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Longtime Santa Maria cycling club disbands, donates savings to sustainable transportation advocacy organization

Santa Maria Tailwinds donation

SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- A longtime Santa Maria bicycling club is disbanding after many years in operation and is donating all of its savings to a local organization that advocates for sustainable and healthy transportation.

On Tuesday morning, members of Santa Maria Tailwinds Bicycle Club of Santa Maria gathered at the Santa Maria office of MOVE Santa Barbara County to give the organization a check for $31,579.

"We are just really happy that we found this organization," said Tailwinds member Tom Murphy. "We went around for a while on who to give it out to who and this name kept popping up and so we slowly gravitated that direction."

MOVE Santa Barbara County is a non-profit organization that describes its mission to promote equitable county-wide infrastructure for walking, cycling, and public transit and empowers and educates residents to choose active and sustainable forms of transportation.

"We provide low-cost bicycle repair and sales to help people have access to alternative forms of transportation, mainly the bicycle and bus access," said Ken Dahmen, Manager, Bici Centro Santa Maria. "It means that they care about the work we've done over the past six years here in the North County, and the work we've been doing in the South County for the past 28 years or so it's very heartwarming."

The Tailwinds was first established in 1982. For more than 40 years, the group has gathered for regular rides around the Central Coast.

The club annually held its popular Windmill Century ride, a multi-length event that typically attracted cyclists from the around the state.

The ride served as the club's major fundraiser and raised thousands of dollars over the years, which was used to help provide outreach to the community, including to kids programs.

However, the club eventually stopped holding the ride, which ultimately led to the decision to formally disband and relinquish its 501(c)(3) status.

"We have decided to disband the formal organization due to lack of participation by the members," said Tailwinds president Ken Dally. "We've been doing the Windmill for 25 years and we finally got to the point where we've aged out all of the work that it takes to put on the Windmill."

With the group no longer wanting to remain an official non-profit organization, it wished to donate all of its money to a worthy cause.

"We have made a fair amount of money over the years and we've used the money to educate kids with bikes and donate bikes to school, and now we've gotten to the point where we want to disband the organization and we have a fair amount of money in the pot and we need to figure out who to donate to, and who better than MOVE Santa Barbara County?" said Dally. "They are an excellent organization. They repair bikes. They sell bikes. They are really good in the community. They are picking up where we left off and expanding on it as well. They are addressing the lower income folks in the Santa Maria area that maybe can't afford to buy new bicycles and they can also repair them, so it's a very much needed organization in Santa Maria."

While the Santa Maria Tailwinds are no longer an official non-profit organization, members say they still plan to ride together for as long as they can continue to pedal.

"It's going into the history books, but we're still riding with the same people," said Murphy. "We are still seeing the other people on the road that we used to see on the road and we're still getting in lots of mileage in and having fun that way."

For more information on MOVE Santa Barbara County, click here.

Article Topic Follows: Community
community assistance
MOVE Santa Barbara County
Santa Barbara
Santa Maria Tailwinds Bicycle Club

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Dave Alley

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