Annual Firefighter 50 Bicycle Ride 'a great fundraiser' for local volunteer fire company

Hundreds of cyclists will take to the streets of Carroll County Sunday morning to bike anywhere from 30 to 101 miles to raise money for the Pleasant Valley volunteer fire company.

The Firefighter 50 Bicycle Ride will kick off at about 6:30 a.m. Sunday morning at the fire company, said Donna Geiman, a member of the fire company and co-chair of the event. This is the seventh year for the event.


It began with a group of cyclists. “We had a group of bike riders who rode every weekend pretty much from our firehouse,” she said.

Those who rode each weekend weren’t members of the fire company, but would use the building as a home base, she added. The cyclists came to members of the Pleasant Valley volunteer fire company and said they thought they could create a fundraiser, and the rest was history, Geiman said.

“That’s how it all started. They wanted to give back to the fire company,” she said.

Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, and a member of the fire company, was the president at Pleasant Valley seven years ago when Dave Yonkowski approached him about creating the event.

“We really didn’t know what to expect but each year it has grown and is now one of the biggest fundraising events we have,” Wantz wrote in a text message. “Thanks to a wonderful neighbor who wanted to help his local fire company, we are proud of this event that brings folks from all over the region to provide critically needed funding for all aspects of providing emergency services to our community.”

To this day, Geiman said, the bike riders are still very instrumental in the event. Each year, they lay out the routes and test them.

There are four possible routes for riders to take, depending on how far they want to ride. The Dirty 30 race is 30 miles, the Brush Fire Loop is 35 miles, the Half Century Loop is 50 miles and the Lost Valley Century Loop is 101 miles.

“I think it’s a great ride. It’s in beautiful parts of Carroll County and then up into Pennsylvania some,” she said.

There’s a riding path for every rider, Geiman said. Each option starts and ends at the fire company, and there are water and rest breaks along each route, she said.

And, when the riders are done, they get fed, she said.

“When they come back here they’re served a firehouse lunch,” Geiman added.

Cyclist on Stone Road during the Pleasant Valley Community Fire Company's annual Firefighter 50 cycling event.
Cyclist on Stone Road during the Pleasant Valley Community Fire Company's annual Firefighter 50 cycling event. (Bill Ryan / Carroll County Times)

In the past several years, Geiman said the event has been averaging about 800 riders. There are people coming from about 10 states, she added.

“It’s so much fun. It’s the fundraiser that’s fun,” she said.

According to the National Weather Service, Sunday has a likely chance of seeing rain. As of Thursday afternoon, the forecast called for temperatures with highs in the low 80s and a 70 percent chance of rain.


Geiman said the event is rain or shine, so long as there’s not thunder and lightning. Because the event is something with permits that were approved in January, she said, they can’t just reschedule.

They’ve ridden in the rain before, she said.

They have been accepting online registrations for months, Geiman said, but people are able to sign up even that day in person. The cost is $40 per rider, she said.

These types of fundraisers, from the bike ride to bingos to dinners and raffles, are what help keep these fire companies afloat, especially in times where funds are tight and budget cuts happen, Geiman said.

“The fire company needs to make money and it’s a great fundraiser for us,” she added.

For more information on the event and registering, visit: