SM Jeweler Riding East for Cure

Steve Gilmore
Steve Gilmore

He’s been preparing for the better part of the last two years, but jeweler Steve Gilmore said this Saturday’s big take off from his home to Rye Brook, New York, has arrived surprisingly quickly.
“Now it’s days away,” he said in a phone interview on Monday. “Not that I don’t think I can’t do it, but it’s pretty scary now that it’s here.”
Gilmore will, for the next 30 or so days, ride his ProFlex mountain bike the entire 3,059.8 miles to Rye Brook, where Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is headquartered. The San Gabriel resident and longtime owner of San Marino’s Kraemer Jewelers is doing so as a fundraiser for the charity, in honor of his late sister Gail, who died of a brain tumor in 2001, and friend Clarence Muirhead, who died in 2014 and also bestowed Gilmore the mountain bike.
“It’s like brand-new,” Gilmore said of his friend’s classic bike, one of the earliest full-suspension mountain bikes. “He was super meticulous with it.”
Gilmore formally started his trip a week ago by dipping the bike’s wheel into the ocean in Santa Monica and then riding from there to his store on Huntington Drive. “It was only 30 miles, but it took half a day,” Gilmore added, noting the construction along the way.
With a friend following along in a camper, Gilmore plans to cycle a little bit more than 100 miles each day, depending on where they’re able to set up the camper or use a motel. Palm Springs will be the first stop after Saturday and he added he didn’t plan on necessarily flooring it all the way through, but rather taking his time to enjoy the sights — or lack thereof — along the way and burn through his endless playlist of songs he compiled for the journey.
“This is something where it’s going to be a hundred miles each day, so it’s not like I’ll have nothing to do the next day,” he said. “The first few days are really going to [be hard] because it’s all uphill.”
Bicycling is nothing new for the 60-year-old Gilmore, having first really committed to the exercise in his early 30s.
“It’s a way of life for me now,” he said, noting he was an avid runner at an earlier age. “I’ve got new knees from [replacement surgery] five years ago, and cycling and swimming are about the only two hardcore things I can do now.”
Through a website, Gilmore is soliciting donations for LLS and has a set goal of $500,000. After making it to New York, he said he’s going to ride the few miles from LLS headquarters to the beach, symbolically place his wheel in the Atlantic Ocean and then drive the camper back with his wife (who is flying out) for the next week.
Gilmore met Muirhead as a neighbor by his family’s vacation home in Lucerne Valley in the ’70s and became lifelong friends (his two sons knew Muirhead as an uncle, Gilmore said). Despite his active and healthy lifestyle, Muirhead developed an especially powerful variant of leukemia.
“I will be riding and raising money to help create a world where we no longer have to say goodbye to loved ones because of this evil disease,” Gilmore said. “So much of what the leukemia society has done for research has helped research other forms of cancer as well.”
To donate, visit coast2coast4acure.com. And to follow Gilmore’s journey, he also has a Facebook page.

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