On Friday morning, 500 bikers will embark on their 80-mile journey for the 22nd annual Ride for Missing Children – CNY, with the mission of “Making our children safer … One child at a time.”
Beginning in Oneida and ending in New Hartford, making their way through many local communities in between, riders will raise awareness and spread hope of bringing missing and exploited children home safe.
In 1995, seven men rode their bicycles from Utica to Washington, D.C. – called Sara’s Ride in honor of Sara Ann Wood – on the first National Missing Children’s Day. Two years later, 43 bikers were inspired to ride 100 miles from Albany to Utica, and thus the Ride for Missing Children was born. In the 21 years since, the ride has grown to 500 bikers, 150 volunteers, 55 benefactors, dozens of family members of missing children, and thousands of spectators and supporters along the way.
Each rider is tasked with fundraising $500 each – although many go well beyond that goal – and all of the funds raised go toward prevention education, making posters to help bring missing children home, counseling for recovered children, and more.
At 7:50 a.m. Friday, riders will take off from New York State Police Troop D headquarters in Oneida for the 22nd annual ride. Their stops throughout the day will be at Staley Upper Elementary School in Rome, Harts Hill Elementary School in Whitesboro, General Herkimer Elementary School in Utica, and Barringer Road Elementary School in Ilion, to visit with children and spread their message.
After that, brief stops will be at Mohawk Valley Community College and St. Luke’s, and the ride will finish at the New Hartford Recreation Center. The local community is invited to stop by the rec center to welcome the riders home with a Closing Ceremony with music and food.
The state Department of Transportation is encouraging drivers to use caution if they'll be traveling along the ride route.
If you’re interested in seeing riders along the course on Friday, here’s where you can find them (mobile users click here):