Lifecycles Concludes Fourth Season
Sometimes the wide-open road ahead can look impossible to conquer, but the leaders at Lifecycles are all about equipping students to rise to meet whatever challenges may arise. Founded by Lee DeRemer, the nonprofit mentoring program is committed to building young men of character through bicycling and outdoor adventures. One of the ways Lifecycles accomplishes that is through an annual summer challenge ride, and this year was the first time that the program offered two trips.
The first summer journey, dubbed the Extreme Challenge Ride, was designed for Lifecycles participants ready for an advanced level of riding. A group of 10 teenage boys and six adult leaders spent one week navigating 330 miles from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C., covering more than 60 miles each day and taking in beautiful scenery along the Great Allegheny Passage.
A second trip later in the summer to White Sulfur Springs in Bedford was designed as more of a camping trip with daily rides, rather than a trek from one destination to another. Heavy rainfall during that week added to the normal challenges attached to camping and riding. "It rained almost every day, but we just kept reminding the boys every day that attitude is everything," DeRemer recalled.
In addition to offering two summer rides, the 2018 Lifecycles season featured the introduction of a new weekly riding site that met at Garden Spot Village, 433 S. Kinzer Ave., New Holland. Albert Vega, who had volunteered as a leader for the weekly rides on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Marietta and Landisville, approached DeRemer with the idea of starting another site in the eastern part of the county. "My truck was always full going up to Marietta, and I told Lee that it would be cool to expand," Vega recalled. "He asked if I'd be willing to lead it, so I began recruiting leaders."
Vega said that is especially amazing to see boys who start out saying that something is too hard go on to conquer the particular ride or obstacle. "We climbed for two days (during the Extreme Challenge Ride), and when we got to mile marker zero in D.C., all the boys were saying, 'We accomplished it!'" Vega said. "That was really neat, and I love watching the boys see things they'd probably never see unless they were off the grid."
The Garden Spot site led rides on Wednesday evenings from April through November, but Vega said the schedule for 2019 is still in the works. Individuals interested in participating at any of the sites may visit http://www.lifecyclesteam.org to learn more. "The doors are always open," DeRemer stated.
Rides take place on a weekly basis with extra rides on Saturdays from time to time. Bicycles and helmets are provided, along with a meal. Participation is free and open to boys ages 12 to 18. Following a holiday break, Lifecycles will resume in January with its indoor program on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at Rainbow's End Youth Services (REYS), 105 Fairview Ave., Mount Joy.
As Lifecycles wrapped up its fourth year of operations, DeRemer said that thus far the organization has tracked a total of more than 77,000 miles ridden - equivalent to more than three times around the planet - and over 22,000 volunteer hours and 10,000 meals served. "I'm just floored by this, and we're already talking about year five," shared DeRemer.
In 2019, Lifecycles plans to implement a teenage bicycling safety certification for those interested. "We have been educating them but wanted to be able to give an official certification," DeRemer explained. It will allow participants to take a test and become certified through a practicum experience. The summer Extreme Challenge Ride will cover 400 miles from Lancaster to Boston. "If you're really ready, we'll give you an experience you won't forget," said DeRemer.
To inquire about volunteering at any of the locations, readers may email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 717-586-2511. "We always love to have new volunteers of any age and riding ability," remarked DeRemer.