Beyond the Badge

San Quentin employees share passion for cycling

CDCR employee cycling for charity.
Melissa Groos participates in a cycling fundraising event for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

While June 3 is World Bicycle Day, many CDCR employees celebrate their love for bicycles year-round through cycling clubs, riding for charity or commuting. The annual day recognizes the many benefits of bicycling, encouraging people to ditch the car and ride a bike.

Inside CDCR caught up with a few of these employees to learn more about their passion for pedaling.

San Quentin Bike Club sees employees cycling together

Employees at San Quentin State Prison established the San Quentin Bike Club in November of 2020. The club offered a safe environment for staff to safely engage in an outdoor activity.

The club hosts bi-monthly group rides around the San Francisco Bay area. Rides take place on the road and in mountainous terrain for both fun and sport.

The club also participates in fundraising rides for non-profits and charities. The club supported the Special Olympics of Northern California in 2021. Funds were raised by cycling in Bike the Bridges & BrewFest in Martinez and the Primavera Century Bike Ride in Fremont.

Rides usually end with a meal at a local eatery. This gives them a chance to enjoy the team spirit, building bonds beyond the walls of the institution.

San Quentin employee rides for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

Employees also turn their love of cycling into positive fundraising efforts for charities.

Melissa Groos, Recreation Therapist at San Quentin State Prison, uses long-distance cycling to join the fight against blood-related cancers.

In 2000, Groos began volunteering as a long-distance cyclist with Team in Training, benefiting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) of the Greater Bay Area. She also volunteers to honor loved ones who lost their lives to blood cancers – including her beloved aunt and uncle.

Participating in the group was a chance to combine her training and passion for cycling with a cause she cared for deeply.

In addition to cycling, Groos is an experienced marathon runner and triathlete and participates in these activities for Team in Training as well. Being a part of these efforts gives her the opportunity to raise awareness as well as money for LLS. She also enjoys cycling with a like-minded community.

“I ride my road bike as if my life depends on it, because someone’s life does. I ride to save lives one mile at a time. Beating cancer is in my blood,” says Groos.

Team in Training encourages participants to take on best-in-class endurance challenges worldwide. Their efforts raise money for LLS, helping fund groundbreaking research and advancements in the fight against cancer.

Story by Alia Cruz, Public Information Officer
Office of Public and Employee Communications

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