Berkeley, UCPD officers cycle to feed community

Riders head through Berkeley in the 27th annual Turkey Ride.
Taryn Erhardt/Senior Staff
Riders head through Berkeley in the 27th annual Turkey Ride.

Berkeley police officers set out on a three-day, 195-mile bike ride this morning to raise money to provide Turkey dinners for underprivileged families in the city this holiday season.

The 27th annual Turkey Ride united 18 cyclists — from the Berkeley Police Department, UCPD and the community — who will travel to the Napa Valley Wine country and end their tour in San Francisco at Crissy Field, raising money for every mile they bike. This year’s goal is to raise enough funds to buy Thanksgiving meals for 500 families.

The Turkey Ride is typically a three-day event that covers about 200 miles. In the past, cyclists have gone to destinations like Lake Tahoe and Cambria in Southern California, according to Berkeley Sgt. Joe Okies, who is riding for his sixth year.

Participating Berkeley officers are off duty cops who had to take time off to ride for the next three days, Okies said.

While most of the cyclists are from BPD, one UCPD officer, Lt. Adan Tejada, is also participating in this year’s tour.

UCPD has been involved in the Turkey Ride for the last 25 years and usually sends two to four cyclists, according to Tejada, who is riding for his third year.

Okies said he continues to participate in the event because it not only supports the Berkeley community but is also fun.

“People come from all ranging experience and it’s just a great community event,” Okies said. “People get to ride for a great cause while also getting to know people especially outside of the work environment.”