After raising $12,500 last year in support of curing children with cancer, UTM’s BioTech Investment club is back and ready to get pedalling for their second annual Inside Ride fundraiser event.

In 2007, the Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation launched Canada’s first indoor cycling challenge as an innovative way to raise funds for children with cancer, and in 2009, they reached $1 million in donations through this initiative.

The foundation directs all donations towards the local community and nation-wide charities dedicated to curing childhood cancer.

For UTM’s upcoming Inside Ride event on October 26, participants must compete in teams and cycle on stationary indoor bikes, provided by the Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation, for intervals of five minutes. Each rider is required to raise a minimum of $100. Prizes will be awarded to teams with the highest fundraising, furthest combined total biking distance, and best costume. According to the Inside Ride event website, the UTM-based event is hoping to raise a total of $15,000.

Zain Shah, a second-year graduate student of the UTM MBiotech program and current co-president of the BioTech Investment club, explains that the idea for this fundraiser emerged from the co-presidents prior to him.

“[Last year], as a team, we reached out and connected with the organization. [We] realized that the Coast to Coast Foundation has never collaborated with U of T. It is very common for them to go to other campuses across Canada to hold this event, but it has never been held at any of the U of T campuses before. That was something unique [and] we weren’t expecting that at all,” Shah says.

Why indoor cycling, and not some other form of fundraising? Due to the academic-intensive nature of the MBiotech program, the club believed that the Inside Ride would be a perfect way to combine physical activity with raising money for a health-care related cause.

“A lot of us are going into the pharmaceutical world, so [the event] completely ties in full circle, because 100 percent of the money raised goes to children with cancer and their families,” Shah says. “So we just thought it was an awesome initiative, and it being physical at the same time is a bonus for us.”

Reflecting back on their first Inside Ride, Shah believes that the BioTech Investment club approached the organization of the event much differently than last year. With advanced planning, and the partnership with the Coast to Coast Foundation already established, the team was able to dedicate their time to acquiring a bigger venue for this year’s event.

“Last year we were unable to get a bigger location, so we were limited to the presentation room, [which] limited our number of attendees. But now we have the entire pub and a lot of people coming. We have been promoting it for a while now,” Shah explains.

Shah adds that faculty members attended the event last year, and one of the teams included the campus police.

Pravaen Birk, a second-year criminology and sociology double major at UTM, says he’d heard of the Inside Ride through his high school, but never participated in one himself.

“I think this is a really good opportunity to have fun while raising money. And the best part is that you get to do it in a team setting. Whether you grab your friends, your classmates, or just other students willing to donate, you get the chance to bond while biking and to support the cancer charities within our own community,” Birk says.

Riders will mount their bikes for UTM’s second annual Inside Ride event on October 26 from 6-8 p.m. in the Blind Duck Pub.

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