Bicyclists raising funds for cancer victims

SALEM – A Salem-based cycling team raising funds to help cancer patients and their families through the Pan Ohio Hope Ride will hold a benefit starting at 6 p.m. July 13 at Ricky’s English Pub.

The evening of food, drinks, music and fellowship will become part of the effort by The Cardinal’s Peloton members to reach a team fundraising goal of $30,000 for this year’s 350-mile, four-day road trip from Cleveland to Cincinnati July 25-28.

To date, they’re nearly halfway there, with 12,851 raised so far by other team fundraisers and collected donations from supporters. Last year the team raised more than $27,000 for the cause.

“We’ve had tremendous support from the community,” Salem resident Eric Murray said, adding that it’s not about the team or individual members. “It’s about providing support for the American Cancer Society.”

Eric and his brother, Jason, also of Salem, a founder and co-captain of the team, are two of 13 members on The Cardinal’s Peloton. Other members include: Brian Martin, Tracy Mull, Chris Mull and Dave Hughes, all of Salem; Joe Mueller, of Kentucky, formerly of Salem; Andy Mull of Florida, formerly of Salem; Chris Webb of Findley; Bill Mickey of Damascus; Tony Lofreso of Akron; co-captain Justin Jeffers of Canal Fulton; and cancer survivor Scott Harris of Kent. New members of the team include Tracy Mull, Mickey, Lofreso and Harris. Former team member Dave Shroades of Columbiana may ride for one day.

For the second straight year, Ricky’s English Pub owner Rick Metts agreed to host a fundraiser for the team, with a percentage of sales for the night going to the cause. Pre-sale buffet tickets will be sold at the State Street restaurant through July 10 for $20 each, limited to 100 tickets.

According to Jason, the buffet menu includes grilled salmon, grilled chicken in a mango sauce, spinach florentine pasta, rice pilaf, cold pasta salad, steamed vegetables, tossed salad and fruit. Drinks will be a separate cost and people can still order from the menu.

They’ll also sell chances on baskets sponsored by businesses or individuals and a 50/50 raffle. Tickets will be $1 a piece or six for $5.

People can donate to The Cardinal’s Peloton team or individual riders on the team by going to the Pan Ohio Hope Ride website at

This will be Jason’s fourth year and Eric’s third year to ride – a quest they take each year to honor their father, James “Lex” Murray, who lost his battle with cancer.

“My dad did so much for me – this is just a little bit I can do for other people…to make a difference. This has grown much larger than our individual interest,” Jason said.

Team member Brian Martin took part in his first Pan Ohio Hope Ride last year after the Murray brothers asked him to join them. He said he’s not riding for anyone in particular. He’s just riding for the cause and even invested in a new bike, which Eric also did. What Brian said is appealing to him is the fact that the money supports the Hope Lodges which help families.

Team members range in age from 27 to 60, with most in that 35 to 40-year-old range, and they’ve all been affected by cancer in some way. Eric noted that a woman he knows in Salem was recently diagnosed and they’re honoring her on their jerseys.

Jason said they’re honoring all the women in their lives with their jerseys this year – they’re pink and the cardinal will sport pink toenails and pink eyelashes. The back says “Pedal like a girl” and “Hell yeah, cardinals have talons.” The cardinal symbolizes Jason and Eric’s father, who liked birds. After his passing, their mom, Carole, prayed for a sign that he was okay and a cardinal showed up on their porch and perched awhile. The word “peloton” refers to the main group of cyclists in a race.

The Pan Ohio Hope Ride isn’t a race, but it’s made up of teams riding for people like James “Lex” Murray and others who have battled against the disease, some who have lost and some who continue to battle every day, and even more who have survived.

“Cancer affects so many people and so many families,” Eric said.

The Pan Ohio Hope Ride and the Hope Lodges are just one component of the many efforts made by the American Cancer Society against cancer. He said it’s important to keep fighting to get an upper hand in the battle.

Jason encouraged anyone who cycles to take part in the event or join the team. He said the ride and meeting the people at the Hope Lodges is a humbling experience and an honor. He also had high praise for the ride volunteers and the organizers for a well-run event.

To date, $403,525 has been raised for the Pan Ohio Hope Riad with 578 riders and 61 teams. The goal this year is a million dollars. Last year more than $800,000 was raised.

For details about the event, such as the route and the stops at colleges each night for lodging, visit the website at