By Mordy Sternman

Sweat rolls down my neck as the 70th mile ends. Keep on pushing. Keep on biking. The goal for today’s training is 90 miles, and the pedaling won’t stop until that has been reached. The motivation is born from the knowledge of what I am training for: a cross-country bike tour to benefit children with special needs.

Most of my 12th-grade friends at DRS Yeshiva are into the popular sports teenagers love: basketball, baseball, and hockey. The sport I spend most of my time with is biking. Cycling has been a passion of mine throughout all of high school. The combination of exercise, thrill, and rush of excitement has made cycling a great before- and after-school outlet for me. I’m always learning more about cycling whenever I can–from the Internet, other cycling club friends, and my local bike shop. With the money I save up, I do not go and buy a nice hockey stick or look at the latest pair of Air Jordans out; I’m already searching on Amazon for a better pair of shorts or a new cycling jersey.

This summer I plan to bike across the country with Bike4Friendship. You may have heard of the wonderful organization known as the Friendship Circle, staffed by volunteers under the auspices of Chabad. The Friendship Circle puts smiles on the faces of children with special needs. Some of the programs that the Friendship Circle runs are the Sunday Circle, Shabbos Circle, Judaica Circle, and many other special events like carnivals, trips, winter-break camp, and holiday programs.

It is outstanding how the Friendship Circle and their teenage volunteers are making children with special needs happier with every one of their programs, in the Five Towns and all across the United States. I have a special appreciation for the Friendship Circle because my sister, who has special needs and experiences seizures, benefits from a lot of their programs. These programs have made my sister’s days exponentially more exciting.

It is easy for an avid cyclist to bike 40 miles in a day. On Bike4Friendship we will be biking approximately 3,300 miles, with an average of 80 miles daily and a maximum of around 100 miles a day for seven weeks, day in day out, excluding Shabbos. Some rides may be in the rain; for some rides we will wake up at 3 a.m. to escape the desert sun; on some rides we will have to fight through steep inclines and fatigue. I’ll be staying in Friendship Circle locations and raising awareness throughout the entire United States. To go on this adventure, which means so much to me, I must raise $5,000 for the Friendship Circle. Please contribute what you can for this wonderful cause. Every cent donated will go toward making the lives of special-needs children, like my sister, so much more meaningful and joyous.

Read my story at sponsor. Everything counts. v


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