Cycling For A Good Cause

Participants riding in Tour de Simcha last year. (Photo provided)

The Tour de Simcha will take place on July 16, starting in New Jersey, where more than 200 women (including two from Baltimore) will ride 100 miles. Tour de Simcha is an annual event which started in 2012 and is in it’s eighth year. It benefits Chai Lifeline, the “international children’s health support network which provides emotional, social, and financial support to children with serious illness and their families.”

The event was originally a metric century (62 miles), but Tour de Simcha riders will have the option to take part in a century ride (100 miles) for the first time. There will also be alternative routes based on level of difficulty. Although cyclists enjoy the physical challenge, they are all participating for different reasons.

“I’m very passionate about the organization. And I always like to talk about the work that we do, because I think it’s important. And it’s incredible for people to know,” said Mindy Tyner, director of Tour de Simcha.

The event will start in Woodbridge, New Jersey, where participants will ride through scenic, rolling hills until they reach “The World’s Greatest Finish Line.” During the ride there will be rest stops every 15 miles, and music to keep riders motivated as well as other entertainment. “The World’s Greatest Finish Line” is the entrance gate to Camp Simcha Special, which is Chai Lifeline’s overnight camp for children with medical challenges and chronic illnesses located in Glen Spey, New York. Once the cyclists enter the camp, they will be greeted by campers. These campers are too familiar with needing wheelchairs, respirators and other medical equipment to survive. Others that will attend include hundreds of family and staff who will help celebrate.

Esther Ehrman (Photo provided)

“The women of Tour de Simcha are an inspiration to all of us. With every mile they ride, they help Chai Lifeline continue to fulfill its mission, providing critical support to thousands of children facing life-threatening and lifelong illness and their families” said Rabbi Simcha Scholar, Chai Lifeline’s chief executive officer.

“This is my first time participating in Tour de Simcha,” said Esther Ehrman, a Pikesville mother of four. “My sister did Tour de Simcha last year and she was my inspiration to join this year. I run a camp for young special needs children, so I feel very connected to the cause. When I’m practicing, I think of my boarding family that I stayed with before I got married and how they lovingly cared for their child with spina bifida. I think of how bravely and courageously the Camp Simcha campers are, they are truly heroes. I’m so happy I’m able to do something for Chai Lifeline their families and bring smiles to the campers.”

Another participant is Devora Adler of Baltimore. This will be her sixth year going to the event. Devora is so motivated that she decided to get back on the bike three months after giving birth to her sixth child. The whole Adler family is passionate about giving back to the community, and her husband is one of her biggest supporters. He helps her train and also tags along to the event as an EMT, just in case anything happens to the participants.

A fond memory that keeps Devora motivated was from a child a few years back. “She wrote this song, and she came at night, the night before the ride, [and her song said] ‘when you can’t pedal with your legs pedal with your heart.’” Seeing the children before the ride and how appreciative they are makes everything matter, Devora explained. Devora believes that it is a “very worthy cause to get involved in.”

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