Since its inception in 2006, the Pleasanton-based Cycling for a Cause has raised more than $40,000 for academics and performing arts clubs associated with local schools.

In the recent school year ending in June, the cyclists donated a total of $5,000 to a variety of clubs and groups, including the Amador Valley High School Competition Civics "We the People" Team; Amador's Mock Trial and Robotics teams; Amador and Foothill High Schools' Drama Clubs; the Las Positas College Literary Anthology; Bridge of Opportunity; and Creatures of Impulse, which is the improvisation program for Tri-Valley youth affiliated with Pleasanton's Firehouse Arts Center.

"Each of these groups offers our youth opportunities for academic and personal growth," said Pleasanton City Councilmember Jerry Pentin, who, along with Las Positas College English professor Jim Ott (yes, that's me), founded the organization.

We primarily raise funds each year through Cycling for a Cause's annual 50-mile bicycle ride titled the Tinman, which takes place Nov. 2 this year. A 15-mile bike ride option is available, which we call Tinyman.

While no fee is required to participate or to attend the post-ride barbecue, which takes place at Jerry Pentin's home, we ask for donations and sponsorships at any time during the year to raise funds for the academic and arts clubs.


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"Any funds we raise are matched by the generosity of Pleasanton North Rotary Foundation," said Pentin, who expressed deep appreciation for the club's financial support.

In addition to the annual Tinman ride, cyclists supporting Cycling for a Cause have taken on difficult, endurance bike rides throughout California to raise money, including 100- and 200-mile rides through Death Valley and along the rugged and steep coastline near Eureka.

All of the bicycle rides are noncompetitive and build friendship and camaraderie. Cyclists of all fitness levels who are interested in riding Tinman or Tinyman this year and helping to raise funds for these worthy causes are encouraged to contact Pentin at jerry@pentin.com. Hope you'll join us!

Kipling Stories Come to Life: Have you ever wondered how the camel got its hump? Or how the kangaroo learned to hop?

Answers to these and other fanciful questions will be revealed Aug. 17 in Pleasanton through a dramatic enactment of Rudyard Kipling's "Just-So Stories," published in 1902 for Kipling's two small daughters.

The performance, titled "O Best Beloved," is "full of silliness and wordplay," said director Rebecca Longworth, who added that the actors often directly address the audience in a tradition reminiscent of the circus, vaudeville and traveling troupes.

The production includes music and a mobile stage known as the FluxWagon, a brightly painted traveling wagon that has moving parts and machinery as part of the entertainment.

The free show is appropriate for all ages and will start at 5 p.m. in Centennial Park, which is located at 5353 Sunol Blvd. in Pleasanton, next to the senior center. Bring a blanket, low chairs and a picnic. For more information, visit www.obestbeloved.org.

Contact Jim Ott at jimott@sbcglobal.net.