Events: Anchor House Ride for the Runaways
(2016) A couple of years ago I was working at a bike shop in New Jersey and a sudden rush of people came in stocking up for something called “Anchor House.” I didn’t give it much thought, thinking it was another summer ride until I noticed the participants plopping down ungodly amounts of nutrition before I began to wonder what the deal was. The event was remarkable in stature, but it slipped from my mind until Sunday morning.
Guess who I was riding with? Unable to find a stunt double for himself, Mike and I decided to attempt Center Road and climb instead of our last time of riding down. We agreed (then broke that agreement) on riding just to experience it. What wound up happening was we rode hard up the one-mile segment, pushing each other each time we passed the other.
But two run-ins with cyclists brought Anchor House back from my memory. Prior to accessing Center Road, we passed a group of three women riders, each adorned with Anchor House cycling jerseys. They led the attack on one of the climbs on Headquarters Road. We would encounter them after we topped out on Rope Walk Road and descended back to Headquarters Road.
The second run-in was toward the end of my trek home. A lone male cyclist was riding his Colnago for a training ride in preparation for Anchor House. We spoke for a spell about what the event held in store for him. He stated he had ridden it for the past eight years, a remarkable number.
Anchor House is a Trenton, NJ,-based service that provides shelter for runaway, homeless, abused, and at-risk youth. It has provided these services since 1978. It services all of New Jersey. With cuts to mental health funding over the years, these services have had to come up with creative ways to raise money. Anchor House does it through an impressive ride.
The Anchor House Ride for Runaways 2016 starts in Manchester, NH, and concludes (as they all do) in Trenton, NJ. It is a distance of roughly 500 miles. Since 2009 the ride has roughly alternately between starting in Virginia and Vermont/ New Hampshire/ New York. The ride proper starts on July 10th and is expected to conclude on July 16th.
In order to cover the average of 75 miles per day, riders get up as early as 5:30am from the event-provided hotels. It is a communal feel with riders encouraged to socialize with one another after the day’s mileage has concluded, while figuring out rooming situations, and organizing like-ability riders to pedal with for the next day. There are sweep riders who can scoop up those having a bad day as well as mechanics who can work on bikes in the field.
While the rider is rewarded with an impressive experience, the true winner is Anchor House. Each rider is required to raise at minimum $750. With over 200 riders registered, those riders are expected to pull in nearly $165,000 toward Anchor House. That is a healthy sum before company contributions happen.
If you feel that amount needs a little help, you can donate to the address below:
Anchor House Foundation
P.O. Box 2357
Trenton, NJ 08607
Perhaps it’s a little too late to register for a 500-mile ride. Sure, go ahead and say the legs just aren’t ready. Next year, though, it wouldn’t be a bad way to see 500 miles of the American countryside by bike.