They wore orange safety vests, huddled under tents and kept moving to try to stay warm. For 77 miles, the cyclists on the Anchor House Ride for Runaways pedaled in rain and fog on Friday, climbing 4,500 feet of hills along the way.
The fog lifted, but the rain never let up on one of the wettest day veteran Anchor House riders have ever encountered. Some years on the ride, it might rain for a few minutes or a few hours, but rarely has it rained all day.
After the journey from West Hazleton to Bethlehem, Pa., the cyclists dried off, then celebrated their accomplishments at the annual awards banquet.
The cyclists learned at the banquet that the 39th annual ride has raised $446,700 so far to support Anchor House, the Trenton-based shelter for runaway, abused and neglected children and teens. The goal for this year’s ride is to raise $500,000. Donations will continue to come in over the coming weeks. Last year the ride raised more than $560,000, but the ride has fewer participants this year. The average rider raises about $2,000. You can still donate online by visiting the Ride for Runaways website.
For the final day of the ride on Saturday, the cyclists will pedal 55 miles from Bethlehem to Pennington, where they will gather for a picnic at St. James Church before biking the last 10 miles to the Quaker Bridge Mall for a welcome home ceremony. The ceremony, which is open to the public, begins at 3 p.m. sharp in the center court of the mall.
Thirty-five of the cyclists received anniversary awards Friday night for their dedication to Anchor House, with five people celebrating their 25th ride anniversaries.