On Tuesday June 22nd at 8:00 a.m., cyclists will leave West Chester Pennsylvania for a
465 mile trip through 7 counties in Pennsylvania and 5 counties in New York, and arrive at the Canadian border in Ogdensburg New York on the afternoon of June 26th. The ride will benefit SPCAs and other animal rescue organizations located along the route.
In what started as an idea to ride a bike to the Canadian border, Mike Van Ryn and Viktor Ohnjec, members of the West Chester Cycling Club cycled the same route in late June 2009. They didn’t plan to make the ride a charity event but Mike’s brother offered to contribute $1 per mile to the Chester County SPCA. From that point forward the ride took on a life of its own. Word spread to the local community and donations started to come in.
By September, the Chester County SPCA was presented with checks totaling over $2000 from the money collected on behalf of the ride.
Pedaling4Paws became well documented as local newspapers contacted the riders for articles about the journey. In addition to the articles, riders regularly posted pictures and comments to a blog to share the days events with followers. The blog and the various media coverage can be viewed at:
This year the ride is an official charitable event with all proceeds going directly to local SPCAs on the route. With the help of online donation capabilities from those local SPCA/shelters, promotion of the event by local groups and participation in the ride by members of local bicycle clubs, the 2010 ride expects to draw significantly more riders and donations. The theme “Ride Locally, Donate Locally, Benefit Locally” describes the ride philosophy well.
Says Van Ryn, “In 2009 we did not have the infrastructure to effectively manage the contributions that we received and therefore relied on my brother to collect and distribute the funds locally. Not so this year.” With the help of event organizer, Ellen Zadoff, this year’s ride will greatly increase awareness, grow through sponsorship – both at a corporate level and through additional individual donations – and benefit more SPCAs/shelters.
Viktor Ohnjec is optimistic, “The support from each of the local communities we contacted has been very encouraging and we feel Pedaling4Paws will continue to grow as this ride gains popularity and support.”
Through word of mouth, the Pedaling4Paws organizers have been approached by other cyclists, both in PA and NY, who have expressed interest in riding all or portions of the ride. Says Ohnjec, “We have contacts with local cycling clubs along our route and businesses but recognize that we can always do more.”
For more information, contact:
Ellen Zadoff, 610-235-9225 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Viktor Ohnjec, 610-918-2230 or email@example.com
Mike Van Ryn, 610-653-1226 or firstname.lastname@example.org