels west with our first ride in Houston, TX.