by Dave Wagner, Public Affairs Volunteer
“I’m mostly a mountain biker, so I rode my first Ride for the Red on a mountain bike. It was a tough 30 miles,” quipped Andrew Bonica, “but I’m a Marine and I don’t quit.”
A lot has changed in Bonica’s life since that first ride in 2016. He is a very busy man – at work, at home, in the community. But every year he makes sure to take the time to participate in the Red Cross Ride for the Red event. He has also acquired a much lighter and nimbler road bike, and this year he has set his sights even higher.
“I’ve always done the 30-mile ride but this year I’m going to do 100 miles. I’ve got a buddy from Tampa who is an avid rider. He told me ‘If I fly out there, we’re going to do the Century.’ So I’ve been riding a lot more and doing strength training to build up to this ride.”
After five years in the Marine Corps, and three deployments to Iraq, Bonica knows a lot about training and commitment. That’s one reason he has been so supportive of Ride for the Red and its beneficiary, the Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces (SAF).
“They were a good support system when I was on duty,” Bonica said of Red Cross SAF. “They helped us stay connected with our families. The military’s got their mission and sometimes it doesn’t align with what’s going on in our lives. The Red Cross is really good in filling this gap.”
When he left the Corps, Bonica parlayed the skills he had learned as a communications tech with the Marines and his love for music into a successful career in the private sector. He joined Line 6, a developer of audio equipment for musicians, and continued there when the company was acquired by the Yamaha Guitar Group.
It was with the Team Line 6 Red Riders that Bonica first became involved with the Red Cross. “I found out that the team from Line 6 was riding in the event. I love to ride and I’m a vet, so it was a perfect fit.”
Bonica is now a tech executive with Dassault Systèmes, working on 3D modeling software. He is also working hard to get his new company to become a Ride for the Red sponsor, just as he did with Yamaha Guitars.
“I went to France when I was in high school. I’d love to go back now and ride through the French countryside,” he said. Dassault is headquartered in Paris and could provide just that opportunity. The company is celebrating their 40th anniversary and a few lucky employees will win trips to Paris. Bonica is keeping his fingers crossed and his bike helmet ready.
Andrew Bonica and his hot pink guitar won 2nd place in a photo contest with this shot and took home a pair of high-end speakers as the prize.
Ride for the Red
Join the Red Cross for an amazing cycling event that takes riders through beautiful Ventura County. Contact us to learn more about how you or your organization can participate and support this noble cause. Sponsorship opportunities are also available for this one of a kind event.