Last Saturday, 400 riders of all abilities and united as "never forget" brothers and sisters commemorated first responders killed in action on the 11th annual Springfield, MA, Ride to Remember (R2R) that covered 72 miles through Western Massachusetts as shown shown below.
The heart and soul of R2R: retired Springfield Police Sergeant John Delaney, who was first on scene after two fellow officers were shot dead in their patrol cars years ago. John wears and lives "never forget", and with his enthusiastic and smart R2R team, puts together an extraordinarily well organized ride that includes police escort from beginning to end and mandatory rest stops manned by energetic R2R volunteers of all ages.
Personally, I had the outstanding honor to provide Breitz!-made R2R cycling wear to more than 100 riders. The best thing about that: I loved hearing from riders that the jerseys and shorts were the best they'd ever worn. The funniest thing: the guy with me on the right below, Dean, said the shorts I gave him for free when I saw he was going to ride in unpadded baggy short sad those shorts saved his..you get the idea - and you see his smile!
Finally, my biggest thrill of the day was meeting and riding with Rich, shown in the 3 pictures below, who had texted me before the ride that he - never a smoker - had been recently diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. I asked him to find me, which he did. We then pedaled quite a few miles together until he had to jump off the route near home to join his family for a milestone birthday party. Rich, you were the toughest rider out there, and I greatly appreciated your role model "fearless of death" attitude punctuated by a terrific smile!
Thanks very much to John Delaney and his team, scores of police officers along the way and all the riders and dedicated volunteers who made R2R 2023 wildly successful - and FUN! Along with you, I'm already looking forward to R2R 2024!