Press Release - 14th Annual Ryan's Ride

14th Annual Ryan’s Ride set for June 25

600 Kids to take a Spin for Bay Area Cancer Programs and Burlingame Schools

BURLINGAME, Calif., June 22, 2017– Ryan’s Ride has long been considered part of the great fabric of Peninsula summer traditions.  The ritual continues in 2017 with 600 youth expected to hop on their bikes and trikes for the 14th consecutive year at the Ryan Phua Memorial Kids’ Ride at the 31st Annual Burlingame Criterium on Sunday, June 25.  

“It’s our 14th year, and our community has raised nearly $750,000 for Bay Area cancer programs and Burlingame schools through Ryan’s Ride,” said Michele Phua, mother of Ryan and Matthew, Ryan’s twin.  “It speaks to the heart and soul of the kids and families, and it’s so gratifying that Ryan’s Ride has become a tradition the community looks forward to each year.”

Ryan's Ride began in 2004 as an event to honor the memory of Ryan Phua, one of John and Michele Phua’s twin sons born after John’s successful recovery from cancer.  At the age of two, Ryan passed away from Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood.  John and Michele created Ryan’s Ride to celebrate his life, with event proceeds supporting Bay Area cancer survivorship programs through the LIVESTRONG Foundation in recognition of John beating the disease.  

“Ryan’s Ride is not only in memory of the child we lost, it’s about the families and kids who have made this event their own,” said Phua.  “It’s about a community that models for its children and citizens that giving back makes a difference in people’s lives.  We can’t really imagine a more fitting tribute to a son and a brother.”  

This year’s Master of Ceremonies and special guest is four-time cancer survivor Mike Thompson, a Community Engagement Liaison for the LIVESTRONG Foundation. Thompson travels nationwide on a quest to connect with those affected by cancer and to share the LIVESTRONG mission.  Thompson was first diagnosed with cancer at age 10, and has endured more than 75 surgeries, including a 12 ½-hour facial reconstruction.  Now 31, doctors predicted he wouldn’t survive past age 18.  

Sign-ups are brisk as usual, and organizers are anticipating nearly 600 children to pedal in this unique, non-competitive ride for kids 12 and under. Ryan’s Ride is thought to be the largest cycling event of its kind in the country.  Proceeds benefit the LIVESTRONG Foundation, Bay Area cancer survivorship programs, and the Burlingame Community for Education Foundation.  In 2016, Ryan’s Ride brought in $70,000 for its charitable recipients, and the event has raised around $750,000 for Ryan’s Fund in 13 years.

Each year, festive race activities and free entertainment fill the quaint streets, restaurants and shops of downtown Burlingame with thousands of competitive cyclists, children, volunteers and spectators.  Adding to the excitement of Ryan’s Ride, the day’s multiple races culminate in separate Men’s and Women’s pro cycling events.

The Burlingame Criterium provides the local community with the thrill of amateur and professional cycling in a challenging, fast, 0.7-mile circuit of downtown Burlingame, while Ryan’s Ride offers kids aged 18 months to 12 years an opportunity to pedal on the same course as the pros.  

“We look forward to Ryan’s Ride each June,” said Burlingame Mayor Ricardo Ortiz.   “Our City has hosted the Burlingame Criterium for three decades, and Ryan’s Ride is all about young families coming out for a fantastic day to celebrate Ryan’s life and give back to the community.”  The City works closely with the Phua family and Criterium race organizers to create a joyful atmosphere and a fun, safe course for all cyclists.

Ryan's Ride starts at 10:30 a.m., and participation is free.  Each participant is a winner in the 4 years and under, 5-8 years and 9-12 years categories. Top fundraisers receive gift certificates to a local toy store or a brand new bike.  Event check-in starts as early as 8:30 a.m. at the corner of Lorton and California Avenues in downtown Burlingame.  For more information and to register, click here.   The event’s success depends on volunteers and donations – please visit to support the event.

The Burlingame Criterium is a series of races, divided by age, gender and ability level categories.  All racers must be USA-Cycling licensed racers and ranked category 4 or above. Cash and prizes are awarded to top finishers in each race category. For most racers, the true reward in racing in Burlingame is the chance to showcase their technical skills in front of thousands of friends, family and spectators in attendance.

The Burlingame Criterium has been produced by the Peninsula Velo Cycling Club since 1974. Ryan’s Ride is collaboration between Peninsula Velo and the Ryan Phua Memorial Fund.

The 2017 event is title-sponsored by Parnassus Investments and presented by the Hillsdale Shopping Center.  Criterium Race category sponsors include Summit Bicycles, Clif Bar, Vocker-Kristofferson CPAs, Ritchey, Rudy Project, and U.S. Venture Partners.

Ryan's Ride sponsors include Franklin Templeton, Sony Interactive Entertainment, PreciseQ, Shimano, Pacful, Curious Hat, FrutStix,  ABC 7 (KGO-TV), KCBS All News 740, Talbots Toyland, Poketti,  The San Mateo Daily Journal and Cyclocross Magazine.

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For more information, contact:

Travis Ma, (sponsorship and race inquiries)

Julie Wellik, 415-505-5764, (media inquiries)

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Message from the Phuas and the 2017 Ryan's Ride

Dear Ryan’s Ride Champions & Families: 

 This is also the time that we move into high gear preparing for our 14th Annual Ryan’s Ride, which is less than a week away - Sunday, June 25th.  

Pre-register will be closing in a few days.  Although same-day registration is available, skip the line by pre-registering by Thursday, June 22nd.

Our family and countless volunteers work tirelessly to make this magical event possible. We hope you can set up an online fundraising account to ask your families and friends to make a pledge on your behalf.   One young rider has raised $1,991 to date!

NEW FOR 2017

  • A chance to enter a drawing to win a PlayStation 4 with games (a minimum pledge of $50 via Crowdrise online fundraising account) or raffle sales at the event.
  • A free Poketti is yours when you donate a minimum of $5 (limit one per rider).  Must be picked up at the donation booth on the 25th.

Get your friends and family ready to race and pre-register! Looking forward to seeing you! 

Please take a moment to read a note from our family:
Fourteen years on, the life cycle of Ryan’s Ride continues to evolve, as our generation has started to pass the baton to the next. This year, Matthew is taking on a more active role in the planning of Ryan’s Ride. On the design side, for the 2nd year in a row since her father passed on his responsibilities, Izzy Cass, 15 has delighted us with her creation for the Ryan’s Ride t-shirt/poster. Several dedicated former volunteers will cheerfully push their own young toddlers down the course as participants this year. A few Ryan’s Ride participants who have since aged out are now returning this year to volunteer. How wonderful to see Ryan’s legacy continuing!
Last year, with your support, we raised $70,000 for Ryan’s Fund, which has grown to $750,000. We hope you will consider supporting us by making a donation to Ryan’s Fund to help us reach the $1 million fundraising milestone to support cancer programs. If you are a rider, please set up a crowdrise account to raise pledges. 

Fourteen years since Ryan’s passing, we still miss him. But each day we continue to learn to embrace every special moment together as a family; the big laughs and small giggles, trying new things, typical life challenges, the many different adventures one experiences living in this world. It is by gratefully living in the present that we escape the regret of never having lived at all.

It is a wonderful tribute to Ryan, and a contribution to our local community of which our family is very proud!  Every year we are so grateful for your continued participation and support.  Ryan’s spirit lives on through the joy of 500+ beaming, joyful children. We hope to see many of you this Sunday. 

In Gratitude,
Phua Family

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