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Ride With Chris Downey

Cycle for Sight 2017 is upon us! To support our many wonderful team members in their rides through Napa this year, we’ve created individual team pages where you can donate and share the story of their ride. To view all the 2017 teams, click here.

I’m looking for a pilot!


Chris, his tandem partner and another companion are standing before a view of the Golden Gate Bridge in their biking gear, with their bikes

When was your first Cycle for Sight?  A business trip conflicted with the first Cycle for Sight that I was to ride in 2011 so I made up my own “LightHouse Cycle Challenge” later in September of that year. I rode with my tag team captains of Mike and Hans for one of the best rides ever – from in front of the old LightHouse at 214 Van Ness around the SF waterfront and across the Golden Gate Bridge for a long haul up to Inverness and then around to the Lighthouse at the Southern Tip of Point Reyes. It was one of those truly magical and rare days when the warmth and sun held off the wind and chill all the way across Point Reyes. It was so perfect that I’m reluctant to ever test fate again with the same ride but will always be thrilled to ride with Team LightHouse in the Cycle for Sight.


Why do you love riding in Cycle for Sight?

I don’t often have the chance to get out on the tandem these days so it’s great to have this excuse and motivation to get back on the bike.   It takes me back to the time when I first lost my sight and worked through the LightHouse to get the training needed to confidently rebuild and restore the life I wanted.  As it was then, that initial sense of vulnerability and uncertain fear quickly gives way to settle into a confident strong rhythm and stride. It’s always fun to hit the road with so many sighted and unsighted cyclists but it’s no longer a challenge to knock out the ride up and around Mount Veeder.  The real challenge is to quickly and efficiently get through the first 40 miles so that you can race the onset of fanny fatigue for the final 10 miles. As the president of the LightHouse Board of Directors, then, the real challenge and motivation is to collect enough donations to motivate me to get through those final 10 miles. Based on the degree of fanny fatigue experienced in last year’s ride, it’s looking like I’ll need to be at a pace of about $200 per mile which would put me at an even $10,000 for the entire ride. This may be a bit painful for the wallets of my friends and supporters but I assure you that it will be a bigger pain for where my wallet goes! It’s your choice, do it for the campers or do it to put a smile on my face that can be sustained all the way through those final miles!  Above all else, I always look forward to riding the Cycle for Sight in support of the lives that are touched, changed and empowered through the programs and activities of the LightHouse and its Enchanted Hills Camp.

What’s your best cycling memory?

My best and most cherished cycling memory was the first ride I had on a tandem. My captain was one of my best friends and cycling partners who while I was still recovering in the hospital, first issued the challenge for us to get out and ride together. 4 months later, there we were, our maiden tandem voyage along the San Francisco Bay with my son Renzo, 11 at the time, on his bike and racing to keep up with us. My wife Rosa awaited anxiously at the end of the ride and greeted us at the finish with tears of joy. I don’t think anything will ever surpass the joy we all felt that day. It was a simple ride that started with some terrifying and wobbly pedal strokes that quickly turned straight and strong. That simple vote of confidence and challenge from a friend, shared with my family, was the moment when the world of possibilities seemed to open up for all of us. I doubt that anything will ever surpass the joy we experienced that day.

What’s your favorite quote? “Keep the rubber side down” – the first rule of cycling. If you don’t, havoc is sure to follow.

Partner up with Chris:

If you would like to ride with Chris, contact Tony Fletcher at afletcher@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7319.

Donate to Chris:

You can support his ride across Napa by donating here.

Sign Up to Ride

You can sign up to ride at Cycle4Sight.com. We are aware that the website has some accessibility issues, so if you’d like us to sign you up, email afletcher@lighthouse-sf.org.

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