Wow, what an incredible summer! I am still processing the whole experience and often have to remind myself, –we did it! We actually biked 3,600 miles across the country raising awareness of poverty, service and the work of the Lasallian Volunteers. None of this would have been possible without the tireless efforts of many people. Without their behind the scenes work, we never would have gotten from Point A to Point B everyday let alone to the Atlantic Ocean. With that in mind, I wanted to personally and publicly thank a number of the individuals involved in making LVs Ride a reality.
The idea of a bike ride started as a simple conversation between Mario and me at 2009 Midyear Retreat in New Orleans. Little did we know in under three years later, we would finish LVs Ride biking over 3,600 miles bringing along 50 riders and support team members and countless others to be a part of this crazy dream. From day one, we fought to make this dream a reality making phone calls to churches and schools praying they would host us, designing a route to get across the country and selling this idea to the people who could say yes or no. Mario had endless ideas and energy. We had our stops planned out and what general route we would take, and Mario planned the actual directions and streets. He made countless housing phone calls and worked to run ideas by Al when I had none left. He could also set up a camp and build a fire ready for cooking before I could even blink. To me personally, Mario’s biggest contribution was helping me slow down and enjoy the moment throughout both the planning process and on the ride.
Br. Ed Phelan
Tireless supporter, encourager, motivator and inspiration to many. Ed was the primary writer behind the LVs Ride Journal this summer and provided a great deal of knowledge and experience when we were trying to get the ride off the ground. His previous experiences proved vital in helping envision what this ride might look like. Believe it or not, he kept all the binders and information from the first ride which helped us a great deal in figuring out how to organize this ride. Ed was also a huge moral supporter on the ride. You could always count on him to have that cup of coffee for you when you needed it or a hug when you got to the top of the first big climb. All of this without mentioning the countless contributions he made behind the scenes.
Al was the magic behind the computer this summer. He took great strides to make sure our website conveyed our message and information in an appealing way and elevated our print and visual materials to a new level. Beyond the “seen” aspects of the ride, Al provided needed motivation to help us reach our sponsorships goals right before the ride started; guided Nishant Gogna and his efforts to document the ride; and played a crucial role in helping communicate the mission and success of the ride to folks throughout the summer. Thank you Al for the great deal of time and energy you put into this project. Who knew when Mario and I asked you to create a simple logo, it would turn into a great partnership which helped lead to the great success of LVs Ride.
What started as a simple question to help guide us in PR efforts for the ride, turned into over 35 media outlets reporting about LVs Ride and the story getting picked up nationally. Liz spent countless hours researching and contacting local media across the country, writing and sending our press releases, speaking with reporters, coordinating interviews with the riders and much more. Liz went above and beyond and also managed much of the content on the LVs Ride Journal soliciting stories from riders and making sure the general public was aware of our efforts, had something to read and see what we were doing. Without Liz’s efforts and attentiveness, we would have just been doing a bike ride. She helped bring LVs Ride a great deal of attention and helped us reach our goal of raising awareness of poverty, service and the Lasallian mission across the country. The best example of her success happened in Corvallis, MT. I was sitting on the side of the road making some phone calls and an older man came up to our van. He said he saw us biking through Idaho and saw us on the news the night before in Missoula. He was passing by in Corvallis and thought he would say hello.
While not involved in the planning of LVs Ride, Nishant was crucial in helping document the ride from day one to the end. He was responsible for each of the amazing videos found on the LVs Ride Journal and the great photographs as well. Nishant was not familiar with Lasallians or bike touring for that matter, but that didn’t prevent him from becoming an integral part of our team. As a result, he produced amazing videos that captured the essence of LVs Ride and allowed us to share it with a much larger audience. Additionally, Nishant is currently working on a documentary about LVs Ride to come out later this year.
The Elfenworks Foundation, The San Damiano Foundation and Campus Movie Fest
These three organizations partnered to help make it possible for Nishant to be a part of LVs Ride. Without their help, we would not have been able to recruit such a talented artist and provide him with the gear and essentials he needed to document the tour and the stories being shared across the country. They pioneered the idea for a documentary and made it possible for it to happen.
Samantha Almanza, Mike and Stacy Leard, Alisa Macksey, Jolleen Wagner, and Peter Tooher
Each made more than a few phone calls and emails to secure housing for the riders along the route. Because of their efforts, we stayed with amazing families and churches; ate fresh caught salmon on the last day of salmon fishing in the Columbia River; experienced excellent potlucks and dinners; and had a place to sleep each night.
Throughout the past year and a half of planning, the LV Staff has gone above and beyond to help ensure the success of LVs Ride. From making phone calls for housing or asking for sponsorship; sharing about the ride with Lasallian Youth; planning a welcoming event at Lewis University and Lincroft, NJ; and providing encouragement and support when it was needed most. Alisa, Jolleen, Kimberly, Peter and Zac were the behind the scenes folks who kept this ride moving and did what needed to be done when no one else could or would.
Sponsors and Donors
We are incredibly thankful for the individuals and organizations, including the Christian Brothers, Districts, Lasallian Colleges and Universities, and other sponsors, who believed in our mission and supported us through 3,600 miles this summer. We are especially grateful to those who took the extra time to send an email, note of encouragement or maybe even a special treat for the group. Every message was appreciated and helped motivate us a few more miles in our efforts to raise awareness about poverty and service this summer.
There were countless others who helped make this ride a success including Lisa Salazar, Kathy Pederson, Br. Jim Martino, Saul and Nancy Almanza, Kris Evens, Matt Powell, our hosts each night of the ride, the strangers who helped us on the side of the road, the family and friends who supported each rider and joined for a day or two of biking, and many others. On behalf of the riders, thank you for believing in us. Thank you for thinking this ride and the Lasallian Volunteers are worth your support. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for letting a group of people come together as strangers and leave as family.
Little did we know at the beginning of this journey how much we would learn from the people we met and our shared stories. It is humbling to have been a part of this experience and know the great work being done all over the country to help individuals and families in need. This summer we took a risk believing a bike ride could spread the message of ending poverty and inviting people to join us in service to the poor. I can say confidently we accomplished that and more. Thank you for being a part of LVs Ride this summer and working with us to one day end poverty.
cc: Bro. Robert Schieler
Lasallian Volunteers Advisory Board
Regional Conference of Christian Brothers