As the dawn enlightened Doylestown, Pennsylvania on September 16, the green fields and tree-covered hills that would showcase the Philadelphia Honor Ride were revealed in all their beauty. It was a morning of cool temperatures, partly cloudy blue skies and nice, well-paved, dry roads: it was a perfect day for a bike ride!
Hosted by the Project Hero Horsham HUB, the ride brought together more than 180 riders and helped raise more than $40,000 on behalf of our Healing Heroes. The riders departed Central Park in Doylestown and enjoyed scenic treks of 20, 40 and 60 miles along winding roads through the forested countryside suburbs outside of Philadelphia.
“Our team, volunteers and sponsors have done a ton of work to make sure everything goes great today and the weather is the icing on the cake!” said Jeff Olavarria, Honor Ride organizer and leader of the Project Hero Horsham HUB whose tireless efforts were vital to the Philadelphia Honor Ride’s success.
Joined by members of the Project Hero program, Jeff Olavarria promoted the Honor Ride the day before as part of Military Appreciation Day where the Horsham HUB displayed their new Project Hero mobile bike transport trailer, did media interviews and mingled with hundreds of local supporters and members of the Military on historic Market Street in Downtown Philadelphia.
William Santos, an Army Veteran who served 15 years including deployment to Iraq, had been training on weekly 20-mile rides with his Veteran friends who joined him on the Honor Ride and was ready to go. “I feel great!” he said before the ride and expressing more concern for his friends than himself. “I wanted to do the 40 but the guys just wanted to do the 20. I think they’re scared,” he joked. Santos finished strong, flexing his arms proudly as he rode under the start/finish arch.
Veteran riders were also joined by younger riders including 12-year Jesse Knorr of Horsham. The son of Horsham HUB supporter Mike Knorr, Jesse had been training by riding 12- to 15- mile rides inspired and coached by his dad, which Jesse described as being “not to the satisfaction of my coach,” he said. Despite his potential lack of preparation, Jesse was ready to conquer the 40-mile route. “Yes, I’m ready to go for the 40!” he said.
Local sponsors included Bimbo Bakeries, P&L Associates, Trek Stores of Doylestown and Warminster, BDP International, Inc., KJ Doors, Sabre Systems and Deaf Bunnies Band. Local volunteer and other support was also provided by Independence Blue Cross, Fast Signs of Willow Grove, Panera Bread and Station Tap House.
The ride was also a chance for Lisa and Tom Panzer to support our Veterans. “It’s awesome and a great day for a ride,” Lisa said before the start of their 40-mile journey. Lisa and Tom, who serves as the Bucks County Controller, live in nearby Warminster and were joined in the event’s most colorful kits by more than a dozen members of their cycling team, Team OX. “It’s a great cause and we’re glad to be here,” said Tom.
Visit the Project Hero website at www.projecthero.org for more photos from the Philadelphia Honor Ride.
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