This is truly the best supported ride I have ever been on. They have the best SAG stops, awesome mechanics and a great bunch of people to train and ride with. I have been cycling for over 20 years and have tried various single and multi-day rides. Nothing compares to this experience.
Jean and I participated in the very first ride in 1997, I on my bike and Jean – more importantly – on the support crew. We had always been active in teen ministry and the Ride presented a new way – for us – to support those who need it most. The Ride has been a blessing for us and we know that the efforts of all those who participated over the years has enabled Harbor House to provide the essential and needed services to those who cry out for help. The entire Ride crew – Support and Riders – have shared in the experience of sacrificing for others that they may flourish. A deep bond was formed and we had great fun.
Like many on the ride, I was recruited by a very special person – Father Mike. I started my journey riding for a sister organization, Anchor House, but raising money for both Anchor and Harbor House organizations. After 4 days of that 7-day ride, I had enough and was going to go home but another seasoned rider took me under his wing and encouraged me to complete the ride, which I did. I, however, had no intention of ever doing such a thing again. It took all of my physical and mental strength to get through some of those tough climbs and dangerous descents. On the final leg of the ride, the parade to the welcome home ceremony, a young girl called out to us and thanked us for what we did saying that if it was not for Anchor House, her friend would not be among us. Needless to say, those words touched me so deeply and I thought to myself, if I could do this once, I could do it again. With that and a lot of planning and organization, Father Mike, the seasoned rider who kept me from quitting, Dan Tulai, and myself created the Harbor House Ride for New Beginnings – a ride to raise critical funds for Ocean’s Harbor House! It’s been over 20 years and I remain committed to do whatever I can to raise awareness and funds for the youth that are cared for by this wonderful organization.
Over ten years ago my Mom started participating in the Harbor Houses (HH) 400-mile charity bike ride. This annual fundraiser raises approximately $100,000. Each year I would welcome my Mom home at the finish line after the 400 miles. When I was thirteen I decided I wanted to join her on the ride as part of the support team.
Over the years I have seen first-hand how the teens of HH struggled with no place to turn. If it wasn’t for the funds we raised for Harbor House, I’m not sure what would happen to these teens. HH provides not only a home for these teens but it helps them pave their way back into society with renewed confidence and hope.
During the past three years at HH, I have been part of the support team on the bike journey that has taken us from state to state. After much planning and preparation our bike team sets off for the 5-day journey. My role consisted of setting up food and water stops, checking in the riders, hotel assistance, daily supply shopping and on-road support. My favorite task is making lunch for the riders – it was great to hear about the route adventures.
The impact of this ride is the positive change in these teens’ lives. The success stories are numerous because of the generosity of its volunteers. Over the years I believe I received far more than what I gave. The satisfaction of playing a role in someone’s life and giving back to the community is very rewarding. I hope the work I have done has made a positive impact on the lives I have touched. I have learned that giving without expectation is pure joy.
While riding the ride as an employee of Harbor House (my first ride was in 2000 and no, it wasn’t mandatory) I found myself being rejuvenated for the work I did there by being surrounded by all of the dedicated and caring people who gave so freely of their time and energies to help the children and youth we served. I still participate in the ride since my retirement from Harbor House because it allows me to continue to support the agency, be in the company of those wonderful people and gives me hope for our children’s future.