When Marlene Harris lost her battle with breast cancer in 2007, her husband, Dr. Harvey Harris, and daughter, Allison Gordon, founded Ride Cincinnati. Not interested in hosting a luncheon or similar gala, Dr. Harris — an avid cyclist — wanted to do something fun and active to honor his late wife. His idea? Ride Cincinnati, a noncompetitive scenic bike tour that spans parts of downtown Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, all in the name of cancer research. 

Over the years, Ride Cincinnati has evolved into a communitywide grassroots initiative to defeat cancer.

John F. Barrett, Western & Southern Financial Group chairman, president and CEO, has been an enthusiastic Ride Cincinnati participant since its humble beginnings, with W&S serving as the event’s title sponsor (an honor it has held since the first ride).

“Cancer impacts all of us. All too often we hear stories of friends and loved ones leaving the city to find care elsewhere,” Barrett says. “Events like Ride Cincinnati — which is a premier fundraiser for local cancer research — show the community’s support and unity against this terrible disease.”

To date, Ride Cincinnati has raised $5.5 million for cancer research. Every rider-raised dollar stays local and funds initiatives that benefit Cincinnati families. Additionally, Ride Cincinnati has been responsible for underwriting more than 57 research grants at the University of Cincinnati’s Barrett Cancer Center.

“We want Cincinnati to be the best place to fight cancer through research, education and care,” Barrett notes.

This year’s Ride weekend will commence on Friday, Sept. 16, with a kickoff party at the Lytle Park Hotel. The ride itself will begin the following morning, starting at 7 a.m. Upon registering, riders will have the opportunity to select routes ranging from 8-, 15-, 25-, 50- and 100-mile rides. 

“We are unveiling new and improved courses and will continue to offer stops along the way for fluids and snacks,” Barrett says. 

The event will culminate with a fantastic celebration at Yeatman’s Cove. For those who are unable to join the fun in person, virtual rides are also offered.

“Ride weekend will bring together hundreds of riders in celebration of our collective fundraising efforts and united mission to defeat cancer,” Barrett says. “The 2021 event raised more than $1 million. We’re looking to top that this year!”

Want to enjoy a fun weekend riding a bike and supporting cancer research? For more information, or to register, visit ridecincinnati.org.