I am an avid bicyclist. My father taught me how to ride a two wheeler at age 7 during the summer of 1962. My first bicycle was a classic Schwinn Speedster. When I was in fifth grade, that bicycle was equipped with side baskets to carry my books, clarinet and lunch to school in Livonia, MI. Later, I added a Mattel Hot Rodder engine which simulated the sounds of a motor cycle. I was the envy of kids in my neighborhood! When I was 17 years old, all of the bicycles in my family’s garage were stolen, including my Schwinn bicycle. Using money I saved from a summer job as a day camp counselor, I purchased a new bicycle: a Raleigh Record 10-speed road bike, which lasted 31 years. Later I replaced that bicycle with more advanced bikes: Fuji ACE and Trek Domane 2.0 road bikes.
I’d estimate that over the past 50 years, I’ve logged at least 25,000 miles of cycling. In addition to hundreds of solo rides, I’ve participated in organized rides sponsored by Team Evesham, located in Evesham Township, NJ. In 1974, I completed 1,000 miles in less than 90 days, which earned me the President’s Physical Fitness Award.
I logged many hours of cycling during my college days at the University of Michigan. As I progressed through the actuarial exams and started a family, rides were getting fewer and far between. I developed a superstition not to ride a bicycle in the spring until after the exam because a colleague of mine at Allstate broke his leg when a car hit him and sent him to the hospital with a broken leg shortly before a spring exam. During the last seventeen years (1999-2015) I have participated in more than 35 charity bike rides and estimate that I’ve raised at least $50,000! The beneficiaries of my rides have included the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (16 rides), the American Cancer Society (9 rides), the Jewish Federation of Men’s Clubs (3 rides), and other national and local charities (i.e., Alex’s Lemonade Stand, ALS Foundation, Livestrong Foundation, Urban Promise, Irish Pub Children’s Foundation, etc.).
One of my most memorable rides took place in Israel in 2010. I participated in The Friends of Arava bike tour (i.e., a five-day, 255 mile ride from Jerusalem to Eilat), and raised more than $5,000 for the Arava Institute of Environmental Studies.
I got reintroduced to cycling on the eve of Rosh Hashanah (i.e., the Jewish New Year) in 1998, a dinner guest/friend of the family asked me if I enjoyed bicycling. When I said yes, she told me about an event sponsored by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society known as the MS150 (i.e., a two-day, 150 mile round trip bike ride between Cherry Hill, NJ and Ocean City, NJ). It sounded intriguing, so I registered for the 1999 ride and joined her cycling team. I trained with them, usually on their rides on the Schuylkill River Trail in Philadelphia. In the process, I learned group-riding skills bicycle maintenance tips, nutrition, strengthening and conditioning. As the years have gone by, I’ve added more charity bike rides. Whenever I ride for a specific cause, I try to find a “pedal partner” (i.e., someone who is either afflicted with the disease or who has succumbed to it) and carry a banner with their name and photo on my ride.
Alan has been riding with Team Evesham since 2012 and he is one of our favorite ride leaders, he has a train conductor’s whistle to let folks know that everyone is “all aboard”. He learned about the team after participating in the Pedal from the Promenade Ride.