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June 1, 2023

Annual Velo bike ride rolls through Watsonville

WATSONVILLE—Two dozen bicyclists rolled into Watsonville Monday on the second stop of the annual Fire Velo bike ride. Their week-long journey started in Sausalito and ends in Los Angeles.

Fire Velo is a national cycling organization that promotes physical and mental wellness in the fire service and partners in emergency services through cycling and other charity events. It also fundraises to support fire service efforts of cancer awareness and cancer prevention. 

Watsonville firefighters welcomed the group at Fire Station 1 on Second Street with a barbecue dinner. The tri-tip, chicken and sausage barbecue was headed up by former Watsonville Fire Capt. Matt Ryan and current engineer Kevin Ditano and put on by Local Club 1272 and the Watsonville Firefighters Association.

“It’s a great group of dedicated riders with a good cause,” said David Buchanan, a retired battalion chief of the County of Los Angeles Fire Department. “Watsonville always offers a warm welcome.”

The riders plan to arrive in Los Angeles Saturday with the final leg of their trip onto the Santa Monica Pier.

Brian Kross, a firefighter in Santa Clarita, and his wife, Kathy, were among the riders. Brian said this was his third year riding while Kathy said this was her first ride.

“It feels good; you get a lot of support which helps a lot,” Kathy said. “It’s a good way to continue the fight and bring awareness to cancer.”

In its 14th year, Buchanan said Velo Fire has thus far raised more than $600,000.

Tarmo Hannula
Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.


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