June 12 motorcycle run to benefit Raritan Headwaters

Love to ride your motorcycle along the picturesque country roads of the upper Raritan River watershed region?

If so, you’re invited to join the 18th “Ride for the River,” a motorcycle run on Saturday, June 12, to raise funds to support the conservation mission of Raritan Headwaters Association (RHA).

The 60-mile “poker run” takes bikers on a scenic tour of rural roads in Hunterdon, Somerset and Morris counties, especially those that parallel or cross rivers and streams. The Ride for the River starts and ends at Rollin’ Fast Cycle Sports on Route 22 in Lebanon, and will be followed by a barbecue lunch and music. Non-riders are welcome to attend the lunch.

“It’s a fun, leisurely ride highlighting the beauty of the watershed,” said Cindy Ehrenclou, executive director of Raritan Headwaters. “Over the years motorcycle enthusiast have raised more than $150,000 to support our mission to protect the countryside and clean water in rivers and streams.”

For this year’s Ride for the River, check-in at Rollin’ Fast begins at 9 a.m. The route takes about two hours, and in a poker run riders collect playing cards at designated stops along the way. By the end of the ride, they’ll have five cards to make a full poker hand.

A barbecue lunch, music and fun activities await riders upon their return to Rollin’ Fast Cycle Sports, where they can meet up with non-riding friends and family members and compare poker hands. Prizes will go to the riders with the best hands.

The cost is $30 per rider or passenger, which includes an event T-shirt, poker hand, and lunch. The cost for non-riders to attend just the lunch from noon to 3 p.m. is $15 per person for those who pre-register, and $20 on the day of the event. T-shirts will also be on sale for $15. The event will be held rain or shine, and all makes of motorcycles are welcome.

To register online, go to www.raritanheadwaters.org.  Riders can also sign up on the day of the event for $25, but on-site registration does not include a commemorative T-shirt.

Started in 2003 

Ride for the River was founded in 2003 by Amy Greene and her late husband, John Belle, as a fundraiser for the South Branch Watershed Association, which merged with the Upper Raritan Watershed Association in 2011 to form Raritan Headwaters.

Every year until his passing in 2020, Belle mapped a different route incorporating as many river crossings as possible – and no unpaved roads. Before finalizing the route, he and Greene would test it on their own bikes to make sure there were no road closures or construction. This year, the route is being designed by Greene.

“Rollin’ Fast is part of Ride for the River for the 18th year,” said Wendy Faiella, Rollin’ Fast co-owner.  “It all started with our friend, John Belle and his wonderful wife, Amy Greene, who came into our store when we first opened back in 2004.  They quickly became our customers, biggest supporters, Indian Motorcycle riders and part of the Rollin’ Fast family.  This year we are honored to be sponsoring and hosting Ride for the River, and to be able to raise money for Raritan Headwaters.”

In addition to Rollin’ Fast Cycle Sports, this year’s sponsors include Garden State Laboratories Inc., In Memory of John Belle, In Memory of Selma Greene, Mia, Max and Ben Hannah, Amy Greene Environmental (a Davey Company), Bayshore Family Companies, Community FoodCycle, IMRG 2003, PMP Management, Stifel, Thomas F. DiBianca, Esq., Rider Insurance, Basil Bandwagon Natural Market LLC, Prestige Environmental Inc., and Greenman-Pedersen Inc.

Anyone interested in sponsoring Ride for the River should contact Blake Putnam at bputnam@raritanheadwaters.org.

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