As a parent, you hope every day that you’re doing the best you can to help them develop into healthy individuals, to be smart enough to handle life’s curves, and to teach your kids your values. My wife and I try to make charitable contributions either through work, church, or other external / community organizations. I hope it’s all successfully rubbing off on the kids. Last year, in lieu of birthday gifts, Josh asked for donations to the ASPCA. This year, in lieu of birthday gifts, Lily helped us to collect pajamas and children’s books for donation. I was proud of them.
This year, my wife informed me about an event listed on the Episcopal Relief and Development website for a charity bike ride to raise funds for community food banks and watershed cleanup. It is an annual event hosted by St. David’s Episcopal Church in Kinnelon, NJ. One can elect to ride between different course lengths from 4 mile all the way to 62 miles.
I had initially planned to ride the 62 mile ride, but my wife suggested we ask Josh if he would also like to come along and ride the 4 mile loop. He was interested, but it turned out that us riding separately wouldn’t work out logistically, based on different start times, etc. I decided it was more important for him to ride 4 miles than it was for me to ride 62. I’ve ridden places, but this would be his first charity ride on roads away from our neighborhood.
The Sunday before the ride (April 28th), my wife helped Josh write a short speech to announce at church to raise some additional funds. He was a hit, and he raised about $270 at church alone. I may have to ask him to help me with the Bike MS ride in another two weeks.
Before we could go on the ride, we bought him a new Jamis bike, as he had outgrown his original blue Schwinn Gremlin starter bike. To help defray the cost, our local bike shop accepted a $60 trade-in on the old bike, which I was pretty happy about.
The day of the ride, we ate breakfast, loaded up the bikes, and left 45 mins late! Not the original plan, to be sure. It was an 75 min drive to Kinnelon, and we arrived sometime after 10am. Our online registration never went through, so I had to fill out the paperwork again, attach our rider numbers to our shirts/jackets, and unload the bikes. We missed the official 10:30am start time for the 4 mile loop, but it wasn’t a big deal. We got our pictures taken, then hit the road.
It was a fairly easily two 2 mile loops around the church neighborhood, which made it a 4 mile ride. However, this was Josh’s first time doing some steep hills and sharp downhills, but I think it was a good experience. All this time, I never considered how flat our neighborhood is. Josh ended up losing control and crashing in another church’s parking lot, but he eventually shook it off, got up, and we finished the 2nd half of the ride.
After the ride, there was a BBQ lunch and live band at the church itself, so we rode there directly, ate lunch, then eventually rode back to the school parking lot next door to my car. Loaded up the bikes again, and got home sometime in the late afternoon. Josh rode his first 5.5 miles, and I think he was happy. Sometimes it’s hard to read him. After we got home, he conked out for a few hours.