For Longtime Tour De Pier Instructor Chrissy Roth, This Year’s Ride Means That Much More
Why she rides.
When approached about becoming a lead instructor at a new event called Tour de Pier—an outdoor stationary cycling event for cancer charities—Chrissy Roth didn’t hesitate with her answer. “I spent many years in health care treating one person at a time as a physical therapist, so any opportunity to have a platform where I can speak to 1,000 people in an hour or two is amazing. So it was a hard yes.”
An instructor at The Bay Club, Chrissy led one of several hour-long sessions to a packed crowd just outside the Manhattan Beach Pier. Eight years later, she’s still leading the charge.
From her position on the mainstage, Chrissy enjoys the unique perspective of smiling and sweaty faces joined for a cause. “I love the feeling of community,” she says. “I don’t think there’s a person down there who hasn’t been touched in some way by cancer. Bringing all these people together offers so much camaraderie, hope and togetherness.”
One of those smiling riders for many years was Flo, who had ridden with Chrissy in her other spin classes for nearly two decades. In her early 70s, Flo would sit in the center of the class and formed a bond with her instructor. “Everyone wanted to keep up with her. She was full of life, energy and goodness,” says Chrissy.
“I love the feeling of community. I don’t think there’s a person down there who hasn’t been touched in some way by cancer. Bringing all these people together offers so much camaraderie, hope and togetherness.”
In July of last year, Chrissy received a call from Flo with the news that she had lung cancer. Six months later she was gone. “The first year she rode with me on the stage because I needed her energy with me,” Chrissy remembers. That tradition continued each year.
When Chrissy takes the stage on September 12, Flo’s absence will be felt. Flo donated her bike to Tour de Pier, and Chrissy will ride alongside the bike in her honor. “Flo Rider will be with us,” she says.
While the event successfully went virtual in 2020, this will be the first in-person ride since the start of the pandemic. “We’ve lost a lot of connectivity this last year. We all need an event like this right now. We all need to come together as one and work for a common cause, which is fighting cancer.”
The Tour de Pier raises funds for three cancer charities: the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research (pancreatic.org), the Uncle Kory Foundation (unclekory.org) and Cancer Support Community (cancersupportredondobeach.org). Riders often wear matching T-shirts, hats or costumes as teams. Special guests make appearances—from celebrities on the stage to local high school and college cheerleaders in front of the crowd.
Tears are shed. High fives are abundant. The overall feeling is electric.
“A lot of people haven’t even been on a bike in a while, so it’s gonna be special by nature of what we’ve lost in the last year,” says Chrissy, who can’t wait to see familiar faces on the bikes. “People are really going to be bringing the energy this year.”