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The moving story behind the official Pelotonia Kids ride

The moving story behind the official Pelotonia Kids ride

Jack McLaughlin

We all know about Pelotonia, the annual, team-based bike ride fundraiser for cancer research that will be held this year on Aug. 5-6. But ever since last year, an entirely kids-focused version of the event has been not only been raising a significant amount of money for the Pelotonia cause, it’s also been giving Columbus-area kids an outlet to experience the fun behind the fundraising.

According to organizer Sarah Germain, while Pelotonia Kids has officially taken place the last two years (this year, the event was held on July 8), its roots stretch well before 2022. 

“About five years ago, my Mom was in treatment for cancer, and she was watching my daughter play Pelotonia in the background, scootering across the finish line. We would even give her a medal.” Germain said.


Sarah and her husband, Paul Germain, have participated in the Pelotonia for nearly a decade. This means that not only are they passionate about raising money for cancer research, their kids want to be part of doing so as well.

“At the time, my Mom had the idea to give my daughter a Pelotonia birthday party. We didn’t have the bandwidth to do it then, but this seed was planted that there was this really cool opportunity that was impactful to so many.”

And then that seed grew.

After presenting the idea of a sanctioned offshoot event with kid participants to Pelotonia, the organization not only gave approval, it actively helped Pelotonia Kids come together.

“We brought the idea to the Pelotonia team, we told them, ‘This is something we want to do, but we want your blessing to use your name,’” Germain said. “Our friend who works there said they were all about it. They also told us [Pelotonia President] Joe Apgar lives in your neighborhood and wants to help. And Joe took all of it to a whole new level.”

According to Germain, Apgar let Pelotonia Kids use the Pelotonia branding, signage and even their inflatable banners that kids were able to bike under.

The Pelotonia Kids event takes place in Upper Arlington, but is open to anyone. It utilizes two different tracks for kids (one for younger children, the other for participants up to 12 years old), and last year saw more than 150 families participate, including kids in strollers, toddlers, older children on bikes and everything in between.

Photo courtesy of Pelotonia Kids

Germain said last year’s event was focused more on giving kids a platform for a fun experience, although in 2022, more than $20,000 was raised (which, like Pelotonia, benefitted The James Cancer Hospital).

This year’s event has raised over $16,000 so far, with many more donations still rolling in. The recent Pelotonia Kids also allowed participants to gather donation pledges from friends and family members.

“That was a really cool element this year, and it helped kids connect the ride to  the reason for the ride in their minds,” Germain said. “They’re taking a lot of pride in it.”

Want to read more? Check out our print publication, (614) Magazine. Learn where you can find a free copy of our new July issue here!

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