On June 1 beginning at 7 a.m., hundreds of bike riders, from novice to expert, will line up at Rowan College at Gloucester County to ride throughout the county and raise money for the Gloucester County Special Services Educational Foundation. Registration is $65 until the day of, which will be $75. Routes are either 25 or 50 miles long.
Registration is available by visiting www.CrowdRise.com and searching “The Ride 2019.”
Stations will be set up along the routes to assist riders with bike troubles.
The event, which has been taking place for the past nine years, raises funds for the special services district’s programs. The district educates students who have special needs in conjunction with the county and RCGC. The foundation also hosts a walk.
“Each of those events brings in more events for the foundation and they support programs for children in the county,” said Courtney Schoettle, events coordinator at GCSSEF. “We give kids worry-free time to hang out and community workshops for everyone throughout the school year for adults who have special needs as well.”
Schoettle added The RIDE started at Riverwinds with a small route and was geared toward raising funds for programs for kids with autism. It expanded to include the entire county and the kids within the district.
“We do opening ceremonies around 7:45 a.m., and we have a student from Bankbridge Regional Elementary School who will be singing the national anthem, and another girl from another district will be signing it,” said Schoettle.
The foundation is looking to hit its fundraising goal of $40,000. Currently, online registration has received $18,415, out of a projected $20,000. Seventy-five percent of the proceeds goes toward the foundation and its programs.
A bike will also be presented to the person (or group) that raises the most funds by the day of the event. The event has at least 100 riders signed up.
This year’s ride is also done to remember Bill Robinson, who passed away in 2018.
“From start to finish, he made The RIDE what it is today,” said Schoettle on a press release on the event’s page. “His dedication and spirit were truly admirable.”
Following the bike ride, riders are given refreshments and are welcome to go home whenever necessary.
Schoettle said what excites her most about the event is seeing the same people return each year, and bring in a new group of friends to bond and enjoy the day with.
For those who cannot make it to the event, donations are accepted on the foundation’s website at www.GCSSEF.org. Programs, workshops and events are also posted there, as well as their Facebook page.
“It’s really important that people remember it benefits the kids in the district and the donation helps every student,” said Schoettle.