E’s Biker Buddies: First Children’s Only Cycle Event for Cancer Research

By Erin Pedrini
Web Production Assistant

Ethan and Jason Sandlofer at A Cycle for Survival event. Photo courtesy of Jason Sandlofer.

“I like to play basketball,” Ethan Sandlofer said with a smile. Looking at Ethan, from Jersey City, he seems like a typical first-grader, but for Ethan’s seventh birthday on Feb. 22, he is celebrating by planning and participating in the first Cycle for Survival event for kids only, in memory of his mother, called “E’s Biker Buddies.”

Cycle for Survival is a cycling event, held at Equinox gyms across the country, that raises money for cancer research for the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. One hundred percent of the profits raised at the events goes directly to the cancer center.

Ethan’s mother, Gabrielle Sandlofer, passed away when Ethan was 2 years old from a rare cancer. Ethan said the reason he wanted to have his own event is because he does not want anyone else to die from cancer. “Last year my dad did it [Cycle for Survival] and I asked my dad if I could have my own kid’s team. I’m the first kid team. My dad said OK and I wanted to do it, so I did,” said Ethan.

“There are a lot of amazing kids out there and I think Ethan is one of them. He’s got a passion about him which is just great. Kids around him really follow his lead. It’s cool to see. I think the things that he has encountered in his life, obviously molded him in his thought processes. He obviously knows what he has gone through, he has a great heart and the fact that he wants to do something that is so great, how can I not support that?” asked Ethan’s father, Jason Sandlofer.

With the help of his father, Ethan planned E’s Biker Buddies, for Saturday, Feb. 22. It will be held at Ethan’s school, Primary Prep Elementary School in Jersey City, from noon to 3 p.m. Children from the ages of 5 to 14, who are at least 48 inches tall, are all welcome to sign up and cycle at the event. Spectators are also welcome. Jason said that a cycle instructor from Equinox Gym has volunteered to lead the cycling at the event and each child will cycle for about 10 minutes, in groups. There are a total of 30 stationary bikes for the event.

There are about 135 kids signed up for the event so far and that number is climbing. Children that are not even from Ethan’s school have been signing up, and Jason said that was the goal.

Ethan Sandlofer at a Cycle for Survival event. Photo courtesy of Jason Sandlofer.

“Kids don’t typically get involved in stuff like this. Kids are into what’s on Nickelodeon or what sneakers they are wearing, but they don’t understand the really significant things. This kind of event allows these kids to get involved in something that they typically wouldn’t and a lot of parents are extremely thankful for that. It’s a really positive experience,” Jason said.

The Sandlofers started with an original goal of raising $50,000. That goal has been surpassed and has been bumped up to $60,000. Ethan and his father have a deal if the team reaches an even larger goal. “If we get $70,000, I can shave my dad’s hair off! It was my idea,” Ethan said.

Ethan’s event is in the top 20 Cycle for Survival fundraisers, out of all of the teams. “At the end of the day, he is probably going to be in the top 15 and that’s over adults with income and that have corporate sponsors. The fact that all of these kids are coming together and doing this — because it’s not just Ethan, it’s him and his buddies — that’s what is awesome about it,” Jason said.

Last year, Cycle for Survival raised $17 million for the cancer center and over the last seven years, Cycle for Survival has raised more than $35 million, Jason said.

Jason said that so many people have been donating and volunteering their time and locals are donating food for the event. There will also be a DJ, a photo booth and a glitter tattoo artist.

This is not going to be a one and done type of event. “We are going to do this annually and our goal is to really grow it as a brand and have multiple locations. And eventually have a Kids Against Cancer Day, where kids in different states can all cycle on the same day and have big screens where they would be able to see each other at the different events. We have a lot of ideas. Ethan and I talk about it every single day,” Jason said.

The kids were even included in picking the name for the event. “When we were at school, the kids picked the name. We chose E’s Biker Buddies,” Ethan said.

“The cycling is just a reason to get everyone together. It’s just fun. It’s a great way to get the kids together for a really fun day that they are going to be excited about year after year,” Jason said.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun!” Ethan said.

To sign up to participate on Ethan’s team or to make donations to the team, visit E’s Biker Buddies Cycle for Survival team page.