#LongForTheRide September Winner
Dave has dabbled in various forms of cycling for more than two decades. It took getting his first road bike in 2012 and a drive to make a difference for Dave to find his calling: supporting the Law Enforcement United, New Jersey division. His incredible passion for the mission of the group, and cycling in general, is more than palpable. We'll let him tell you more.
Read on for Dave's #LongForTheRide story:
"I have always been an avid bicyclist, but I always just rode for fun. I always enjoyed just leaving my house and aimlessly riding just to feel the wind in my face. During all those years of biking something was calling me, I just did not know what it was.
In September 2012 I decided that I wanted to give road biking a shot, so I bought my first road bike - a 2012 Giant Defy 2.The exhilaration of road biking was like nothing I had ever felt before. The bike was my mechanism to leave the stresses of life and work behind. The only thing out there was the road and me! I now had found my niche. After more than 20 years of riding mountain bikes, some cheap and some moderately expensive, I had never felt such a feeling of FREEDOM! Now I decided that since I had found my tool, it was now time to find my purpose. I wanted to do something that would challenge me physically as well as mentally.I wanted to be part of something that would make a difference. In March of 2013 I found my purpose.
As I was leafing through a Law Enforcement Magazine, I found an article that piqued my interest.It was an article about police officers that rode their bikes from Chesapeake, Virginia, to Washington, D.C., to honor police officers who gave their lives in the line of duty.
What intrigued me about this group was that it was comprised of police officers from all over the country that would ride between 80 to 100 miles per day for three days from Virginia to Washington D.C. Their goal was to honor fallen police officers and provide monetary support to the families of the fallen. Their goal was to raise money for the families and bring awareness to their cause.I was hooked - I finally knew what my purpose was.
Now the question for me was: how could I get involved in this tremendous cause? What could I do to help? The first thing was to pick up the telephone and find out!I called the phone number listed in the magazine and I left a message for a person I did not know. I saw in the magazine that it said space was limited, but I had to give it a shot (Because this was what I was meant to do!).
The person that I left a message for called me back within an hour.His name was Wallace "Chad" Chadwick, the National President for Law Enforcement United.His response to me was, "You are welcome to join Law Enforcement United, Brother". He called me Brother.Someone I had never met before.Someone who did not know me from a "fly on the wall" called me brother. I had truly found where I belonged."
"I joined Law Enforcement United in 2013. I rode with Team New Jersey from Chesapeake, NJ, to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. It was a physically and mentally challenging ride.I had never ridden so many inclines (luckily what goes up must come down). Along the way we would stop at a place where a police officer had lost his life in the line of duty. There would be a moment of silence at rest stops and memorials. Each time we stopped 400 people would become completely silent to honor a fallen brother. You could literally hear a pin drop. Needless to say I cried at every stop.It was emotionally draining to see children, spouses, parents, and grandparents thanking me for honoring the loved one that they lost. People never think that when a police officer dies there is always someone left behind who has to carry on. By participating in the Law Enforcement United Road to Hope I am upholding their mission: "Honor The Fallen and Remember The Survivors"
In August 2014 Team NJ became the New Jersey Division.It was a tremendous undertaking, but we succeeded.In May of 2015 we planned and rode 240 miles in three days from Egg Harbor Township, NJ, to the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. We rode each day from sunup to sundown. Rough roads and smooth roads were our proving grounds.It was a rough journey but we made it."
In addition, to his loyalty to Law Enforcement United, Dave also supports the New Brunswick Bike Exchange (NBBE). Dave selected NBBE for the #LongForTheRide donation because they share in his belief that everyone deserves to ride and they are actively involved with all things pertinent to bicycles.
The New Brunswick Bike Exchange has been open since May of 2013. While their focus since opening has been on increasing access to affordable bicycles by refurbishing and selling used, donated bikes – their long-term goal is to become a comprehensive provider of all types of bicycling related services for the community. This includes bicycling education, repair and maintenance education, and recreational events like community bike rides. This $1,000 donation will help provide an opportunity to strengthen this second, long-term effort.
"We are planning to host a community bike rodeo this summer and the funding will help us hire League Certified Instructors to run the event, and potentially provide all participants with a free helmet," Leighann, an NBBE spokesperson said. "We may also use part of the funding for capital improvements to our space and for promotional materials, both of which will help us recruit new volunteers, donors and customers to strengthen our program in the long term. We truly appreciate all of the opportunities that this donation will provide."
We want to conclude by extending a heartfelt "thank you" to each and every one of you who shared your stories with us through #LongForTheRide. Until next time, happy riding!