I did it. I successfully rode “The Ride For Missing Children” yesterday. I rode every mile without incident. My bike held up great and I held up even better.
The day started at 4:00 a.m. – we had to be on school buses to be taken to the starting point at 5 a.m. (We had loaded our bikes on tractor trailers the night before). We were taken out to the N.Y. State Police Troop D headquarters in Oneida. Everyone spent a couple of hours getting organized and such. I had everything together and was sort of just standing there since I don’t know a lot of people in the ride and a guy came up to me as and asked if I had a riding partner. I told him that I didn’t, and he responded that he didn’t either and wanted to know if I’d mind partnering up with him. I didn’t mind at all (in fact I welcomed the company!) so my new friend Paul and I rode the ride together. It was great to make a new friend.
We hit the road a little after 8 a.m., and the ride took us about 105 miles through various communities in Central New York and the Mohawk Valley, stopping by elementary and junior high schools for a quick break and to share the importance of safety with the kids – keeping away from strangers, etc. After hearing abduction stories yesterday, it is still unfathomable to me that an adult human being could be so cruel to a child (or to anyone for that matter).
The kids were so full of energy you couldn’t help but get pumped up for the next leg of the ride. We’d hand out pencils and give high-fives as were passing the huge “walls” of kids. Then we’d mingle about, showing them the equipment on our bikes and such I was even signing autographs! They were treating us like olympiads!
Coming up the home stretch around 7:30 last night there were hundreds of people lining the streets of Utica’s “main street” – Genesee Street, with sirens and horns blaring, lights flashing and a state police helicopter doing fly-bys. I rounded the corner for the New Hartford Rec. Center and saw a smiling face (albeit a little teary) – Earl was there cheering us on and taking pictures. All told, the ride was 105.66 miles. And I rode every single inch. I still can’t believe it.
I’m a little sore today (nothing that a few Advil can’t fix), but I’m so happy that I was able to give to something so worthwhile. I’m already looking forward to the ride next year. I’m joining the Mohawk Valley Bicycling Club and am going to start riding on the Wednesday night rides – getting to know people and all. And I’m going to start doing some volunteering with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
It’s good to contribute to the well-being of the world.