WASHINGTON -- A team of about 30 Airmen and government workers get on their bikes and hit the streets and paths around the D.C. area to enjoy bicyling -- and raise money for various causes.

Gloria Padilla joined the Blue Suite Pacers bicycle riding team because she had breast cancer surgery. As a survivor, she wants to help others afflicted with the deadly disease. Master Sgt. B.L. Lawrence joined because he had trouble passing the Air Force’s bike test. Both had a passion for biking.

Recently, the team raised more than $1,000 for Air Force Hurricane Katrina survivors from pledges for every mile the rode. In the past, the group donated pledge money to the Red Cross and for diabetes and cancer research.

“People really connect more through their passions,” said Sergeant Lawrence, who works in the Air Force Senior Leader Management Office at the Pentagon. “Cycling is our passion and it gets even better when we are able to help others by doing what we love."

After discovering his love for cycling in Texas, Lawrence decided to turn his hobby into a legitimate team open to others when he moved to Washington and began meeting other cyclists. The only requirement joining the team is an enthusiasm to ride, and a bicycle. Though the name implies Air Force, it is open to all. An Army medical student is among the team’s ranks, as are a number of government civilians and retirees. (See U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Jim Varhegyi of the Blue Suit Pacers cyclists going for a training ride around Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C. The group -- riding here Oct. 19 -- has about 30 Airmen and other government workers from the D.C. area.)