It might have been the most painful, most frightening moment of his life but perhaps fortunately for him, he has no memory of any of it.
Nine months after a July, 2010 horrific bicycle accident near Winchester, Va., Joe Boyce resolved to get back up onto the saddle again and ride once more in the Anchor House 500-Mile “Ride for Runaways.’’
Yes, following a crash that left him with a concussion, a broken clavicle, two ribs fractures, a punctured lung and four pins in a broken femur, the Levittown resident began training once more for the very same charity trek on which he nearly lost the ability to pedal a two-wheeler again.
And it was mission accomplished when he completed all 500 miles of the 2011 event.
That’s one reason why the folks at Anchor House, a New Jersey-based organization founded to help runaway and abused children, are so grateful for cyclists like the 58-year-old Boyce.
This Saturday, Boyce and about 120 other dedicated riders will embark from Auburn, N.Y. and go through household-name places such as Williamsport, Pa. on another week-long odyssey.
If all goes according to plan, they will reach Trenton (home of Anchor House) the following Friday and hit their goal of raising some $500,000. Boyce has done about 10 of these, so if our math is correct, that’s around five million bucks.
The amazing thing about all this is, Boyce never gives that potentially life-changing mishap a second thought.
Although he will talk about it when pushed by an interested questioner.
Boyce was riding in tandem on a Monday segment when he looked down to check a location on a cue sheet. He thinks he might have brushed the wheel of a bike in front of him but he can’t confirm that because he crashed to the pavement and was knocked cold.
Compounding the problem: The accident took place in a valley where cell phone service was not available, so it was tough to get immediate medical help.
The event’s support vehicle eventually showed up but without a stretcher. They had to lift Boyce by hand into the makeshift ambulance.
“The funny thing was, they wanted to take me to a trauma center, which is at the University of Virginia (Charlottesville),’’ Boyce recalls. “And I work in admissions at Einstein Hospital in Philadelphia. I said ‘no, take me to Einstein.’ They thought I was kidding. They couldn’t take me in a helicopter because of my lung.’’
So it took about eight hours on the roads to get the journey to Philadelphia completed.
“I was in a wheelchair for two months,’’ he says. “Crutches for a month and then a cane for awhile. The ride last year took us through Winchester, so I finally made it back.’’
A veteran of the Bucks County Roadrunners Club, Boyce starts to gear up his training in late spring. Each week he will do at least one long ride of about 90 miles and several others of moderate distance (30 to 50 miles) to get ready.
He does this ride for Anchor House not only for the cause but because it provides inspiration for his training.
“The camaraderie is amazing,’’ he says. “You meet lifelong friends. I’ve known people for 11-plus years. The hardest years are not the years I did Anchor House but the years I didn’t do Anchor House.
“The cause is amazing. The kids come out at the end. Sometimes they come out to the Quakerbridge Mall (Route 1, Mercer County) where they meet us. They’re very thankful. It’s an amazing feeling to do what you love and help other people as well, especially the children.’’
Run for the Hill of It 5-Miler, Philadelphia. Contact www.runsignup.com