By David Kligman
A team of PG&E employees and their friends and families participated in a Central California coastal bike ride, raising nearly $50,000 for an organization that helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The ninth annual Best Buddies Challenge was Saturday (Sept. 8) along the Pacific Coast Highway from Carmel to Hearst Castle in San Simeon. Participants had the option of 100-, 62-, 30- or 15-mile rides.
Among the riders was Fred Flint, a PG&E remediation project manager who oversees the cleanup of old power plants. He rode the 30-mile route, along with his 22-year-old daughter and his 21-year-old son who he said has moderate intellectual development issues due to low oxygen when he was born.
“This is one place where there’s very little distinction between the disabled and those of us from the rest of society,” said Flint whose family raised $5,000. “And that’s the whole purpose of this organization—to integrate the disabled so they look just like the rest of us.”
Of PG&E’s 30-member team, 19 competed in the 100-mile ride and the top six finished in 4:40, tops among the 80 teams. In fundraising, the PG&E team brought in almost $24,000 and the utility contributed $25,000.
Helping at the event were PG&E employee volunteers, who assisted parking bicycles at the finish line.
Best Buddies International is a nonprofit organization founded by Anthony Kennedy Shriver to enhance opportunities for the disabled. His sister, former California First Lady Maria Shriver, and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom are on the Best Buddies board and were among the participants.
During the ride, Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis led the Carl Lewis Challenge, a 5-kilometer run/walk that made its way to San Simeon Point and back.
PG&E team captain Keith Reed said he originally signed up for the ride several years ago to cycle one of the world’s most beautiful stretches of highway.
“But when I got there it touched me in a way that I didn’t think was possible,” said Reed, who recently left PG&E after a 30-year career. “Just to see the kids who didn’t know how to acclimate into society and function. Best Buddies gives them a chance to do that.”
Email David Kligman at David.Kligman@pge.com.