group shot 01 webThere was an interesting bike ride for charity this year that piqued my interest. I spoke with one of the cyclists, Carol Wroblewski, to get a firsthand account of this amazing ride for charity. The ride is a 600 mile trek that this year ran from Saginaw, MI to Easton, PA – a route that took them to Canada and Niagara Falls. 

The purpose of the bike tour is to raise funds and awareness for Restoring Hope Ministries of Cornerstone Church of Easton PA. All of the funds raised for this bike tour will go towards training and developing curricula at the Hope House in Dungu, Democratic Republic of Congo.

The riders raised a total of $53,000 this year. They raised it by asking for donations from friends and family, some worked for it, some sold donuts, had a painting party, garage sales and the like. There were 20 cyclists and 6 support personnel. Most of the participants are from the Lehigh Valley with a number of them over 50 years of age. This year’s was the first such bike tour for Carol, but it was the third that the church organized.

Training
Although Carol rode regularly, she and the others had to do some intense training to get ready for the tour. For several months before the tour, they had do a minimum of 100 miles per week. This included hill training to improve their strength as well as stamina. They used a mileage tracker app on their phones to log their progress.

Preparation
Accompanying the riders were 6 support personnel, 2 support vehicles and a pickup truck. The cyclists had a packing list of some 30 items including, bike clothing, helmet, bike shoes, water bottles, cell phone, gloves, pillow, self-inflating air mattress, camera, sunscreen, and insect repellent.
Itinerary
• Friday they drove to Saginaw, MI.
• Saturday biked 106 miles to Columbus, MI.
• Sunday biked 88 miles to Middlesex, ON, CAN.
• Monday biked 84 miles to Hagersville, ON, CAN.
• Tuesday biked 60 miles to Niagara Falls, ON, CAN.
• Wednesday had a day off.
• Thursday biked 83 miles to Churchville, NY.
• Friday biked 80 miles to Auburn, NY.
• Saturday biked 87 miles to Vestal, NY.
• Sunday drove to Bethlehem and then biked 15 miles into Easton, PA.

The Ride
An interesting aspect of this tour is that the cyclists stayed at churches along the route to defray the cost of lodging. Organizers had scouted the route some months earlier to make these arrangements. They had also secured rest stops at farms along the route. For Carol, the most difficult day was the first day. They rode for 106 miles that first day. At the end of the day “my legs were wobbly.” The riders were lucky that they had good clear weather the whole trip, although the days were hot. They rode from late July to early August. Passing into Canada posed no issues as well as the re-entry into the United States. Parts of the route were dangerous due to some rough terrain especially around road construction sites. On one day the riders ended up covered in dirt and gravel. “The best day was our one day off ” - the gang spent a welcome day off at Niagara Falls.

The Arrival
After a long and hard ride the group reached their final destination in Easton, PA. It proved to be quite a joyful event. “Last day, people were cheering you on, it brought tears to my eyes. The last bit of the route was lined with family and friends. It was a big event in downtown Easton with plenty of food and speeches”. A fitting end to an amazing effort by all the cyclists and support personnel. This tour was obviously a labor of love. As mentioned previously all the proceeds are going to an education project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. For more info on, or if you wish to support the bike tours and the training center in the Congo, visit the following sites: restoringhopeministries.org and rideforcongo.org

 

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