This ride includes many levels and is considered a safe ride with very little traffic.
Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star
By Steve Pike
You’ve heard of “talking the talk” and “walking the walk.” To put those in cycling terms, the Boca Raton Bicycle Club talks the talk and rides the ride.
With nearly 400 members, the Boca Raton Bicycle Club is the largest bike club in South Florida and one of the most active clubs — of any kind — in the area. Through fundraising and active membership led by President Jonathan Berman, the club gives back to local and national charities for the benefit of cycling in the community.
For example, the club’s Bicycle Safety and Public Education Committee helps fund the Boca Raton Police Bicycle Program that resulted in 22 bicycles being given to students in Boca Raton Elementary School and 22 bicycles to students in J.C. Mitchell Elementary School.
The Bicycle Safety and Public Education Committee participated in the Back to School Safety Fair. The fair is sponsored by the South Florida Safe Roads Task Force. This task force is a joint effort of local law enforcement agencies, the Dori Slosberg Foundation and FDOT, and its purpose is to promote safety for cyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists and motorists as they share the road.
Although the bulk of its membership and activities are in the Boca Raton area, the club’s community reaches all through Palm Beach County.
“We have a very robust organization,” said Berman, a Boca Raton plastic surgeon who has been a club member for five years. “It’s really important that we embrace all riders. I want everybody who cycles from the Hillsboro/Boca line and from Atlantic Avenue on A1A (in Delray Beach) to Hillsboro Avenue and A1A to join the club.”
The more people who join the club, Berman said, “the bigger our voice” when it comes to raising awareness for such things as more bike lanes on roads and tougher safety laws.
The club, which was founded in 1992, sponsors riding events almost on a daily basis — more than 500 rides per year — on different routes throughout Palm Beach County. Its most visible ride, and most successful fundraiser, is the annual Frank Stark Ride, a 62-mile round-trip ride that begins at Boca Raton City Hall and goes to Clematis Street in West Palm Beach and back.
The 2015 Frank Stark Ride on July 12 is expected to attract approximately 700 riders from all over the state and beyond.
The ride, now in its 26th year, is named after the late Frank Stark, who was a member of the Boca Raton Bicycle Club and a former airline pilot. Stark was forced to retire because of quadruple-bypass heart surgery and two heart attacks. As part of his recovery, he took up cycling and celebrated his birthday by riding one mile for each year of his age.
Over the past three years, Berman said, the ride has raised $44,000 for bicycle advocacy on the local, state and national levels. Among those are the League of American Cyclists and Florida Bicycle Association.
The Frank Stark Ride, Berman said, “is our pride and joy. It’s our baby where we can show off the greatness of our club. It’s a very special ride.”
A ride that talks the talk.
Frank Stark Ride
On July 12, the BRBC will host the 26th annual Frank Stark Ride. Affectionately referred to as “the Hottest Ride in Florida,” it has 62- and 30-mile options along A1A, and is open to cyclists of all levels.
At the end of the ride, a village will be set up with free lunches, ice cream and booths by sponsoring vendors, providing information as well as free samples and discounts.
Registration is $40, when paid in advance.
For more information, see FrankStarkRide.com.
For information about the Boca Raton Bicycle Club, see BocaRatonBicycleClub.com.