It looked like an ordinary Sunday morning cycling class at The PYP Studio on South Atherton Street. Around 20 people pedaled — and sweated — on stationary bikes as dance music played and instructors yelled encouragement.
But this weekend, it was different: they were working out for warriors, pedaling with a purpose. It was part of an event, dubbed The PYP Studio Patriotic Pedal-Thon, to raise money for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, a nonprofit that helps put the children of fallen special forces personnel through college.
“Military is close to home for us. My father served in Vietnam and both of my brothers were in the Army,” Janet Egerer, co-owner of The PSP Studio, said. “We have a love for our military.”
The pedaling featured 20 three-person teams and three hours of total riding time. Each person rode an hour before switching off with the next person. The goal was to raise $4,000, Egerer said.
Many of those who participated are regulars at the studio. Phil Wood, of Philipsburg, rode during the first hourlong stretch. He usually works out there on Thursdays but made the trip Sunday because of the event.
“Fitness plus charity equals good times with good people,” he said.
For others, the event marked the first time in the studio. Andrew Artz, a junior at Penn State, is a member of the Penn State Cycling Club and usually rides outside. He heard about the event in a class at the university and decided to sign up.
“I’m an Army veteran and I’m a cyclist, so it all just seemed to fit,” he said.
Egerer’s husband, Fred, rode through the second hour wearing a unique bike helmet. He is a retired Marine officer and pedaled along wearing a Kevlar helmet.
Some participants fielded a team of one and rode all three hours. Anthony DiNallo, an infantry Marine in the 1990s, was one of those pedaling for the duration. DiNallo, of State College, said his objective was to put 60 miles on the bike’s odometer during his three hours of riding, which he accomplished by the end of the second leg.
The Pedal-Thon itself also exceeded the goal, Egerer said. More than $5,100 was raised by the teams and through other donations, she said.
Professional BMX biker Jamie Bestwick led the group through the final hourlong session. His wife, Kerry, is the other co-owner of the studio and he works out there when the weather grows colder. Leading groups as an instructor is something he normally doesn’t do, he said.
“It’s for such a great cause and it’s an honor to have fun and come out with all the guys and girls this morning,” he said.