SpokerRide Moves to Virtual Format in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic
Event will still benefit American Cancer Society, Volunteer Transportation Center
SACKETS HARBOR, N.Y. – North Country Against Cancer, organizer of the annual SpokerRide, has announced the ride will switch from an in-person, one-day event to a virtual ride this year. The move is in response to the Coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic and will only be for this year’s event, which will mark its 18th year.
“With all the uncertainty around the COVID-19 restrictions and following the New York State Department of Health and local government guidelines, trying to conduct the ride – even with a staggered start – was just too difficult,” said organizer Jeff Wood. “Safety to our riders and volunteers is always our priority.”
Participation in the ride – originally scheduled for Saturday, July 25 – will be open Monday, June 22, through Monday, Aug. 31. The event – which is one the North Country’s premier bike races – will again offer three courses: a 30-mile (beginner/intermediate) course, 50-mile (advanced) course, and novice 10-mile fun course available for those riders that want to participate but not race. All three courses will start and end in Sackets Harbor. Those who want to participate will be able to do so at their leisure until Aug. 31, when timings recorded through verified apps like Strava or MapMyRide will be due to organizers for review.
While the SpokerRide typically features an awards ceremony immediately following the ride but, given the change in format this year, that has been canceled. Instead, awards for the intermediate and advanced courses for fastest in each age/sex category will be presented upon review of submitted timings. And, Mr. Wood said he also has something in mind for participants this year.
“While the ride is going to be virtual, we still want to make it fun and memorable for our supporters,” said Mr. Wood. “If you want to log our ride on Strava or MapMyRide you are welcome to. However, we will also provide participation medals for any riders that use the official course as a token of our appreciation for supporting the organizations that benefit from the monies raised.”
Since participants in the annual SpokerRide are not all from the immediate area, with some coming from Syracuse and points beyond, Mr. Wood said those not residing locally have an alternative for the event’s plotted course.
“We understand that not everyone may want to travel to Sackets Harbor,” he said, “so ride a comparable distance and we’ll give you credit for your ride.” In light of the change in format this year and because there will be no meal provided for participants, the cost of registration for the 18th Annual SpokerRide will be reduced from $40 per person to $35. The event is also a designated Operation Yellow Ribbon event, with those who are active duty members of the military or veterans being able to register for $30.
In an effort to keep expenses down – as the SpokerRide is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life and for rides to cancer treatment provided by the Volunteer Transportation Center, Inc. – T-shirts will not be included in the cost of registration. Traditionally, T-shirts are included for those who would register three weeks in advance of the event. However, this year, participants will be able to purchase a special edition commemorative T-shirt when submitting their registration.
“The committee really wanted to do something this year – even if it’s a virtual ride – as the need for services by the Volunteer Transportation Center and the American Cancer Society has not gone away – if anything, the need is greater than ever,” said Mr. Wood. “We hope that you can consider donating and riding a virtual race to help us provide the much needed services that these organizations provide.”
Last year, the event saw 160 individuals participate, raising more than $12,500 for the two non-profit organizations.
“Although we won’t be able to see each other in person this year,” said Mr. Wood, “we hope that as many of those that have participated in past SpokerRides will be able to donate and ride virtually this year, and we look forward to an ever bigger event in 2021.”
ABOUT THE SPOKERRIDE Since its inception, the SpokerRide has raised more than $148,500 through sponsorship and through the participation of more than 2,500 riders for organizations providing support to those living with cancer, seeing through the vision of North Country Against Cancer, a group of survivors and supporters touched by cancer and willing to give back to those that are fighting this disease.
Those interested in sponsoring or participating this year’s SpokerRide may visit www.spokerride.net. Registration may be completed on the website or by printing the registration form, completing it and sending it with payment to Volunteer Transportation Center , 24685 State Route 37, Watertown, N.Y. 13601.