Solar Bear Ride Background
The seeds for the Solar Bear Ride were sown on a cold winter’s night about five years ago. Two guys, Carl Karpinski and David Welch, were sitting next to one another at a basketball game at R.J. Reynolds High. Both men enjoy cycling; both have screws loose, too, which helps. Out of the blue, Welch turned to Karpinski and said “You know what’d be fun? Riding our bikes to the beach.”
And so it began.
That year and over the next few, they coerced friends and family to come along. David’s brother Philip, Jim Vaughan and Fred Williams joined in. This year, they convinced a man named Jim Olson, a triathlete, that he should come, too. And for comic relief, they extended an invitation to me as well. As the plan evolved – the 2013 version was also expanded to run across the entire state – it was decided that we might be able to do accomplish something other than wearing ourselves out. On New Year’s Day 2013, an annual fundraiser called the Polar Bear Ride that benefits Cancer Services of Winston-Salem, was cancelled due to poor weather.
Thus, the Solar Bear Ride was born.
We’re going to write, photograph and videotape some of the planning and the trip itself, and publish it in the Winston-Salem Journal and online at journalnow.com in hopes that some of you might be amused (or moved) enough to support the effort by supporting Cancer Services.
And when it all mercifully ends, we’re planning a community celebration to thank supporters and hopefully raise a little more money.
Scott Sexton, Winston-Salem Journal
From the left: Philip Welch, Jim Vaughan, David Welch, Fred Williams and Carl Karpinski. This was from 2012
Education: University of Southern Maine, University of Maine. Masters’s at UNCG.
Occupation: Registered dietitian, Health coach, Certified Healing Touch Practitioner
Family: Married to Matt, 17 year old step-daughter
Experience: Recreational rider, with a few cyclocross races.
Why she rides: To spend time in nature, prevent disease, keep a clear head and enjoy time with my husband and friends.
Education: North Forsyth High.
Occupation: Service manager at Ken’s Bike Shop.
Family: Married to Amy, 16 year old daughter
Experience: Riding long distances and racing since 1989.
Why he rides: “Just the ability to go out on a bicycle and come back with a clear, happy head.”
Occupation: Director of Technology for Summit School
Family: Married to Kathy Warde Culp for 27 years, 3 children Chris Jr., Nate and Mackenzie, 1 dog a cat and about 200,000 bees.
Experience: I built my first bikes as a kid and have a lifelong infatuation with the greatest transportation device man has created so far. I race Cyclo-Cross, Road and Mountain bikes. In my spare time I hang out at Ken’s Bike Shop and try to learn as much from Matt Canter as I can about bike mechanics. This is my second tour of this distance and I can’t wait.
Why he rides: The feeling you get when on a bike is like no other. You have complete freedom of where you go, how fast you go and what you see. The cycling lifestyle has made me stronger, happier and mentally healthy as well. Get on a bike and ride!
Why Solar Bear: Cancer has touched my family and friends and I can’t wait to be part of this fund raiser to benefit Cancer Services. I have ridden with many of the current Solar Bears and they are an awesome bunch of folks.
Education: East Carolina University.
Occupation: Business Owner of Fain Enterprises, Inc. & MyFain.com.
Family: Married to Sherrie Fain, two children, Jake age 18 and Bouldin age 12.
Experience: Bike riding was my primary means of transportation when I was a kid. I rode everywhere….. More recently, I’ve participated in Triathlons and in area distance cycling events.
Why he rides: Fellowship, competition, good health and a love for the outdoors. I loved riding bikes as a kid and about 6 years ago, after many “inactive” years, decided to get moving again. I first began Swimming at the YMCA where I was encouraged to get involved in Triathlon. That led to running and cycling where friends opened my eyes to many challenging events which benefit local charitable organizations.
Why Solar Bear: Cancer has touched our family, like it has so many others. I want to help bring awareness to the good work of Cancer Services.
Tommy Jonas, Jr.
Education: University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Occupation: Senior Support Specialist, Inmar
Family: Married; beautiful wife and 3 grown step sons.
Experience: Started Riding in 2003, it’s very addictive! Completed numerous challenging distance rides, including: Three State Three Mountain Century, Bridge to Bridge, 3 Mountain Madness, Assault on Mitchel, Blood Sweat and Gears and most recently Beech Mountain Metric! The more you ride the more you challenge yourself! Plus just being outside and enjoying this beautiful world!
Why he rides: It’s my therapist, mentally cleansing and physically challenging! Cycling is a great past time, and with the saddle time you build friendships that can’t be replaced!
Education: East Carolina University.
Occupation: Professional Solar Bear
Family: Married, three sons ages 23, 28, and 30.
Experience: Has been riding since 1993, triathlete, long-distance rider.
Why he rides: For his health, the camaraderie and being outdoors. “We’re not afraid to ask people where we are.”
Education: Industrial College, Czech Republic
Occupation: CTS Manager, Smith Phillips Building Supply
Family: Married to Beth Sands Masny. Son, stepson, stepdaughter, two grandkids and two dogs. And can’t forget the rest of my wonderful family in here and back in my original homeland.
Experience: Rode all kind of bikes since childhood. I enjoy mountain biking and road biking.
Why he rides: I’m riding for free endorphins. While riding I’ve met many new friends including Solar Bear bunch who gave me opportunity to participate in this ride. I have my close family members and friends affected by cancer.
Education: Forbush High School and traveling the country racing motorcycles and cars
Occupation: Owner of Piedmont Fitness Equipment Service & Repairs
Family: single…all of my cycling friends are family
Experience: starting riding mountain bikes in the early 90s got into serious road biking around 2001 started racing in 2004
Why he rides: For my health and there’s nothing like peddling down the road with friends enjoying a sunny day or even doing a solo ride gathering my thoughts and clearing my head the freedom of being on the bike.
Education: East Carolina University
Occupation: retired – sales executive with Yellow Transportation
Family: married for 31 years to Lynn Kiser Newell, 28 year old daughter.
Experience: bought my first road bike in 2015 while training for a triathlon. Always been a runner and got hooked on bike riding. Rode with the Solar Bears for most of the 2016 trip. Biking is a great way to get and stay in shape
Why he rides: I am cancer free – I was extremely lucky mine was caught in time and I have had minimal complications.
Education: North Carolina State University.
Family: Married, two daughters ages 23 and 19.
Experience: Triathlete, long-distance rider, swimmer.
Education: University of Maine, Eastern Maine Community College
Family: Married with 1 dog.
Experience: I rode bikes as a kid and started riding again about 6 years ago. I started off mountain biking and have gradually picked up cyclocross and road biking. I dabble in some racing and try to bike commute when I can.
Why I ride: It helps clear my mind and I feel great after riding.
Why Solar Bear: Cancer has impacted my family and other people that I know. I wanted to help raise awareness and money for a local organization that helps cancer patients and survivors.
Education: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, George Washington University, East Carolina University
Occupation: Speech-language Pathologist
Family: Ernie and Holstein, my two sweet kitties, the famous Moxie dog, my mom, Sylvianne, my dad and stepmother, Len and Dianne, my brother and sister-in-law, Leonard and Jenny, my other sister and brother, Nancy and Charles, and of course, my cycling family
Experience: I started riding in March of 2016 and was immediately hooked!
Why I ride: It makes me happy; it keeps my mind in check, I enjoy my riding buddies, and I need an appropriate outlet for my immaturely competitive nature!
Education: University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Occupation: Columnist, Winston-Salem Journal.
Family: Married. Son, 21, and a daughter, 19.
Experience: Not much – a little over two years. Frequently left behind, but have completed several long-distance rides.
Why I ride: First time crossing the state, I ride for my health – mental and physical – and because it’s fun to see how I stack up.
Education: Bowling Green State University, Ohio Northern University School of Law.
Occupation: attorney, Blanco Tackabery & Matamoros, P.A.
Family: Married, two children – a 23-year-old daughter and a 20-year-old son.
Experience: Started riding in the 1980s, gave it up for 25 years, then started back about 8 years ago. Has logged almost 30,000 miles and climbed almost 1,300,000 feet, or more than 44.5 ascents of Mt. Everest from sea level.
Why he rides: To stay in shape, enjoyment and competition between friends. “I like riding with people of similar ability who push me. It’s a good, healthy activity that helps keep you feeling young.”
Occupation: Executive Chef at Maple Chase Golf & Country Club
Family: I am single and have a 16 year old daughter. I am currently free of any pets but a dog may be just what I need.
Experience: I began riding bikes as a kid and never stopped. The think the fact that I have been riding organized events for over 30 years is my greatest cycling accomplishment.
Why he rides: I ride to stay active, explore and enjoy the outside. This will be my second year riding as a Solar Bear. Cancer patients and families need all the support a community can provide.
Education: University of North Carolina.
Family: Married; two sons, 25 and 23.
Experience: Triathlete, long-distance rider for eight years.
Why he rides: “I enjoy doing this stuff because I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to do it. So I’m going to as long as this old body allows.”
Education: Elon University,
Masters: MBA, South University Columbia, South Carolina
Occupation: VP, Commercial Banker for IBERIABANK in Georgia
Family: One son, 6.
Experience: Has been riding consistently for five years.
Why he rides: I ride for the enjoyment, exercise and meeting new people and other riders. Cycling gives you such an incredible high and keeps your energy level high. Riding in the mountains though very hard, is my favorite pass time for it allows me to forget about all the unnecessary worries and enjoy the incredible views and scenery.
Education: Miami (Ohio).
Occupation: Wells Fargo, sales consultant.
Family: Married, two children, a son 18(Reynolds) and a daughter, 16(Mt. Tabor).
Experience: In addition to cycling I have participated in multiple sprint and half Iron Man Triathlons, Mistletoe Half Marathons, MS Rides, Multiple Grand Fondo rides, and when not on the roads, Mountain and Cross biking.
Why he rides: “With work and kids, there’s always something going on, so it’s great to be able to let your mind go, enjoy the scenery and get a good workout at the same time.”
Christopher S. Yenrick
Education: University of Alabama
Occupation: President & COO, Smith Phillips Building Supply
Family: Separated, two boys, Ashton age 20 and Noah age 16.
Experience: Signed up for Tour to Tanglewood 11 years ago, didn’t even own a bike, avid enthusiast now
Why he rides: Good friends, Good Health, have made a lot of friends riding and participating in these charity events have helped me give back a little for several organizations that do a lot of good for our community, but honestly the benefits I have received in terms of mental and physical health have been a huge blessing to my own well being.