By Julie Ross
Calling all local bikers—and their motorcycling aficionado friends and family from nearby areas. The 4 th Annual Special Needs Ministry Motorcycle Run to benefit the Special Needs Ministry of Long Valley’s St. Luke’s Church is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 22.
The Annual Special Needs Ministry Motorcycle Run raises funds for the Ministry through registration fees, $15 per bike and $10 per passenger, and donations from non-participants, said event organizer Bob Malanga of Fire & Risk Engineering in Long Valley. Malanga came up with the idea of a “fall foliage” charity motorcycle
ride after having participated in similar events, such as the Gooch’s Garlic Run held in Hope every year for the past three decades.
The Ministry itself is open to all children and adults with special needs, physical and developmental, regardless of religious affiliation. It provides assistance and support to this population, as well as funds an annual Easter-time pilgrimage to Lourdes, France, where participants join thousands with special needs from around the world. Lourdes is the most famous healing shrine in the world and is
recognized one of the most visited of all pilgrimage sites anywhere.
Registration for the event begins at 9 a.m. at St. Luke’s Church. Representatives of the Christian Motorcycle Association will bestow blessings on participants’ bikes from the opening of registration until 9:45 a.m. The ride itself kicks off at 10 a.m. and concludes at 1 p.m. at the Long Valley Pub & Brewery, for a post-event lunch. There will be a mid-point rest stop.
“The ride is intended to be a leisurely three-hour ride through the mostly ‘500’- and ‘600’- county roads in Hunterdon, Morris, and Sussex counties, with a minimum of U.S. highways and one rest stop,” Malanga said. “I try to make the route more of the ‘off-the-beaten path’ type, along rivers and bridges and winding roads, as opposed to the larger rides that usually stay on straight routes.”
Malanga noted that as always, he hopes the event will attract 50 bikers; with an
earlier date than in the past—“good for temperature and ridership,” but not for the fall colors, he is optimistic it will happen. “Weather and logistics have not been good to us in the past, as we have only had about 20 to 23 bikes per year, but we have also had donations from many who have not ridden,” he stated. “We have also actually had people as far away as Wantage and Suffern, N.Y. make the trip to
Long Valley in the last three years. One guy even started out his route when the temperature was 28 degrees Fahrenheit one year in October. I think the temperature peaked at 40 degrees Fahrenheit that day for about five minutes, then dropped like a stone.”
If the weather is rainy on September 22, the ride will be held on the following Saturday, September 29, at the originally scheduled time. To find out more about the event, call or send a text message to Malanga at (908) 413-2650.