Cyclists Break Cycle of Poverty August 14 for Scenic Northern Berks Tour | Local News
Cyclists converge on rural roads in northern Berks County for Friend, Inc. Community Services’ 12th annual Brake the Cycle of Poverty Benefit bike ride on August 14.
Run from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., rain or shine, from the Rickenbach Learning Center on the Kutztown University campus, cyclists can choose from four routes – a 62 mile ride across the four covered bridges County of Berks; a 40-mile route that crosses two covered bridges; a 25 mile ride on winding roads or a scenic 10 mile ride perfect for beginners and families.
“The name ‘Brake the Cycle of Poverty’ is a clever expression for our mission to help develop self-sufficiency for our neighbors in need in Northeastern Berks County,” said James Reece, executive director of Friend. “Brake the Cycle” is something you could say to someone who is trying to “stop” a bicycle. Well, we are trying to âstopâ the cycle of poverty through education and direct assistance when needed. “
This charity event raises funds that help the agency support the mission of those in need in the communities of northeastern Berks County, Reece said.
âOur hope is twofold. The first is to raise money! The money funds our people and our programs, so we need to focus on that, âReece said. âSecond, and perhaps more important, is to raise awareness: to let Friend, Inc. know who we are, what we do and how we can help, but also to raise awareness of the needs so prevalent in this rural part of the county. Most human needs are universal, but there is also an aspect of rural life that adds interesting challenges. “
The funds are used to support Friend’s mission to help those in need. Services include a customer-choice pantry, an on-campus satellite pantry for Kutztown University students, and case management services that address food insecurity, from education to management of money, utility assistance, rent, transitional housing and referrals to external agencies. Friend, Inc. is also the Kutztown home for Safe Berks, the Family Guidance Center, and Maternal and Family Health (WIC) services. Safe Berks will be present at the benefit event of the bike ride.
As with many other events in the midst of the pandemic, last year’s fundraising bike ride took place virtually.
âWhich means people took the cards and did it themselves. Turnout, as you can imagine, was down from precious years, even though we were successful in raising funds, âhe said.
Over the past six years, the event has raised an average of $ 8,500. This year, Friend expects that number to reach around $ 10,000.
âWe really think the benefit of this event in the coming years should be two to three times that amount,â said Reece.
About 150 to 175 runners will participate this year, but that number depends on the weather, with many registering on the day of the event. All ages participate and the runners come from the counties of Berks, Montgomery, Lehigh and Lancaster, as well as Philadelphia and even a few from Maryland, New Jersey and New York.
âWe have four courses ranging from a 62 mile challenge to a fun 10 mile ride, which is perfect for families and those just starting out,â said Reece.
The 62-mile Metric Century course begins at 8:00 a.m., the 4-mile rolling course begins at 8:15 a.m., the 25-mile Moderate Hills course begins at 9:00 a.m., and the 10-mile family course begins at 9:15 a.m.
âFor runners, this event offers an absolutely stunning ride through some of the most fascinating scenery in the eastern part of the state,â said Reece. âFor the rest of us, this event (like most) involves a tremendous level of preparation. The amount of detail involved is a level beyond most, however. Imagine a cycle path that covers 100 km and crosses the county’s four open covered bridges. “
The ride takes cyclists from Kutztown to the Dreibelbis Station Bridge via Oley and back up to Kutztown.
âThat’s a ton of country to cover and every turn needs to be mapped; each of them.
On the 62 mile course there are 81 turns and each one needs to be noted and entered into the mapping. Beyond that, each of these turns is reinforced by a physical signal pointing the riders in the right direction; signs that should descend once the ride is over.
âIt happens on all four routes. Executing this level of detail is amazing to me.
Reece said this was an event on the bridge, so of course all the staff at Friend, Inc. are involved.
âHowever, we couldn’t be successful without our cycling champion Kevin Claypool who creates the routes, does the GPS mapping and promotes the heck of this labor of love for him. Oh, and he’s volunteering to do it all! He said, “We also have a pool of dedicated volunteers who take care of the registration booth as well as the rest areas along the various routes.”
âTo underscore all of this, our corporate sponsors provide valuable resources both financially and in kind. “
Kutztown Borough, East Penn Manufacturing, Dream Vacations, Fleetwood Bank, Homelight, Good Shepherd Physical Therapy, Tompkins VIST Bank provided financial support.
Reverend Dennis Ritter will offer a pre-race blessing for the safety of the runners.
For the first time, mini-table massages will be offered to participating cyclists by in-kind sponsor Sensory Concepts Orthopedic & Medical Massage, Wyomissing. Owner Sandy Wagner, LMT, will perform 10-minute sports massages on a table for tired riders.
Betty’s Wraps will provide lunch for the riders. The beer will be on sale by Saucony Creek Craft Brewery and there will be many vendors from the Kutztown Folk Festival.
âOur intention is to make this event a festival-like event in the years to come! Said Reece.
Check-in begins at 7 a.m. for 62 and 40 mile runs and 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. for 25 and 10 mile runs. The cost is a $ 35 individual registration fee ($ 45 on the day of the event), and children under 12 will ride for free with a registered adult.
For more information on Community Services from Friend, Inc., Sponsors of Brake the Cycle, or to register online, visit https://www.friendinc.org/brake-the-cycle-of-poverty/ . Registrations will be accepted until the day of the event. Call 610-683-7791 for more information. For more information about Friend, Inc. visit www.friendinc.org.