DEATH RIDE Tour Inc., Charity Cycling Events was formed in 2009 as a 501c3 Non-Profit to support the War On ALS and help make a difference in the lives of those fighting this horrible, devastating disease. The concept is to put on challenging cycling events in some of the most beautiful parts of our county. Southern Colorado and the San Juan Mountains including the Million Dollar Highway, Red Rocks Park including the Front Range Mountains outside Denver and the Berkshires including Mt Greylock in Western Massachusetts.
The DEATH RIDE Tour Inc. was formed because of a love and passion for cycling and a dedication to support research for the devastating, always deadly disease ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) the Lou Gehrig Disease. The idea to put on challenging cycle events that would push the ability of the participant and at the same time bring a strong sense of accomplishment for a task well done.
As said by “Bicycle” Bob Gregorio, the original 17-time DEATH RIDER, the DEATH RIDE and all the other events put on by DRT Inc are more than cycling challenges; they are a test of will. A conversation with one’s own faith of spirit to endure. The confidence gained by preserving in the face of hardship and exhaustion in these events serves one in all facets of life”.
Michael Cimbura is one of the many people whose life has been so affected by ALS. Here’s his amazing story.
Michael Cimbura, born June 24, 1965. Graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 1992 and married Nicole Broken Leg in 1993. They have been married now 24 years. A devoted husband, always a family man, however, Mike liked to push the limits and always accepted the extreme challenges in life when it came to sports like cycling, show boarding, building and riding motorcycles. Anything with speed excited Mike. A total gear head he was always in the shop working on something to go fast.
In January 2015 Mike’s entire life would change. He started having trouble cutting his fingernails and just didn’t have the drive on the bike like he used to. He and his family got some really bad news, Mike was diagnosed with ALS, the Lou Gehrig Disease. Why Mike – why anybody? We don’t know.
Mike lives on a block of great supportive friends and neighbors, Hackberry Lane in Highlands Ranch, CO. A group of them all cycled together doing some amazing rides. When they found out that Mike had ALS, they all decided to do a charity ride called the DEATH RIDE Tour …Cycle To Conquer ALS …For Those Who Care which supported ALS. This was a very difficult 3-day event in the San Juan Mountains in Southwestern, Colorado. The leader of the pack was Mike Besser who took charge to do something to honor Mike. He had never been much of a fund raiser type of guy. He contacted Barry Sopinsky, President & Executive Director and asked for some help which Sopinsky gladly obliged. Sopinsky made him a sign so he could panhandle in front of 9News in Denver. The event netted them $197 in 1 ½ hours to support Mike Cimbura.
Within 10 months of Mike and his son Aiden’s visit to the 2015 DEATH RIDE Tour 6, Mike was confined to a wheel chair, breathing through a ventilator and speaking with a computer. That didn’t stop Mike from being a devoted husband and loving father.
In early Spring of 2016, Mike sent Barry an interesting email asking if he knew anyway to get him on a bike to ride the DEATH RIDE Tour in June of 2016. Barry really had NO idea how to accomplish this. Barry knew that Mike could not ride a traditional tandem or incumbent bike because he could not sit up and he had a ventilator that needed electricity. Barry needed to find It some kind of powered wheel chair bike that just didn’t exsist.
Barry had a friend and past DEATH RIDER Mike Dunky who had ridden the DEATH RIDE Tour in 2013. Mike how was a partner at Little Machine Beer, a great new brewery in Denver. Barry was there one night talking to Mike about a fund-raising event and mentioned Mike Cimbura and his idea to ride. All the sudden Dunky said, “have you ever seen the Bootlegger”? Sopinsky said, “what on earth are you talking about”? Dunky then proceeded to show Sopinsky a picture of a cargo bike built to haul kegs of beer.
As soon as Sopinsky saw this bike he said “yeah, that will work for sure”! Dunky said that is was built by a guy named Zach Yendra. Zach had worked on the bar in Little Machine. Not long after that meeting Sopinsky contacted Zach whose shop was in Fort Collins. Chris Baker, Chairman of the Board for DEATH RIDE Tour Inc., and Sopinsky went to visit Zach and explain their crazy idea to take an ALS patient on a 3-Day, 235 Mile Tour through the San Juan Mountains over 5 passes, a total of 16,500 feet of climbing. Zach being the trill seeker he is, just like Mike accepted the challenge and with only 5-6 weeks available before the ride began to customize the keg hauler into a ALS patient hauler, Zach got started. A custom race car seat was purchased to be mounted in the cargo area. An additional battery was installed to run the ventilator. Zach did some other reinforcing and the “Bootlegger” was ready, Zach was ready and Mike was ready.
Nicole wasn’t quite sure how this was all going to work out but she trusted Mike and knew by him doing this, he would raise awareness for ALS.
Mike’s entire family came to support his quest in 2016, wife Nicole, children Seide, Aiden & Elle. Mike’s parents and in-laws were there along with Zach’s wife Rachel and daughter Hadley and Zach’s parents. It turned out to be an amazing feat and very successful . Zach even brought his SAG Bus and daughter Seide was driver.
In 2017 Mike, Zach and Barry were very fortunate to spend some time on air with 9 News Anchor Corey Rose. Corey also did a special segment about Mike, an ALS Residence in Colorado and his quest for a Trans American Cycle Tour.
There is so much more to Mike’s story and the other’s who are benefited by the Death Ride Tour events.
Here are some great videos that share more of Mike’s story and the successes of Death Ride Tours.