Braving high winds in Utah, tire-melting heat in Arizona, eight-degree road-grades in the Appalachians, and hostile truckers in Ohio, Penn’s team in a cross-country alumni bike-race successfully completed its 3,050-mile journey. To cheers from alumni, staff, students, and other supporters, the three riders, all more than 60 years old, breasted a symbolic paper-streamer finish-line stretched across Locust Walk outside Sweeten Alumni House as dusk fell on September 27—19 days after setting out from Santa Monica, California.
Race organizer Bruce Lederman W’64 and team members Ted Lansky C’64 (who joined the team in Indianapolis) and Mike Shockro (Lederman’s law partner for 30 years and a Penn parent) each logged over 1,000 miles in the staggered race. (“My wife wanted to call our website ‘Old Men Riding,’” Lederman joked at a post-race reception at Sweeten.) They also raised about $250,000 for scholarships, toward a goal of $1 million by June 30, 2008.
Lederman and his longtime friend and business partner Ed Zolla W’68 had planned to make the cross-country ride together; when Zolla passed away suddenly last year, Lederman decided to go ahead with the trip and to use it as a fundraiser in his honor. A team from Bucknell University also participated in the race, finishing in Atlantic City. Zolla’s wife of 35 years, Susan Penecale Zolla, is a Bucknell alumna, and the two have funded scholarships at both schools.
The bike race may be over, but the drive for funds continues. To learn more or make a contribution, visit www.alumnibikerace.com.