A Promise to a Stranger, A Life Changing Event.
"He was my brother." Four words that changed my life. Four words that led me to ride for charity. Since then I have completed my 5th 65 mile Irish Pub Tour de Shore. My 4th American Cancer Society Bike a Thons, one of them was a 100-mile event. My 3rd Americas Most Beautiful Bike Ride, sponsored by the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, 2 of the 3 were 100-mile rides.
Three weeks ago, I was riding with a Team in Training team for Indiana, in the AMBBR. The Americas Most Beautiful Bike Ride is a 100-mile ride, around Lake Tahoe, with 5000 feet of climbing. The night before the ride, the team from Indianapolis had their traditional preparatory meeting. After the usual instruction of pre-ride preparations, and do's and don'ts during the ride, the captain asks the question Why do you ride? Why are you here riding in this event? I never planned on cycling in so many, let alone one of these long events. I began riding because I promised a stranger I would.
During the summer of 2013, a memorial was being constructed along the Schuylkill River Trail, in memory of 34-year-old officer Brad Michael Fox. He was killed in the line of duty, one day before his 35th birthday, chasing a hit and run driver in 2012.
I would ride by the site, and observe the construction progress. It was completed by September of 2013. Every time I would pass by the memorial, to this day I choke up just thinking of the tragedy that occurred there and the family. He would have been 35, and his wife was pregnant with a child he would never see. When I pass the site I salute the honor of a fallen servant.
June of 2014, I was riding the trail with my daughter, and we stopped at the site of the memorial, so I could tell her the story. While I was explaining who Officer Brad Fox was, a young cyclist with his wife also stopped to honor the officer. I started a conversation, as is my usual. The young man told me he was not a cyclist and neither was his wife, but they dusted off their bikes to do the Irish Pub Tour de Shore. They were riding for The Officer Brad Fox Team and that he was being honored at the event at the finish of the race. So I asked him "Did you know him?" He said "He was my brother"
Even though I had never ridden 65 miles before, I promised the Fox family, I would sign up and join the Brad Fox team. A promise I kept and will keep again this year, my 5th Irish Pub Tour de Shore. Each year I ride in his memory and support the Irish Pub Children foundation. This foundation was there to support the Fox family and gave them an immediate grant to help the family. The family and families of young officers are not prepared financially for the expense of a funeral. To maximize the support given to our first responders, the TDSCF provides an immediate grant of $5,000 directly to the families of first responders severely injured or killed in the line of duty. The TDSCF then works closely with other organizations that exist to continuously support these families such as Philadelphia Police Survivors Fund, South Jersey FOP Lodge 56, Montgomery County Heroes Fund and Bucks County Hero Scholarship Fund.
When you see my emails and think the Tour de Shore ride is for a good cause but 65 miles is too far and that you could never do it, think of my story.
I took this picture on June 27, 2014, the day I met Brad Fox's brother, James Fox and made a promise I would ride to the shore on July 27, 2014. The most I rode was 10 miles at a time. I would put my bike on my car and drive to the Schuylkill River Trail, so I could avoid the 1 mile uphill to my house in Roxborough, and ride 10 miles to work in the morning and 10 miles home.
I completed the ride by breaking the ride into 4 sixteen mile intervals by stopping at the 4 or 5 rest stops along the way.
If you want to try it, don't think 65 think 4x16
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