Story and photo by David Duran
A fundraiser within a fundraiser—that’s exactly what took place today during Day 3 of the AIDS/LifeCycle (ALC) ride. First time participants and veterans alike were asked the night before to bring cash, but some didn’t know the extent of the amazing day that lay ahead of them and the small town they would personally impact at midday. The lunch stop for Day 3 happens to follow the gut-wrenching and infamous “quadbuster” hill climb, which luckily for Bradley residents, leaves the riders in desperate need of plentiful refueling.
The sparsely populated town of Bradley, California with a whopping 120 residents put today on hold for ALC and devoted themselves to raising money for their school system and, most importantly, extracurricular activities for the students. It’s been an ongoing tradition to stop for lunch in Bradley on day 3 of the ride and all who participated today where happy to stand in a massive line to pay for freshly cooked burgers with all the fixings. In addition, souvenirs, which were made by students, and fresh baked goods, were being sold. The best part is that all the stations were run by the kids of Bradley and managed by a parent or adult.
As the cyclists rode in, they were greeted by welcoming cheers and signs made by the students. This is the one and only fundraiser the town has each year. They truly depend on the generosity of ALC participants and make sure that they know they are very much appreciated. The shy but extremely friendly residents as well as the enthusiastic students were out in full force this year to ensure they raised enough money for after school programs.
Mother of an 8th grade student, Sara Celedon, no longer lives in town, but her daughter lives with her grandfather, who also happens to be the school bus driver. “She stayed here just so she could be a part of today and also to attend the 8th grade trip,” she said. She went on to express again that this is the only fundraiser for the kids and that the money is divided up. “They clear about $16,000 each year when ALC comes by and it pays for 8th grade camp, supplies for the year, as well as a science camp for grades 6-8, which just got back last week,” said Celedon.
A mother and daughter team worked together at one of the stations. “My daughter Victoria and I are here giving away buttons and smashed pennies that the kindergarten through 8th graders made, and asking for a donation,” said Rita Stewart. When asked what the money was for, Victoria quickly chimed in and proclaimed that part was for her 8th grade trip, something that apparently is a pretty big deal around Bradley. Last year, the 8th graders, a class of about 12, were taken to San Francisco.