When Hurricane Sandy hit this year, it devastated hundreds of homes, caused scores of deaths, and rendered millions of people without a place to live.
Thousands of New Yorkers responded spontaneously by picking up shovels, donning facemasks and assisting their neighbors.
Jonscott Turco, Ray Alba, and Jason Gallacher were not unlike many volunteers who traveled out to the far shores of New York, to Staten Island, the Far Rockaways in Queens, and to Brooklyn to move sand, clear broken homes, bring food and clothing to residents and provide psychological counseling.
“The first few days following the storm, it was people digging out---literally and emotionally. It was clear this was going to take some significant effort”, said Turco.
But what makes these organizers different is that they are all cyclists. They had all raced in Central Park or participated in triathlons, and were surprised to learn that all three had been working hard since the aftermath of the storm to help people in need.
While Turco worked with organizers of NY Runners in Support of Staten Island, and Guyon Rescue, Alba started the Hurricane Sandy Relief Volunteer Group, and Gallacher spontaneously took 100 cyclists out to the Rockaways.
In an outpouring of sympathy and energy, all three worked tirelessly over the month following the storm to help bring things back to normal.
But it soon became clear that the digging out was just the beginning: more sustained efforts over the long term would be necessary to help bring these communities back to normal.
And they wanted to get more cyclists involved in a tangible way.
Turco reached out to Ray to discuss ways to better engage the New York cycling community. Gallacher joined the group soon thereafter.
So they started “Ride4NY,” an organization that is about people who care but who are also cyclists. Ride4NJ has been added to target New Jersey residents in need.
Then came the idea, to develop a series of rides to benefit those hit by the storm.
The first ride is to take place on December 15, a fundraiser for families in hard hit areas.
By joining Ride4NY and Ride4NJ we can continue to deliver the most effective and caring services to New Yorkers and New Jerseyans in need.