With a goal to make the 3rd Annual Bike4Chai a million-dollar ride, more than 200 elite cyclists are gearing up for this two-day, two-state fundraising tour that benefits Chai Lifeline’s Camp Simcha and Camp Simcha Special, two medically supervised overnight camps for seriously ill children. Riders and sponsors still are being sought for the 150-mile event, which will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 8 and 9.
Bike4Chai begins at The Berkeley hotel in Asbury Park, and travels from the beautiful beaches of the Jersey Shore, through scenic roads and mountains with breathtaking views, and ends at Camp Simcha in Glen Spey. Cyclists can choose from 50-, 75- or 100-mile rides on the first day. After an overnight at a luxury hotel, they ride the remaining 50 miles to the camp, for a celebration with the kids. Riders post real-time tour updates at twitter.com/chai_lifeline.
“This is an incredibly rewarding, challenging and life-changing experience,” said cyclist Elliot Zaks, who has participated in and helped organize Bike4Chai since its inception. “Bike4Chai started as a small group of professionals, mainly from New York and New Jersey. Today the event includes hundreds of riders from six states and as far away as Quebec and Israel. In every case, we are dedicated to supporting Camp Simcha and Camp Simcha Special, which offer sick children an extraordinary summer experience of fun, friendship and life-long memories.”
Chai Lifeline is an international non-profit organization. Its Camp Simcha and Camp Simcha Special are designed to meet the medical and social needs of children and teens with cancer and other serious illnesses. The camps provide a full array of traditional activities, from archery to water activities, along with special events such as helicopter rides and concerts, to more than 400 kids. A state-of-the-art medical center, dedicated medical team, and specially-trained counselors ensure that even children on chemotherapy can enjoy two weeks of uninterrupted fun. Campers return home enriched by their experiences, with happy memories and new friends to help them through the rough patches in their lives.
“These kids are the motivation behind every mile we bike and every dollar we raise,” Zaks said. “In 2010, 40 cyclists brought in $200,000 for the first Bike4Chai event. Last year, 90 riders raised $550,000. Already in 2012, 202 registered riders have nearly $550,000 in commitments. Bike4Chai has evolved at a pace that none of us expected, and we are thrilled to have more than doubled the number of participants for 2012. This is on pace to be our first $1 million event.”
Zaks, a commercial real estate executive, himself has raised nearly $13,000 toward the 2012 event. Additionally, his company, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services (MCRES) of Lakewood, is among dozens of Bike4Chai sponsors. Others include Bank Hapoalim New York, Beech Street Capital, The Berkeley Hotel, Bike Blade & Ball, Brielle Cyclery, CH Cycles, Chicago Bancorp, Clif Bar and Company, FCXM, Four Corners Kosher Bagel & Café, Jeunesse wines, The Lakewood Scoop, Leitner Group Inc., MedWaste Management LLC, Meridian Capital Group LLC, New York Community Bank, The Parkoff Organization, RoadID, Roy’s Sheepshead Cycle, SecurAssure, Senior Planning Services, South Shore Bicycle, Sovereign Bank, Star Pediatric Home Care Agency, and Sunrise Bootcamp.
To get involved as a rider or sponsor, visit the Chai Lifeline website at http://www.chailifeline.org. To learn more about the camps and their tuition-free programs, visit www.campsimcha.org.