120 bicyclists ride to battle poverty during Friend's Brake the Cycle of Poverty benefit ride in Kutztown

Photo by Hilda Hynes Monroe Burger, Christine Rosenberger, Mark Rosenberger, Bill Parker rode in the 5th annual Brake the Cycle benefit ride.
Photo by Hilda Hynes Bill Riedel, Faith Riedel, Mark Gangewere after riding in the 5th annual Brake the Cycle of Poverty benefit ride on Aug. 9.

More than 120 bicyclists rode to end poverty during Friend, Inc. Community Services’ 5th annual Brake the Cycle of Poverty benefit bike ride Saturday, Aug. 9.

Lining up at Kutztown University in front of Keystone Hall, riders headed out just after 8am to begin a 10, 25, 33, or 62 mile biking excursion.

Friend, Inc. Community Service is a multi-service agency serving Northeastern Berks County. Offering services such as a food pantry, career link, resume building, money management services and emergency financial assistance to families in need.

“Fundraising is crucial to the organization’s ability to continue helping the public,” says Laura Reichart, case manager for Friend, Inc. This is why growing support for the bike benefit is so important. Since its first year the number of participants has increased steadily with this year’s numbers totaling more than 120 riders.

Participating riders not only get the benefit of knowing they have helped those in need but also get to tour the beautiful downtown and rural landscape that is the Kutztown Area along the way. Enjoying a beautiful day with barely a cloud in the sky the event went off without a hitch. Several riders upon returning spoke of how well marked the route was.

“High five to Kevin Claypoole, the ride coordinator, the ride was just excellent,” Dan Pavelik who rode for Deka, one of the many sponsors for the event.

Walter Lemanek, upon returning from the 33 mile route, stated, “It was absolutely fabulous, the route was so beautifully marked, I didn’t get lost once!”

This was Lemanek’s third year participating as was the case for many of the riders who return year after year for what they call one of the best rides they make all year.

Mark Gangewere, “It is one of my favorite rides every year, it is so well marked and planned, so well supported and just a highlight for everybody.”

For those however who were taking the ride for the first time, what truly impressed them was the added bonus of some of the stops along the way.

Christine Rosenberger, who rode with her husband Mark Rosenberger and friends Monroe Burger and Bill Parker, took most away from the stop at the historic one-room school house.

“Many times riders will blow off the last stop in a push for the finish line but what a treat Mr. and Mrs. Fox were over at the old school house. The tour was lovely and the pair are so well informed on the school’s rich history. I will come back just for that.”

Rosenburger’s friend Monroe Berger chimed in while loading his bike into the car, “And Mrs. Fox serves the best peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in town.”

The day was called a huge success by all and with such strong sponsorship final tallies should show the event will do much to help many.

Friend, Inc. would like to thank all those who came out in support of the event and the many volunteers who help pull everything together, with extra special thanks to the sponsors who have shown their support time and time again.