He'll Never Ride
How one Mason relied on his brothers for a solo 550-mile bike ride for charity
By Justin Japitana
For Dave Romero, the beating sun and the constant road grime and the stinging wind was all worth it. Because at the end of each day of the Long Beach Mason’s grueling journey, he knew he’d get a welcome reception from a friendly face.
Over the summer, Romero and fellow members of Long Beach Lodge No. 327 hit upon a fun, if daunting, idea to support their favorite charities: a fundraising bike ride from Long Beach to the California Masonic Memorial Temple in San Francisco. In a year when Masons across California put their reputations for community engagement and philanthropy to the test—as seen in the #BlueLodgeChallenge campaign on Facebook—Romero’s sweat equity was essentially unrivaled. “I wanted to do something different to give back to my community and inspire others to return the favor,” Romero says. “No matter what I do, I just want to make as much of a positive impact as I can.”
Despite the riders’ good intentions, schedule conflicts and an illness leading up to the big trip threatened to sink the entire plan. By the time the departure date arrived, Romero was the only rider out of the original 10 remaining. So he set out alone.
Exhausting as it was, Romero was heartened to visit lodges along the way, including Santa Barbara No. 192, Central Coast No. 237 in San Luis Obispo, Santa Lucia No. 302 in King City, Confidence No. 110 in Soquel, and Coastside No. 762 in Pacifica—each of which offered him overnight accommodations. By the end of his ride, Romero had covered 552 miles in five days, raising $2,000 for the Masonic Homes and the Long Beach Rescue Mission homeless shelter.
After sharing photos from his ride on social media, Romero says fellow Masons reached out about turning the trip into an annual fundraising event. Next time, he figures, he won’t have to go it alone.