Cyclists Ride for a Cure: The First Hope on 2 Wheels is a Success
On June 23, 24 cyclists rode their bikes 250 miles from the JDRF world headquarters in New York City to just outside of Washington, DC to raise awareness and additional funding for the JDRF Ride to Cure. The event, titled Hope on 2 Wheels, was co-founded by Scott Kasper and Mike Chadwick. Scott shared his story about the creation of Hope on 2 Wheels in June, and today Mike’s sharing details about the outcome of the bicycle ride across the country.
Q: When did you first start cycling?
A: When I was a kid, I led a very active lifestyle. I played soccer, wrestled, and participated in track and field. In addition, my older brother was an extremely competitive cyclist and was on an amateur cyclist team. I wanted to be just like him, so I tried cycling.
Many years later during the holidays my son was chasing me around the backyard and I couldn’t keep up. I was no longer in shape and was overweight. My wife, who is a big runner, encouraged me to get active. Within a few months, I bought a bike and started cross-training to get healthy. That’s when I started cycling again.
Q: How did you meet Scott and co-found Hope on 2 Wheels?
A: I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 6 and have been involved with diabetes-related advocacy organizations throughout my life. Last year, I started talking to my local JDRF office and I realized the JDRF Ride to Cure program was a great fundraiser. They mentioned that the average donation given to someone who is committed to a 100-mile bicycle ride is a lot higher than someone fundraising for a walk. One day I ran into Scott before a JDRF meeting. He pitched the idea for what is now Hope on 2 Wheels and asked if I wanted to get involved. For me, it was a no-brainer. I wanted to give back to the community but didn’t have a tremendous amount of time. The JDRF Ride to Cure program and Hope on 2 Wheels are a great way for a competitive guy like me who might not ever win a cycling race to continue to stay focused on training and do it for a great cause.
Q: How was the first Hope on 2 Wheels ride?
A: It was fantastic! We started at 4:45 a.m. at the JDRF world headquarters, took the ferry to Staten Island and started on our way to the Washington, DC area. The event was both emotionally draining and rewarding, which is very consistent with my type 1 lifestyle. Managing blood glucose levels throughout the day is hard to perfect. Both scenarios involve constantly making adjustments to unexpected hurdles in order to make things smoother and better. We made those adjustments consistently throughout the nineteen hours we were on our bikes.
The riders, many whose lives are consumed by type 1, were so excited to be a part of an action-oriented team and wanted to achieve something. They were incredibly humbled to be a part of what some of them called an “epic event.”
Q: What were some of those unexpected hurdles along the way?
A: As far as type 1-related hurdles, we had one hypoglycemic event that was identified quickly and treated by the individual. We also had one rider with leg cramps, a couple others with flat tires, we all experienced delays at the ferries and hit significant traffic at the Conowingo Dam in Maryland. When we hit the traffic, we were able to go through it on our bikes but the vans were stuck behind on the road. We had to work around not having vans, which were our source of direction, so we made sure to stay together. Also, because of the delays, darkness fell before our ride was complete. There were a lot of small hurdles but since we were constantly adjusting we were able to keep on moving.
Q: Did the community come out to show support?
A: Yes! We had a number of cheer zones, and the two biggest were both at the Mount Laurel, New Jersey stop, around the area where Scott lives. Physical therapy interns came out to give the cyclists massages and help them stretch. Also, local politician Assemblyman Herb Conaway’s Chief of Staff, Jonathan Chebra, presented us a copy of a resolution that he passed in the Statehouse honoring June 23 as Hope on 2 Wheels Day. It was humbling to see a local political official support us like he did, and having all that support at the cheer zones was a great feeling.
Q: Do you consider the first Hope on 2 Wheels a success?
A: Absolutely. I’d like people to know that Hope on 2 Wheels really delivered what it said it was going to. Families affected by type 1 diabetes need to have hope. They need to have some kind of support that tells them that it’s going to be okay. Our initial goal was to build a JDRF Ride to Cure program because we knew that was our avenue for fundraising, but Hope on 2 Wheels is about more than that. It’s about sharing the message that living with type 1 diabetes does not need to be considered a death sentence. Look at the physical challenge that both trained athletes and average Joes were able to accomplish with the support of Hope on 2 Wheels—they exceeded expectations and delivered hope.
It’s easy to see why Hope on 2 Wheels is so inspiring for people with diabetes everywhere. The amount of training and motivation needed to complete such a long ride is truly astounding. I’d like to extend a huge thanks to Mike for providing a nice summary of the Hope on 2 Wheels ride and for sharing his story with us.
All the best,
Disclosure: Mike Chadwick received no compensation for this post. All opinions contained in this post reflect those of the interviewee, and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies or affiliates.