Over 15 years of Bike to Beat Cancer, Bryan Redick has ridden through it all

Bryan participated in the first Bike to Beat Cancer 15 years ago, and he’ll be riding again in September, an unbroken string of rides.

Bryan Redick has been there since the beginning.

He participated in the Norton Healthcare Foundation’s first Bike to Beat Cancer 15 years ago, and he’ll be riding again in September, an unbroken string of rides to raise money for patients at Norton Cancer Institute and Norton Children’s Cancer Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine.

Bryan did the first ride as a physical challenge, but as he’s gotten older the ride has meant more and more to him personally.

“I’ve had two co-workers who died of cancer. One of my best friends has bladder cancer, and he’s dealing with that now. As you get older you know more and more people who get cancer,” Bryan said.

The first Bike to Beat Cancer was a two-day ride to Lexington and back, 75 miles each way. Most riders camped out overnight and got soaked in a torrential downpour. Bryan stayed with his brother and showed up for the ride back to Louisville rested and dry, earning a few sour looks from fellow riders.

Bryan, vice president for finance and operations with Norton Medical Group, was a manager at the time. His son, Will, was 3 years old. As Bryan was heading toward the finish line, his son came running toward him. Bryan stopped, afraid his bike was going to hit him. The two walked across the finish line together, Bryan’s hand on his son’s head, in a moment captured by the Courier Journal newspaper.

Ten years later, they recreated that pose. Now, Will is a high school senior and taller than his father. The young man will be volunteering at the finish line, and they will once again walk across the finish line together.

“That gives you a sense of time and how quickly it goes by,” Bryan said.

Bike to Beat Cancer

Sept. 9, 2023, at Norton Cancer Institute – Brownsboro

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Riders can now choose the distance they ride: 5, 15, 35, 65, or 100 miles. They can also do a spin ride or a virtual ride.

“It’s the premier event for bikers in Louisville now,” said Bryan, who plans to see how he’s feeling after 35 miles before he decides whether to ride 65 miles.

In addition to participating in the first Bike to Beat Cancer, another memorable ride was the 20th anniversary of 9/11, according to Bryan. Firetrucks had their ladder raised, and a large American flag adorned the start and finish line.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the ride was a “chose your own route” format without the normal gathering. For Bryan, Bike to Beat Cancer is much more fun when the community gets together to participate.

“Seeing all my co-workers outside of work is my favorite thing. If they’re volunteering, I can stop and say hi,” Bryan said.

Bryan relies on regular contributors for fundraising for his ride, including a co-worker whose wife is a breast cancer survivor and a retired co-worker who is also a breast cancer survivor. He takes pictures along the way and sends them to his supporters.

As someone involved in finance, Bryan says he knows every dollar goes directly to the cause.

“I know Norton Healthcare is a good steward of the funds because I live it every day,” Bryan said.

Bryan considers himself a runner, not a cyclist. He has run 27 marathons and used to be a marathon coach for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. This year, as in all the others, he’ll be on the same bicycle, a 25-year-old Trek, and he’ll be wearing tennis shoes, not bike shoes.

Participating in Bike to Beat Cancer gives him a chance to do his part in the fight against cancer. 

“I’m not a doctor. If you can raise money and that money can go somewhere to help people with cancer, why not? Everybody can do something,” Bryan said. “I’m nothing special.”

Bryan does have a special streak going, and he plans to keep riding in Bike to Beat Cancer as long as he can. “Now it’s like how many years can I do it in a row?” he said.

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