A little last-minute detour to route around a closed bridge in Norwich on Oct. 13 didn't deter Jim Hubert and fellow cyclists Steven Cuddy, Ron Paine and Tom Campbell, who stopped at the Cathedral of Saint Patrick as part of the Outreach to Haiti 8th Annual Bike Ride to Rebuild.
After two years of staying within Connecticut due to COVID precautions, the riders resumed their New England tour approach, starting in Maine and working their way down to Connecticut, with the 337 mile ride taking them into all of the New England states except Vermont.
Starting on Monday, Oct. 10, the team of cyclists from Outreach to Haiti began the Bike Ride to Rebuild. The purpose of the ride, a "virtual" trek to simulate riding across the island nation of Haiti, is to raise awareness and funds to support the mission of the Diocese of Norwich Outreach to Haiti.
Paine’s daughter Emily joined the riders for the first two days, which began in Kittery, Maine, according to an online day-by-day diary of the journey. Ron Paine returned to this year’s ride after a year off in 2021 to heal from an injury.
Click here to see the online journal
The scenic ride took the crew on a drawbridge over the Piscataqua River into New Hampshire, through Portsmouth, along the New Hampshire coast and through Hampton Beach, into Concord, Massachusetts and Rhode Island before coming to Connecticut.
At the Cathedral, the riders and their family members joined Saint Patrick Cathedral School students and staff, as well as Outreach to Haiti Director Susan Wallace and Monsignor Tony Rosaforte for photos and a check donation to Outreach to Haiti from the school.
Hubert, of East Hampton, had a special cause this year. To mark his 80th birthday this month, Hubert covered 80 miles of the course in two days – an “80 for Haiti” leg of the journey. In prior years, he’s joined the team for 50 miles. He rode 43 miles the first day and concluded with another 40 miles Oct. 13.
Hubert prepared for the new challenge by taking 25-mile rides with one of his 11 grandchildren, and said his entire 80-plus mile journey was very smooth and enjoyable. He planned to cycle the final several miles to his home in East Hampton.
When asked why the annual bike ride is important to him, Hubert answered without hesitation.
“The Haitian people inspire me with their perseverance and trust in God. Raising funds to support Outreach programs is my small way to help,” he said.
The need in Haiti continues to be extreme, and every dollar donated helps.
The first seven rides have raised more than $155,000, thanks to generous donors. This has supported rebuilding the Outreach to Haiti clinic as well as continuing basic services that were significantly hampered by the pandemic.
Outreach to Haiti has been in Haiti for more than 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.
For more information, please visit the website www.outreachtohaiti.org or call (860) 800-3601.
By Ryan Blessing