Cyclists are holding a series of rides Sunday in the memory of retired SSU professor Steve Norwick, who was fatally injured by a hit-and-run driver on June 8 in Penngrove.

"People wanted to do something to remember Steve and riding a bike was a huge part of who he was," said Gary Helfrich, executive director of the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition. "If someone was a musician, you might want to get together to play music. I hope it will be a good thing, people are feeling sad about this. People need to get together and move on."

The coalition is organizing the event for anyone who wants to show up. It will start with a gathering at 9:30 a.m. in the parking lot of Spreckels Performing Arts Center at the Community Center in Rohnert Park.

The rides will begin at 10 a.m. and will be led by friends of Norwick, who was a geology professor from 1974 to his retirement in 2005 and an avid cyclist.

Norwick was riding on the shoulder of Petaluma Hill Road in Penngrove when he was hit from behind on June 8. He died of his injuries 12 days later.

Robert Cowart, 68, of Penngrove, has been charged in the case.

Helfrich said there will be four rides for all levels of cyclists.

Helfrich, who was a student of Norwick's, is leading a hilly seven-mile ride that Norwick would use in his geology class, giving students a better feel for the geography of the rolling foothills that border the SSU campus.

Coalition board president Tom Helm is leading the longest ride, 40 miles.

Others are being led by Vin Hoagland, a retired SSU professor, Maria Potter, a former of student of Norwick's and a bicycle tour guide, Dawn Silveira, a coach with the Jill B. Nimble cycling club.

(You can reach Staff Writer Bob Norberg at 521-5206 or