Riding for the Fight

Bikers gather to take part in a past year’s Ride for the Kids in Utica

Bikers gather to take part in a past year’s Ride for the Kids in Utica

Utica Ride for Kids is helping to eliminate childhood brain tumors.

By Sarah Sadler  |  Photography by Jamie Farley

For those who are passionate about not only motorcycling, but supporting a great cause, look no further. The Utica Ride for Kids is an opportunity to explore the area, while raising funds for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.

The Ride for Kids is a national motorcycle series ride that is comprised of 40 cities throughout the country. The national ride was initiated in 1984, with the hope that the money raised would expand medical research for children with brain tumors. As a result of motorcyclists’ efforts, Ride for Kids is one of the world’s largest non-governmental funders of pediatric brain research. Eighty-seven percent of the funds raised at all of the rides nationally go directly toward medical research.

“Children from ages 4 to 24, and all ages in between, look forward to the ride each year,” Task Force Manager and Media Coordinator Ruby Pedde said. “They are considered our star-kids. They are so excited and happy because they get the chance to ride on the motorcycles. These kids are very brave. It’s amazing how wonderful their outlook is. The importance of this ride is to put the money into the research so that no other child has to go through this.”

Differing from the past, the two-hour ride starts in Deerfield and loops back to its starting point. The ride encompasses both Herkimer and Mohawk county within that time.

The Utica Ride for Kids has had more than 500 motorcyclists volunteer their time within the past 12 years. “Cyclists will find any reason to ride, but especially when it’s for a good cause,” Pedde said. “It’s a friendly competition between the motorcyclist clubs and teams to see who raises the most money. A lot of the motorcyclists ride because they don’t want to see these children go through this.”

As inspiration for the ride, participants can earn a collectible T-shirt along with various other prizes, depending on how much money they raise. There will also be a drawing for the chance to win a Honda motorcycle at the end of the race.

“Personally, I volunteer because 12 years ago I lost my 4-year-old nephew to a brain tumor. That’s why I do it. I ride for Zachary,” Pedde said.

If you’re looking to support this cause, the Utica Ride for Kids kicks off at 10 a.m. on Sunday, July 21, starting at the Deerfield Volunteer Department, rain or shine. The early bird rate per motorcycle is $40 and walk-up is $50, including a ticket for the drawing. Be sure to register online, as registration will be open until the Friday before the event.

IF YOU GO 

WHAT: Utica Ride for Kids

WHEN: On-site registration at 8 a.m., ride begins at 10 a.m., Sunday, July 21

WHERE: Deerfield Volunteer Fire Dept., 5476 Trenton Road, Deerfield

COST: $40, early bird rate (includes one ticket for the prize drawing); $50 walk-up fee per bike; all participants receive free beverages, light breakfast and lunch

INFO: Call 800-253-6530, email rideforkids@rideforkids.org or Ruby Pedde at rpedde@twcny.rr.com and visit curethekids.org.

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