Pedal for Prizes Means Business Hundreds of cyclists converge in Old Brooklyn

Pedal for Prizes is quickly becoming a major highlight of the summer for cyclists from Old Brooklyn and beyond. The third annual event, held May 19th, attracted 550 cyclists, a remarkable increase from 75 participants just two years earlier.  Riders came not only from all over Ohio this year, but there were even a few from out of state!  

Riders were lured by the promise of more than $6,000 worth of prizes, in addition to the attractive entry fee (free!). Since its inception, Pedal for Prizes has been a grassroots initiative dedicated to promoting local business, community, and bicycling in Old Brooklyn.   The organizers, Jeffrey Sugalski, John Young, Bruce Page, Jacqueline Sliva, and Becky Derwis, a group of Old Brooklyn residents and business owners, could not be more pleased at the event's success. 

Although the official start time was 12 p.m. at Loew Park, enthusastic cyclists began arriving around 11 a.m. Upon registration, riders received a punch card and a map of twenty-two destinations in Old Brooklyn. An open event friendly to cyclists of all experience levels and ages, participants were free to stop at any number of destinations from only one to all twenty-two. With each stop, a hole punch in the participant’s card was earned, increasing the odds of winning one of over 75 prizes.

Upon returning to Loew Park at 3 p.m, after exploring and visiting Old Brooklyn merchants and points of interest, riders returned their punch cards, each hole punch was counted and exchanged for a raffle ticket. While waiting for the raffle to begin, riders snacked on fruit donated by the West Side Market, pizza, and granola bars. With the help of hard working volunteers and enthusiastic riders, the Chinese-style raffle went smoothly and winners went home with a smile and a great memory of Old Brooklyn. Even riders who left without a prize expressed gratitude and enjoyment for simply participating in such a fun and unique event.  

This year's prizes included gift certificates from big names at Steelyard Commons, yoga classes from the Studio Cleveland, tickets to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, gift certificates to merchants in Old Brooklyn, bike tune ups from Century Cycles, and surprise gifts along the way. In addition, riders were pleasantly surprised that destination stops Honey Hut and Jack Frost Doughnuts offered a complimentary treat included with a hole punch. At the Memphis Fulton Plaza stop, 300 riders were given a backpack and a few more were further rewarded with a $25 gift certificate to any shop in the plaza, randomly placed in the packs. Organizers John Young, owner of Speed Exterminating, Bruce Page, owner of Honey Hut, Becky Derwis, owner of Knot Your Yarn, and Jacqueline Sliva, Massage Practitioner at Lava Massage Studio, all donated prizes from their businesses as well. Jeffrey Sugalski’s years of involvement promoting bicycling in Cleveland helped the group procure the additional finances to purchase our most popular prizes -- two bicycles from Joy Machine’s Bike Shop and two from Eddy’s Bicycle Shop, all at cost.

New destinations this year included specialty shops Something Fishy and Trading Post train shop, as well as the Jesse Owens tree behind Rhodes High School. Actual photos from the 1938 Olympics were available to view, complements of Tyrell Owens, a local relative of Jesse Owens and Don Workman of Ameriflag donated an Olympic flag to mark the stop. Favorite repeat destinations included Wexler’s Tavern and Eatery, Benjamin Franklin Community Gardens, and Pop Up Pearl, an annual street fair put on by Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation that also promotes the neighborhood.

With the success of Pedal for Prizes, the organizers are now being sought as consultants to other Cleveland neighborhoods that wish to host bicycling events. Coming up, the group will be organizing the Tremont Tubular Trivia Ride with Crank-Set Rides and other events this summer, as well as discussing new possibilities for Pedal for Prizes 2013. 

Please feel free to share your experiences on our Facebook page or email us with any questions or comments at pedalforprizes@gmail.com. Keep up to date on all our activities and plans by visiting our website, pedalforprizes.org.

Pedal for Prizes would like to thank all of our destinations, donors, sponsors, and volunteers. Without their support this fantastic event would not be possible!

Read More on News
Volume 1, Issue 1, Posted 9:56 PM, 06.05.2012