Nona Cycle, Charity, and Social Connections
By Spencer Phelps
“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision.” Andrew Carnegie
Four years ago (2015), several neighbors and I organized the very first Lake Nona Friends and Family team to support the Tour de Cure ride (which raises funds for Diabetes research, ADA) that takes place right here in Lake Nona. The six of us designed Nonahood cycling jerseys and raised approximately $1,500 for the charity.
The following year, our team grew to 12 riders and we became the Nona Brew Crew, incorporated the longhorn cow into our jersey design, and called ourselves “The Herd.”
Over the next several years, our team name became Nona Cycle. The cycling community has embraced our team, and other area teams now join us for our Saturday and Sunday training rides through this beautiful community of Lake Nona.
Our charitable efforts have also risen to the occasion with the inclusion of so many more riders. What started off with six neighbors raising $1,500 has evolved into the Nona Cycle team of 130+ riders strong who raised an outstanding $46,400 this year for ADA (American Diabetes Association). This year’s $46,400 is the most that has ever been raised by a Friends and Family team in the history of Tour de Cure anywhere in the United States.
The final statistics for this year’s Tour de Cure ride was 2,203 participants, 130 teams, and a grand total of $1,158,000 raised for the ADA. This also set all-time records as the most participants and money raised of any Tour de Cure in the U.S.
This year’s tour director, Andy Odenbach, vice president of Tavistock Development Company, certainly set his sights high and exceeded his goals. The Orlando ADA office is headed up by Jessica Wells, Cesar Cesareo, and Brandon Corsentino, who organized a fantastic event and truly set the standard for the rest of the country to follow.
It’s enormously satisfying to see our team grow to these levels and develop into the charitable organization that it’s become. We’ve now donated more than $150,000 to charity over the last four years. We support the Tour de Cure, which benefits the American Diabetes Association, as well as the Ride for Ronald upcoming in October, which benefits the Ronald McDonald House in Lake Nona.
This couldn’t have been done without the support of my teammates, and Paul Pikel specifically. His daily reminders of how much we’ve raised and how many have signed up versus the competing teams kept us focused and diligent in our efforts. He organizes our team’s Facebook page and posts the weekly rides and routes, teaches safety, and encourages safe riding practices while cycling on area roads.
I’d like to share a few words about Nona Cycle: First and foremost, I’d like to point out how we’re a cycling team of athletes, but also a group of friends. The social part of our team is never left out of the equation. Whether we’re riding two across down the road, stopping at our scheduled rest stops, or meeting after every ride at our Lake Nona Starbucks to share some water, coffee, and conversation, you see our teammates laughing and enjoying the time they spend together. We’ve all developed new friends with common interests, friends to share a beer with, and what will probably end up being lifelong friendships with each other.
Lastly, it’s worth noting the makeup of our Nona Cycle team: Being that our Nona Cycle Signature ride is on Sunday, we attract a collection of other area cycling teams that join us, such as Westside, KBS, EMC, JHOP, Advanced Cycle, and others. On Sundays, we all become NONA CYCLE.
If you’d like to join us, we leave the Canvas restaurant parking lot at 8 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday mornings. Be prepared to ride 34 miles with a group that averages 18 to 20 mph at a minimum.
Do you like to cycle or want to learn how? Join the Nona Cycle group for weekly rides: nonahood.to/nonacycle.