In 1990, I had the dubious distinction of being the very last person to finish the very first Rodman Ride for Kids.
Sure, it was pouring cold rain all day and I had no raingear, only layers of soggy t-shirts. Sure, I was riding a rickety, borrowed bicycle 100 miles (the only route we did then). And yes, I made a wrong turn and went five miles out of the way with the chase van right behind me until they finally realized it. But am I bitter? Do I have any excuses? No and no.
And more importantly, have I ridden and/or donated to virtually every Ride since then? The answer to that is an emphatic ‘yes.’ I got myself a brand new bike right after that first ride so that I’d never finish last again. I’ve ridden the beautiful 100 miles many times, the 50 miles a couple; and the 25 frequently, always accompanied by my son on the back of our tandem bike. I’ve only been out in the rain one other time, and that was more like a drizzle. Don Rodman, President of the Ride for Kids, has some sort of divine weather connection, is my guess.
One reason why I’m so committed to the Ride is that it is an incredibly unique, fun and truly communal experience. In the past 23 years, the Ride has grown from about 50 riders to more than 1300, from about $50,000 raised to about $11.3 million. Another is that the collaboration among the now nearly 50 agencies represented at the Ride is completely unprecedented. But most important, the fact that Don Rodman can bring together a community of riders, volunteers and donors to make such a big difference in the lives of kids who have so few other constituencies and supporters. It makes this experience one of the highlights of my year. The feeling of the day gives you energy for months. If you’ve never done it, don’t keep missing out, just join in. You definitely won’t regret it.