Friday, 30 December 2011 00:00
The relatively good life many of us on Long Island lead can often be taken for granted. Raising funds for charitable causes is one great way to keep life’s priorities in perspective. So it was for a group of cyclists, both present and past Long Island residents, who set out this past summer for a European “Ride of a Lifetime.”
Led and inspired by Manhasset resident Carl Pate, a dedicated local rider and ever present volunteer in the community, the good fortune of having the means for such a trip was not to be lost on this group. Long in the making, particularly when considering all the years of simply “talking it up,” detailed route planning and other travel logistics eventually took hold in early Spring of 2011 and a 16 stage cycling adventure through France, Spain and Portugal, covering nearly 1,000 miles finally came to life. Realizing that a little extra motivation might serve well for getting up and over the mighty Pyrenees, Mr. Pate initiated a fundraising effort aptly named “Cycle4Life” to benefit St. Baldrick’s Foundation, an organization that provides funding for the research of cures for childhood cancers.
In addition to Mr. Pate, the group consisted of local residents Bob Henrickson of Manhasset, Marc Littman of Port Washington, Richie Pate and Tom Kreuzer both of Baldwin, Lou Vella of Queens and Vincenzo Santeramo, formerly from Rockville Center and now in White Plains. Rounding out the team was Paul Bennett, an Australia native and former Port Washington resident who has since settled in the South of France. Mr. Bennett and companion Angela Dooley provided critical on-location planning and support leading up to and throughout the trip.
The riders began their venture in the Languedoc region of Southern France. Their route took them through the French countryside and over the Pyrenees covering the Basque regions of both France and Spain. Their path continued across Spain to Santiago de Compostela tracking much of the popular Way of St. James pilgrimage and ending with stops through the coastal cities of Tomino and Vigo. Each day’s ride started with an inspirational dedication to a friend or family member, some who have won the battle with cancer, others who lost and yet others still in the fight.
The riders are extremely grateful to those who gave support throughout the trip, in particular all the donors whose contributions to date have exceeded $17,500. The Cycle 4 Life donor page remains open through the end of December. For anyone interested in contributing or simply experiencing more about the trip, please visit the St. Baldrick’s website at www.stbaldricks.org/teams/cycle4life.