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Autism Speaks National Capital Area

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Balance Gym Supports DC’s Bike to the Beach Century Ride for Autism Research

Balance Gym has signed on as official gym sponsor of Bike to the Beach (B2B), an annual 100-mile (century) bike ride and fundraiser for Autism Speaks. Founded by three local high school students, B2B has raised over $150,000 for autism research, advocacy and awareness.

Washington, DC, June 18, 2009 --( As the official gym sponsor of Bike to the Beach, Balance Gym has committed more than just monetary support for the millions affected by autism. Balance will be offering special boot camps designed to train Bike to the Beachers. These classes, open to anyone, will promote camaraderie and prepare riders for the strenuous B2B main event on July 31, 2009.

Together B2B and Balance are actively recruiting new riders, volunteers and donors for their 2009 Autism Speaks Century Ride from Washington, D.C. to Bethany Beach, Del. With over 120 riders already registered to partake in this year’s charity event, B2B is 10 riders shy of doubling last year’s turnout.

Having more riders than before makes Balance Gym’s participation even more vital. From the 17-year old lacrosse player looking to improve his athletic scholarship opportunities to the 45-year-old weekend-warrior who wants to maintain her fitness level, Balance Gym has the training staff, the equipment, and the expertise to help anyone reach their fitness goals. This is fortunate for Bike to the Beach, as their riders fall on both ends of this spectrum and everywhere in between.

According to Mark Crick, co-owner of Balance Gym, “Our gym isn’t just a place where people work out. Our members like to support community. So when Ben [Dalley, co-president of B2B] told me about the race, I wanted to help out in any way I could.” Crick, who can be seen towing B2B’s restored 1973 VW bus on B2B’s homepage, will be biking to the beach for the first time with co-owner Graham King this year.

Crick and King will be running the gym’s B2B boot camps, which start the second week of June. “The boot camps will work on the functionality of biking as well as the metabolic conditioning and the core conditioning needed to bike 100 miles. I am excited to see the riders’ hard work pay off and to ride in an event that not only helps those affected by autism, but also encourages fitness,” King said.

Balance Gym’s mission to create a comprehensive approach to fitness, health, and sport complements Bike to the Beach’s core objective to promote bicycling for fun, fitness and affordable green transportation. Their combined efforts will benefit Autism Speaks, the world’s largest autism research and advocacy group.

B2B was founded in 1999 when two Georgetown Prep graduates, Joey Schmitz and Ben Dalley, decided that they would not let their motor vehicle deficiency prohibit them from enjoying the Bethany Beach sun and sand. In 2000, B2B began its tradition of growth when they were joined by Tommy Schmitz, who now shares the title of co-president on the entirely volunteer B2B Board of Directors.

In 2007, after years of continued growth in ridership and notoriety, B2B parleyed their successes by partnering with Autism Speaks to help raise money and awareness for the millions of people touched by the neurological disorder, which now affects one in 150 children. The fledgling non-profit picked up Coakley & Williams Construction as the 2007 event sponsor and together they raised over $25,000.00 in their first ever charity Bike to the Beach.

The 2008 event showed even more remarkable growth as B2B grew to 65 riders, who created a spectacle of blue and yellow jerseys pedaling down the long, straight and cornfield-laden highway 404. In addition to 65 riders, B2B 2008 included 10 chase vehicles (including the VW bus), dozens of volunteers and a handful of local corporate sponsors offering riders everything from free water and energy food to custom t-shirts and hats. B2B raised over $125,000 for Autism Speaks in 2008.

Getting fit, making a difference and earning that relaxing towel-sized plot of sand on the beach is now available to anyone who would like to bike, volunteer or donate to autism research and awareness. This year’s ride will be held on July 31, 2009. To learn more and get involved, visit

About Balance Gym and Bike to the Beach, Inc.:
Balance Gym’s mission is to create a comprehensive approach to fitness, health, and sport to clients of all ages and activity levels. Individual and group programs draw from diverse fitness modalities like sports-conditioning, functional training, strength training, and yoga.

From the 17-year-old lacrosse player looking to improve her athletic scholarship opportunities to the 45-year old weekend-warrior who wants to maintain his fitness level, Balance has the training staff, the equipment, and the expertise to help you reach your goals.

Bike to the Beach, Inc. ("Bike to the Beach" or "B2B") is a non-profit organization formed exclusively for educational, charitable, and social purposes. Through numerous events, B2B promotes biking as a viable way of running errands, commuting, traveling, exercising, reducing carbon emissions, networking, and public service.

B2B is sponsored by Coakley & Williams Construction, City Bikes, Big Wheel Bikes, BIS Global, Balance Gym, Tommy Joe’s Restaurant, Drinkmore Water and the Dong Long apparel company, and is in partnership with Autism Speaks and the Lower Delaware Autism Foundation.

Graham King
2200 California St., NW
Washington, DC 20008

Joey Schmitz, co-founder, vice president, co-director of public relations
Bike to the Beach, Inc.

Kevin Rapp, co-director of public relations
Bike to the Beach, Inc.

Contact Information
Autism Speaks National Capital Area
Shawnie Keenan
202 955 3111

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