Riding for a purpose is rewarding for Anthony Monastero, especially knowing it’s helping others.

Monastero will be one of a group of 20 cyclists, who will bike from Toronto to Montreal, a total of 540 kilometers in just two days, to help raise money for Barrie’s Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre’s (RVH) cancer centre.

The fourth annual charity ride, known as Equipe ’78, has become a summer staple for the group, which includes two time Pan America medalist Sean MacKinnon, who love to help out charitable causes.

The riders, who will pedal to honour Jackie Herbst, a three-time cancer survivor, decided this year’s funds from their trek would go to supporting new technology at the RVH’s Simcoe Muskoka Regional Cancer Centre.

Equipe ’78 were inspired by Herbst’s husband Mark and his cycling partner Paul Millar after they participated this past June in the Race Across America and raised funds for cancer services at RVH.

“Riding with a purpose is important to us and knowing our hard work helps others is really rewarding,” said Monastero, co-founder and main organizer of the ride. “While we all come from different walks of life and professions, we really connect as a team over those two days to ensure we stay organized, safe and collaboratively enjoy the amazing achievement of finishing this epic super grand fondo as a group.”

Monastero says the group mostly consists of “weekend warriors” who find the journey challenging and something they look forward to every year.

“Advancing cancer services at RVH ensure residents of North Simcoe Muskoka can get the care they need, closer to home,” said Eric Dean, CEO of the RVH Foundation. “Not only does this alleviate the stress and burden of lengthy travel, it means they can be closer to their family, friends and support system. “We are very grateful to the Equipe ’78 riders for their incredible efforts and generosity, and for helping RVH advance the technology and facilities our physicians and caregivers rely on in caring for their patients.”

The ride gets rolling at the Ajax Go Station on Friday, August 23 at 9 a.m. The trek will take them along the St. Lawrence River to Montreal. To support the riders, visit foundation.rvh.on.ca and click on upcoming events.

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