“How ya doing New York?” A spinning instructor, clad in Tour de France yellow, roars at the 50 people pedaling furiously on stationary bikes in front of him. Sweat rolls down labored faces. Speakers blast an amped up remix of Beyoncé’s “Partition.” “We’ve only burned 800 calories!”
But this scene isn’t on a gym floor. It’s on a patch of concrete normally called a business pavilion.
On this Friday afternoon, June 6, 2014, athletes and altruists alike have flocked to 1345 6th Avenue to cycle for charity. For $500 to $5,000 per bike, New Yorkers can take an hour-long class from spinning powerhouse Cyc Fitness with views of the iconic “LOVE” sign and Radio City Music Hall. And random passersby snapping paparazzi-esque photos of the business area bikers of course.
The purpose of the day’s event is to raise money for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, a non-profit that assists American military members suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Next week, an eight-member team from the organization is participating in “Race Across America,” a 3,000 mile bike ride stretching from California to Maryland. So today is merely a light warm up.
“We bike 24 hours a day,” says the team’s captain Winston Fisher. “We stop for tornadoes, but other than that, we keep moving.”
All proceeds from both cycling events go to building nine TBI diagnostic centers across the country, adding to the San Antonio amputee center and Washington DC headquarters the Fallen Heroes Fund already operates. Through CYC and their cross-country campaign, they’ve already raised $500,000. The fact that philanthropy can come through fitness is part of CYC’s vocation, according to co-founder Alexandra Blodgett.
“Cyc actually has a built in charity component,” she says. “For every mille that you ride, we donate on your behalf. We want to make an experience where you’re helping others as well as yourself.”
With the exhausted class cheering wildly as their teacher reminds them every pedal stroke aids wounded warriors, CYC & Fallen Heroes Fund can declare this mission accomplished.