Cyclists such as Joe Boyce are the reason why the annual Anchor House 500-mile “Ride for Runaways’’ hasn’t been weighed down by the pandemic.
Last year, Boyce and more than a hundred other participants had to make-do with the health conditions by completing their mission through “virtual’’ cycling on local roads.
It will be more of the same in 2021, as veterans saddle up for another eight-day slate of area rides.
The event commences on July 10 with a finish line at Rosedale Park in Pennington, N.J.
A couple years ago we wrote about how Boyce, a 60-year-old Levittown native, survived a horrific crash during the 2011 ride. Multiple injuries kept him off the roads for the better part of nine months.
But he was back the following year, perhaps because the mission means so much to him. Anchor House is a New Jersey-based organization founded to help runaway and abused children.
As Joe likes to point out with a chuckle, this is his “lucky 13th’’ time he’s done the Anchor ride, so the odds of a safe trip must be in his favor.
Through sponsors and donations, the ride generates about $500,000 per year, so if our math is correct, that’s about $6 million raised during his watch. Anchor House was founded in 1978.
Boyce begins his training for the event as soon as the weather starts to warm up in March. Now, in the final stages of his preparation, he thinks nothing of doing 50 to 80 miles on any given day.
It’s his hope that things will get back to normal next year so that cyclists can do the traditional loop through Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, New Jersey, etc.
“This year we’re doing a new start everyday,’’ he said. “One day we go up to Allentown, N.J., then the Manasquan Reservoir, Bordentown and so forth. The ride committee came up with a really fun format.’’
Riders receive cue sheets with a course map. Generally they pack their own fluids and nutrition but there are also places to stop along the course.
Riding between 7:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., riders will average about 65 miles per day, no mean feat in July’s heat.
There is an actual Anchor House in Trenton which, according to Boyce, puts a roof over the heads of abused, unwanted and homeless children. Food, clothing and shelter are provided.
“It also provides educational opportunities for them,’’ Boyce pointed out. “There have been many, many success stories of people going on in careers as lawyers and other types of professions at a high rate.’’
From a personal standpoint, it’s a rewarding experience for Boyce, who loves to cycle and is gratified to be able to help a worthy cause while doing so.
“Biking provides a lot of joy, getting in shape,’’ he said. “There’s camaraderie. But when you put Anchor House in the mix, it provides more meaning to the sweat and tears you’re putting in. Especially a child who’s unwanted. . .it gives you a good feeling, a feeling of purpose. It’s a feeling like you’re not just doing something for yourself, it’s helping someone who really needs it.’’
Those who aren’t riding but wish to make a donation to Boyce’s page can visit the website link at: https://anchorhouseride.rallybound.org/JoeBoyce
In this day and age, this cause is particularly important because of the rise in poverty in the U.S. urban areas.
“This is a step up for kids who really need a helping hand,’’ Boyce said. “They haven’t had the opportunity that many of us have had.’’
>Acer “aces’’ Western States 100
Mike Acer’s dream of finishing the Western States 100-Miler became reality this past weekend when he completed the challenging event in California.
He battled through a pretty severe case of painful back spasms plus some light-headedness to reach his goal.
On Facebook, Acer thanked his support team, including Cheryl Chambliss, Chrystal Murphy Molnar and Thomas Peterson for all their help.
Acer had been planning this attempt for some eight years. It was gratifying to beat the 30-hour deadline.
“My finish felt so amazing,’’ he said. “I was extremely humbled by the course and by the efforts of my friends doing everything to make sure I finished. It was so much more than I had hoped for.’’
One Nation Four on the Fourth Four-Miler, 8:30 a.m., Northampton Community Park, Churchville. Contact www.runsignup.com