Helping Haitians Help Haitians

2022 Ride - October 10-14 

Ride Starts on Monday at 9:00!

Each day, energy and time permitting, we will post a brief description of the day's ride here.  We will leave the description of the overall ride at the bottom, and, of course, you can find the donate button at the bottom of the page, or the top right of any page.

We're really excited to start our ride, and are are motivated by the people of Haiti who never give up, by Outreach to Haiti staff and volunteers, and by all the people who have donated to the bike ride and who have expressed their support! Our friends and family have been very generous with donations, and this, along with the great work Outreach to Haiti does to help people who are in great need to help themselves motivates us to do this ride. We’re also happy that we can get back to starting our ride in Maine.

More later!

October 10 - Day 1

Today is a special day, not just because we are starting our ride. In addition to Steve Cuddy and me (Tom Campbell) returning from last year’s ride, Ron Paine is back on the ride after a year off to heal from an injury. Ron has been a regular on this ride, and while he supported the ride last year, we’re glad that he is riding. Emily Paine (Ron’s daughter) is also joining us for today and tomorrow. Emily rode with us in the past, and she did the entire ride in 2019. What also makes the day special is that Jim Hubert is riding with us. Jim is turning 80 this month and will be riding "80 for Haiti" this week. Today, he is joining us for the first 40 miles of our ride and will ride 40 miles more on Thursday.

We are very pleased and blessed to have Dorothy Paine as a huge part of the ride. She will be providing support for the entire week. Thank you, Dorothy – we can’t do this without you!

We started right at 9 am, and rode a total of 78.7 miles, starting in Kittery ME and finishing in Concord MA. Here we are just before heading out. We had pretty good weather. It was in the high 40’s when we started, and it got up into the 50’s. It was cloudy and a little windy at times, but the sun came out. Everyone had the right gear for themselves, so we all felt comfortable. We did get some drizzles during the ride, and of course the rain got heavy during the last 2 miles of the day (it always seems to work that way!). Here is a photo of the five riders at the start of the ride - Emily, Ron, Tom, Jim, and Steve:

                    

If you zoom in, you can see Jim’s “80 for Haiti” tee shirt. He received many photos from his children and grandchildren wearing similar tee shirts, wishing him well on the ride.

We also received well-wishes from the best neighbors we’ve ever had – before we left for Maine on Sunday, we were greeted at church by this wonderful chalk drawing:

                   

Note the details that got my hair just right. Thanks Liz, Matt, Colin, and Liam!

The ride took us on a drawbridge over the Piscataqua River into New Hampshire, through Portsmouth, along the NH coast, and through Hampton Beach. This is a very scenic ride.

                        

      Piscataqua River                                                    Sagamore Creek    

After stopping at the 21-mile mark (thanks Dorothy and Mary Ann!), we headed west along the north shore of the Merrimack River. This was a new route, and the first part of it was very scenic (see below).

                        

Unfortunately, some of the streets were narrow and there was quite a bit of traffic, but we made our way through it. At one point, we had to take a detour due to a bridge being out, and this added about 3 miles. We stopped for another break at what was supposed to be the 40 miles mark, and Jim finished his day at 43 miles – nicely done, Jim! He will join us on Thursday and ride the remaining 37 miles to make his “80 for Haiti”.

Here we are “tailgating”, along with a pircture of Ron and Emily relaxing during an earlier break:

                       

We eventually crossed the Merrimack River and made it to the Bruce Freedman Trail for the last 15 miles of the day. We had to stop briefly for a flat (me), but with Ron’s help, we changed the tire in record time (for us). The trail is in great shape, and was recently extended over Rte. 2 in Concord, MA. This allowed us to avoid what is a very busy rotary. We arrived at the hotel in Concord MA at around 4:30 - safe and happy. A long, but successful ride.

Tomorrow we are riding to Warwick RI, along three different bike trails, as well as a stretch along the Providence Harbor. Stay tuned!

October 11 - Day 2

We started a few minutes early - around 8:45 with four riders. A very cold morning – 37 degrees but sunny, and so the temperatures went up to the mid-60s by afternoon. We started in Concord MA and rode into Rhode Island (about 66 miles), riding on three different bike trails. We are enjoying the ride but are finding it challenging.

Here we are just before leaving the hotel in Concord (Emily, Tom, Ron, and Steve):

     

The ride took us through back roads south of Concord. The roads were up and down hills, with some traffic. The first trail we rode was the Upper Charles Trail in Holliston MA. We started that trail at mile 20, right after our first break (thank Dorothy!). This is a nice trail, most of it is crushed gravel, but hard enough to ride our road bike on, and the last few miles were paved. This gave us a break from the traffic and allowed us to ride at a bit more leisurely pace. We encountered many people walking (lots of dogs), so it seems like a very active trail. What a great resource for the folks in that area!

            

We then made our way into RI on a very busy Rte 126 and we headed towards the Blackstone River Trail. But first Dorothy met us again – this time at the head of the trail with a restock of drinks, and sandwiches. The trail runs through several towns in RI – Woonsocket, Cumberland, and Lincoln – and is right between the river and railroad tracks. The trail is paved and was a very nice ride. Steve commented that if felt like we were going downhill the whole way. I recall riding this trail in 2019 and noting that it was very bumpy from tree roots in some areas. Fortunately, those areas have been repaired in the last three years. I hope to get a chance to ride this trail again!

 

                

Starting off on the Blackstone River Trail

                  
     Two different waterfalls on the Blackstone River

After we left the trail, we continued our way to Providence, along city streets marked as bike trails. This was a much better ride than in past years. This took us to the Providence Harbor area (also called India Point Park). Dorothy was there to take a few pictures, and we got to say hi again.

A few photos from Indian Point Park:

     
 

We made our way along the streets of Providence to the last trail. The city did a good job of making the street cycle friendly, at least for part of our ride, and we took advantage of that. We crossed the Providence River on the recently finished Michael S Van Leesten Memorial Bridge, a pedestrian and bike only bridge. Very nice!

After we left the bike friendly route to make our way to the third trail, we encountered very busy streets. Lots of cars and school buses, and our final turn required us to make a left turn. At that point the traffic was moving more freely, so we were forced to pull off to the right and wait for the crosswalk light to let us cross. A little stressful, but we made it to the next trail and rode the first 6 miles of the Washington Secondary Trail into Warwick. Another nice trail - it is also paved. Our hotel was a short distance from that point. We are looking forward to riding the remaining 13.5 miles on this trail tomorrow.

Total distance today - 66.7 miles.

After the ride, Emily left us to return home and to work. Thanks Emily - we will miss you the rest of the way!

Tomorrow we are riding to the house of our good friends, the Huberts, in East Hampton CT, along the rest of the Washington Secondary Trail and parts of the Airline Trail (and a couple of hills). Stay tuned!

October 12 - Day 3

We started even earlier today – around 8:30 with three riders. The weather was much warmer and sunnier today – mid-50s at the start going up to the low 70’s in the afternoon. But it felt cooler on the shaded bike paths and back roads. Today’s ride started in Warwick RI and we headed to East Hampton, CT, about 71 miles. We had 3 riders today – Emily left after yesterday’s ride – someone has to work!

Here we are leaving the hotel in Warwick (Tom, Ron, and Steve):

     

We started back on the Washington Secondary Trail for the first 13.5 miles. It was uphill, but the grade was low (it is a converted rail line), so very rideable. This part of the trail was more scenic than the section we rode yesterday.

      On the trail, over the Pawtuxet River

We took our first break once we got off that trail, and Dorothy met us at the Summitt General Store in Greene RI. You can see from the photos that it is an old-time general store – the only real one in RI (or so the sign says).

We then took Routes 117 and 14 into Connecticut


These were rural roads – some farms and shaded (which made it cooler), winding, and up and down hills. This was a welcome change from the trail, allowing us to sprint downhill and climb uphill. It was fun for a while, until it got much hillier. There were several steep hills, which made the ride very challenging (to say the least!). After another break, we rode miles 30-45 – mostly on Rte 6. This stretch was especially difficult, but we were determined – we were thinking about the people of Haiti and their hardships. This took us to the Airline Trail in Windham CT.

      

    Riding on Rte. 6 (with foliage)                   Signage on the Airline Trail

I’m going to repeat a bit of trivia from a few years ago - the Airline Trail is so named because the designers were looking for the most direct route for trains to get from New York to Boston, and they dropped an "air line" on a map. The trail is mostly unpaved, but rideable on road bikes. It is paved from Windham through Willimantic, including a stretch through downtown Willimantic and the street along the Frog Bridge.

             

After Willimantic, the trail is unpaved, and starts with a slight uphill grade, followed by a downhill stretch. Along the way, we met Dorothy for one last break – we were running low on water and energy!

We arrived at the Hubert’s house, who provided a wonderful meal and great hospitality.

Total distance today - 71.7 miles. 

Tomorrow we are riding to St. Patrick Cathedral in Norwich, then along southern CT to St. Mark’s in Westbrook. And of course, Jim is going to ride the second leg of his "80 for Haiti".

We are expecting good temperatures but some rain – maybe heavy. So, the adventure continues. Stay tuned!

October 13 - Day 4

Joining Ron, Steve, and Tom for today's ride was Jim Hubert, who was riding the second segment of his “80 for Haiti”. We scheduled today’s start for 8:00 to get to the Cathedral in Norwich in time to meet the folks there. While it rained overnight, we lucked out with the weather – in the 60’s all day. We encountered a few showers during the day but avoided the heavy rain that came after we finished the ride.

Here we are at the start - (l to r) Tom, Ron, Steve, and Jim:

   

Most of the first 10 miles were on the Airline Trail. The overnight rain made the trail very gritty, resulting in very dirty bikes and biking clothes! This slowed us down a bit. The road to Norwich was a little hilly, but very scenic (sorry, we didn't have time to stop for pictures!). We were further delayed by a bridge closure in Norwich over railroad tracks and the Yantic river. Looking at the map of our route, we found a alternative route that included a small foot bridge with stairs. So, here we were carrying our bikes down steep wet metal steps. Heading back to our original route, we spotted a very scenic waterfall – the path we took was part of a town park.

We made it to the Cathedral a little late, but we got a nice reception. Bishop Cote was traveling and couldn’t join us. But Msgr Tony, the rector of the Cathedral, was there along with a few Cathedral School students.

   
  

We said good-bye to Jim, who was off to ride the last few miles of his “80 for Haiti” ride with his daughter Kim. Congratulations on a successful ride, Jim! Jim and Mary Ann are strong supporters of Outreach to Haiti and are role models to all of us!

      Jim and Kim finishing their ride.

Ron, Steve, and Tom stocked up on drinks and had a few snacks (thanks Dorothy and Mary Ann!), and we were on our way. We had about 40 miles left, and we headed to St. Mark’s Church in Westbrook. The first 25 miles of this ride was quite hilly (some challenging, but not as steep as Wednesday's). We stopped at Ron and Dorothy’s house in Old Lyme around mile 52 for a quick lunch, then headed towards the Baldwin Bridge, over the Connecticut River. This bridge is a highway (I-95) with a protected bike/walking lane.

We had about 11 miles left, and we rode around Saybrook Point - a very beautiful section with a causeway, beaches, and beautiful homes. For the second part of this section we had a nice tailwind, which a great (and fun) bonus.

        

        Two photos from Saybrook Point

After leaving Old Saybrook, we hit a couple of hills on our way to St. Mark's. But got there 10 minutes before our estimated time. We had the second great reception of the day at St. Mark's – from their Walk with Haiti Committee! They greeted us with a nice snack, some nice conversation, and presented us with a very generous donation!

         

Total distance today – 71.8 miles.

Tomorrow is the final day of this year's ride. We will visit Mercy High School in Middletown, and then head to St. Patrick in Farmington to finish the ride. Stay tuned!

October 14 - Day 5

The last day is always filled with excitement, tempered a bit by tiredness and soreness – both from biking and from chasing cats (nothing further to add). We’re scheduled to ride 48.5 miles in CT - from Killingworth to Farmington, with a stop at Mercy High School in Middletown.

The three of us (Tom, Ron, and Steve) started around 8:45 with temperatures in the mid-50’s. It had rained overnight (poured!), so the roads were wet with leaves. That made for tricky downhill descents. The issue is that we are mostly riding on unfamiliar roads, plus when the bikes get wet, braking can get challenging (none of us have the disk brakes that have become more popular with newer bikes). We dressed a little bit more warmly, despite the expectation that it was going to get warmer and sunny. Since that never actually happened, we were well prepared for the cooler, cloudy weather we got (go figure - shortly after we finished for the day, the sun came out).

We started at Killingworth Recreation Park - we shortened the route for the day by a couple of miles, since we had riden further than we had planned during the first four days.

The first 16 miles of today’s route took us directly to Mercy High in Middletown. The first few miles were along a route we hadn’t ridden in the past, and what we thought was part of one of roads ended up being a ¼ mile unpaved path through woods – with a massive puddle in the middle from last night’s rain. We decided to walk our bikes around the puddle along a narrow path through the trees. A minor delay, and we were quickly on our way. We had some uphill climbs, but it seemed like a lot of this stretch was downhill. We were right on schedule when we reached Mercy HS.

We have always enjoyed the reception at Mercy, and this year was one of the best. All of the students were outside waiting for us, and they cheered as we drove by. As we rode by the students, we put our hands out for high fives. Well, we got some very enthusiastic hand slaps – I almost fell off my bike! Of course, they were accompanied by smiling faces and a great deal of cheer – we hope it just wasn’t excitement that they were getting out of class for a few minutes.

         

We were also greeted by Alissa DeJonge, President of Mercy High School, and she invited into the school for snacks. The school has been a very strong supporter of Outreach to Haiti, starting with Sr. Mary, Alissa’s predecessor, and it certainly continues with Alissa. We left Mercy after a nice visit, refreshed and excited to finish our final 32 or so miles to go.

The ride to Farmington took us through Middlefield, Meriden, Cheshire, Southington, and Plainville. We rode on a short portion of a paved bike trail in Meriden, which runs along the Quinnipiac River. Between the river and the fall foliage, it was a very colorful ride, and we enjoyed the scenery. Dorothy was waiting to meet us at the end of the trail for the last break of the ride. I don’t know if we could have done this ride without her support.

       

The last 16 miles consisted of heading towards the Farmington River Heritage Trail (which we rode extensively the past two years), and Rte. 10, a busy but rideable rode. Our ending point was St. Patrick Church in Farmington, and we were greeted by who supported us during the week and other supporters of Outreach to Haiti.

Here we are celebrating our arrival – between the bike riders and later in the church hall:

     

     

 

Total distance today - 50 miles. Total for the week - 338.9, almost 2 miles beyond our goal!

 

Thank you!

We have a lot to be thankful for. We thank God (and all the saints we prayed to this week) for our health to be able to do this, for our safe return home, for the great weather, for all the drivers who gave us room on the road (and we can still ask for blessings for those that didn't).

Thanks to all who followed us, and prayed for us, and supported us in so many ways.

There are so many people to thank for the success of the ride. First, the riders - Tom, Ron, Emily, Jim, and Steve. A great effort, and it was great spending time together, struggling together, cheering each other on, and working together to fix the two flats we had!

Thank you to the donors. Many of you are repeat donors, and there are many new ones. Spreading the word of our mission in Haiti is part of the reason for the ride, and it is great to see new donors, and even better to see repeat donors who learn about the mission and believe in it. Thank you!

What is inspiring to me is when I thank someone who donated to the ride, and the response is "no - thank you for doing this". Responses like these keep us going!

We thank Dan – who hatched the idea for this ride 7 years ago. We missed having you ride with us this year, but you were there in the planning. Congratulations on your daughter’s wedding and we look forward to your return on your bike next year!

A special thank you to our wives (and Mom) – Mary Ann, Lynn, Linda, and Dorothy, who encouraged us and prayed for us during the week.

We thank the parishes and the school that reached out and met us, giving us great receptions and send-offs - Mercy High School, St Patrick's Cathedral School in Norwich, Msgr. Tony at the Cathedral, St. Mark's, and St. Patrick Church in Farmington. Thank you for your warm welcomes!

Finally, a very, very special thanks to Dorothy Paine. Dorothy was with us the whole week, encouraging us, praying with us, making sure we were hydrated and nourished, and she took most of the photos in this ride summary (and many more). We wouldn’t have made it to the end without you! Thank you, Dorothy!

What all of you have contributed helps move the mission in Haiti forward and helps to improve the lives of deserving Haitians every day.

Donations are still coming in - it is not too late! As of the weekend after the ride, we have raised over $30,000!

Can't wait for next year's ride!

Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts, and God bless you.

 

Description of Ride

On Monday, October 10th, a team of riders from Outreach to Haiti will be starting the eighth annual bike ride. As with past years, the team will ride 337 miles over 5 days. The bike ride is a "virtual trip" across Haiti, and we hope to visit some of the parishes and schools in Connecticut that are twinned through Outreach to Haiti with parishes, orphanages, and schools in Haiti. The last two years, due to Covid precautions, we have restricted the rides to within Connecticut. This year, we will return to having the ride begin in Maine and include cycling in five of the six New England states.  (We have nothing against Vermont, it just doesn't fit with the flow.)

One of this year's rider is Jim Hubert. Jim will turn 80 years old in October and plans to cover 80 miles of the course over 2 days. We are calling his legs of the ride "80 for Haiti". Jim is busy preparing, sometimes adding a 25 mile ride with one of his 11 grandchildres to his training schedule. When asked why this event is important to him, without hesitation Jim says "The Haitian people inspire me with their perseverance and trust in God. Raising funds to support Outreach programs is my small way to help."

The purpose of the ride is to raise awareness and funds to support our mission in Haiti. Outreach to Haiti has been in Haiti for over 35 years, serving the poor in the Christ Roi (Christ the King) community of Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas with a healthcare clinic, food and nutrition programs, education programs, developing and maintaining twinning relationships, cultural immersion trips, and the FAK program, which empowers women to start their own businesses. Our motto is Helping Haitians Help Haitians, and Outreach to Haiti is truly saving and changing lives in Haiti. More information about Outreach to Haiti can be found on other pages of this website.

Donations from this ride will provide key funds to support our ongoing programs. Last year, conditions in Haiti worsened due to COVID-19 and the unrest resulting from the assasination of President Moise. The unrest has not yet been settled, and the demand for our services has increased significantly. All of our programs have become even more critical than ever. So the people we serve in Haiti ARE IN GREAT NEED OF OUR SUPPORT.

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers for a safe and successful ride (and an occasional continual tail wind would be nice!)

 

These are the daily rides.

Day 1 – https://ridewithgps.com/routes/40296572

Day 2 – https://ridewithgps.com/routes/40492706

Day 3 – https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31279840

Day 4 – https://ridewithgps.com/routes/38580249

Day 5 – https://ridewithgps.com/routes/40515491

 

 

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