Steve Caldwell is the director of legislative and public affairs for the State Personnel Board. From June 12 – 21, Steve will be riding in the second Ride for Hope Coast-to-Coast, a cross-country bicycle ride from Dana Point, Calif. to Florida’s Daytona Beach to benefit Christ’s Hope International and their ministries. Caldwell’s personal goal is to raise more than $5,000 for this worthy cause.
Why are you doing this event?
I am honored to participate in the Ride for Hope. My friend traveled to Nimbia, Africa, and was so touched by what he saw there and the people he met that he wanted to do something to help when he came back. He’s an avid cyclist and long story short, he gathered 15 other cyclists to begin the Ride for Hope project.
I have some friends who have been to Africa to help with the AIDS crisis that is crippling much of the continent. They shared their stories and pictures of thousands of kids who have become parentless – due to the AIDS pandemic. The group we’re supporting, Christ’s Hope International, is working to stem the AIDS crisis, to take care of the kids, to educate them and to bring them hope. I wanted to be part of that. I love to ride and when my friend Tim Patton came back from his trip to Africa, he started working on the Ride for Hope – I knew I wanted to help. I wanted to give back for all of the blessings I have received. The economy has hit us pretty hard. I don’t have a lot of money to give, but I can give my time and my energy.
What’s your inspiration when you are riding?
Knowing that it’s not about the ride. It’s about bringing hope to kids who really need it. I have a picture of Christina who is one of the Care Point children that we’re raising money for. I hope to be able to meet her someday and to see that her life has improved. These kids have nearly nothing by our terms, but their smiles can light up a room. We will meet people along the way and we’ll be honored to be able to share the reasons for our riding and some will want to help. That’s how the world changes-one person at a time. The other riders are an inspiration as well. We help each other as we ride. Everyone has their strong and weak points, but the key to making it through is to work together.
Have you done other things like this before?
I have ridden in several one-day Century Rides over the years that raised money for charities, and I rode in the first Ride for Hope in 2009 from San Francisco to Annapolis, Md. I am a recreational rider and have been training all year. I often commute from the Capitol area to my home in Orangevale, near Folsom. I love riding, being out on the trail and the roads and seeing all that Northern California has to offer. I’d like to continue to promote cycling as a healthy and fun way to stay in shape, create less pollution and to get to know other riders.
Do you have to keep certain power foods with you?
We eat and drink a lot of things with strange names that have specific nutritional value while riding. Things like GU, Power Bars, Cytomax, Cliff Bars, Shot Blocks, Honey Stinger Organic Waffles, Gel Blasts, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Hydration will be key on this trip as we’ll by cycling through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and along the south coast of the US.
Where do you sleep?
We don’t sleep much, but we will be staying at La Quinta Inns along the way. I understand they are giving us a great deal to help more money to go to the kids.
Who else will be on the trip with you?
We have 15 riders, several support crew, volunteers and something exciting for me, my wife and my 17-year-old daughter will be joining us as well. We have churches hosting us along the way for dinners and gatherings as well as some riders joining us for a day here and there. Our riders come from all walks of life. About half are from the Sacramento area. Others are from Southern California, Michigan, North Carolina, Germany, and we have one from South Africa.
This is not about me. I’m excited, honored, and a little nervous about participating, but it’s bigger than the 25 or so riders and support team and it’s so great that you are willing to help tell the story. In 2009, we raised more than $130,000. This year, we’re close to $50,000 right now but we know pledges and donations are still coming in. Anyone who would like to help can donate at www.rideforhopectc.org or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.