16-year-old Casey Maclean goes the distance to raise money for charity
By Gary Walker
Teens have a reputation for being fickle. Trends can be an obsession one minute and forgotten the next. Goals can shift from week to week. But 16-year-old aspiring firefighter Casey Maclean remains steadfast in his drive to raise money for charitable causes through ambitious annual bike rides along the coast.
Over June 24 and 25, Casey pedaled from Fire Station #62 in Mar Vista all the way to Del Mar in San Diego County, stopping at Fire Station #63 in Venice and Fire Station #110 in Marina del Rey before heading south along the Marvin Braude Bike Trail to other fire stations along the way.
Through community donations, corporate sponsorships and an online auction, Casey’s ride — his fourth two-wheel journey of 100 miles or more — raised more than $12,000 in support of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation, which provides additional equipment and training for local firefighters.
Firefighters return the favor with a fire engine escort out of Mar Vista each year.
Casey, a resident of Marina del Rey, was accompanied by support vehicles and several adult cyclists on his journey to Del Mar. One of them was Whole Foods Market Southern Pacific Region President Patrick Bradley, the supermarket chain being a returning sponsor.
“I’m really impressed with Casey. He has not only a good entrepreneurial spirit but a real charitable spirit,” Bradley said. “He’s getting stronger and it showed. We were able to go a lot faster this year.”
On the second day of his ride, Casey left Laguna Niguel at 7:30 a.m. and arrived in Del Mar at noon, breaking a personal speed record. He credits his improved performance to an intensified training regimen and the encouragement of his escorts.
“I was riding with a lot of men who are good cyclists, so that pushed me to go faster,” said Casey, who pedaled to Santa Barbara for his first charity ride in 2014 but has headed south ever since. “This was definitely the strongest that I’ve felt during the three times that I’ve done this route.”
Having outgrown the 10-speed he rode last year, Casey also had the advantage of new 11-speed DSW SL Sprint Comp racing bike courtesy of ride sponsor Subaru Santa Monica.
“I really like it. It’s an entry-level bike for racing. It’s really light and has a lot of aerodynamic components,” he said.
Digital marketing firm WPromote, action camera makers Go Pro, cycling wear brand Santini and media designers Outlaw Graphix also sponsored Casey’s ride.
Another milestone this year: Casey moved closer to his goal of becoming a firefighter by enrolling as a cadet with the Explorers Program at Fire Station #63 — a program paid for by the foundation Casey’s ride helps support.
“I really enjoy it a lot,” he said. “You learn everything from how to keep the equipment clean to teamwork and how to respect others.”
Visit mybikeride.net to read Casey’s blog or donate to the cause.