A benefit ride that won’t tan your hide

Last year's Tour de Toys.

Benefit events — runs, rides, walks, hikes, whatever involves movement to raise money — are a dime a dozen. Provided, that is, you’re in pretty good shape. Witness the plethora of 5Ks on the market for runners, the MS 150, or the Ultimate Hike, which I recently was involved with. For the latter, a 12-week training program was required — or very highly recommended — to help participants complete the goal of a 28.3-mile mountain hike in one day.

Not everyone has the time nor the inclination to train for a benefit event. Still, many folks like the idea of being active to help a good cause. Which is why I’m drawn to Dec. 10’s Tour de Toys in Raleigh. You have the option of doing a 12-mile bike ride on neighborhood streets in Raleigh or, if that’s too much, there’s a 6-mile option — basically the equivalent of a ride in the neighborhood with the kids. Entry fee: a new toy, valued at $15 or more, that will go to The Women’s Center of Wake County.

The ride is the unlikely brainchild of Camye Womble. “Unlikely” only because in her non-fundraising life Camye is incapable of riding just 12 miles. Camye’s thing is endurance mountain bike racing. When I asked recently whether she was doing 6 BC, a 6-hour mountain bike race in Chapel Hill, she said prefers longer events. Longer, as in the Off-Road Assault on Mount Mitchell, a 63-mile ride that climbs a total 11,000 feet, or the old 24 Hours of Snowshoe, which involved riding an 8-mile loop that gained 1,500 feet, over and over for 24 straight hours.

“I wanted it to be an ALL-inclusive ride that pretty much anybody can do,” says Camye, “older folks to parents and the kids, as well as those not in shape looking to get out and support a good cause, with the emphasis being on giving a gift to kids that probably wouldn’t get one.”

Adding to ride’s festive, laid-back nature: Ride HQ is Natty Greene’s, nattygreenes.com a local establishment where participants will be able to slake their thirst after riding (each adults rider gets two beers, with “kid-friendly beverages for the little ones”). Plus, there’s a raffle afterward with $1,500 in donated prizes.

Tour de Toys is in just its second year and as such is still an intimate gathering: Camye expects around 100 riders this year. Camye hopes to grow the ride into something bigger, though, with live music, BMX bike demonstrations and other post-ride entertainment.

The 12-mile ride starts at 10 a.m., the 6-miler at 10:30. Both rides will have a ride leader and a sweep, so no rider should get misplaced on the not-really-mean-quite-friendly-really streets of Raleigh. And, again, it’s Dec. 10 — you still have plenty of time not to train.

To register, go here.

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Got a benefit ride/race/walk/anything-requiring-some-degree-of-activity that doesn’t require training — at all? Let us know about it and we’ll do our best to let others know as well.

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