Gabrielle and the Five Boro Bike Tour

 

Watch this video of Gabrielle and two bike tour teammates as they plug the 5 Boro Bike Tour on Sunday May 5th.  Wanna ride with us?

 

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Taking on the Five Boro Bike Tour Without a Bike?

Gabrielle, the Community Engagement Manager on the Family Support Team at Ronald McDonald House New York (RMH-NY) is a true advocate for children's health. And now, Gabrielle has recently found yet another way to give back to the kids and families at RMH-NY in need of support by participating in the NYC’s annual Five Boro Bike Tour, the first and oldest bike tour in the United States.

This iconic event not only showcases the intricacies of all five boroughs of New York City but also serves as an important fundraiser for many charities including RMH-NY, a non-profit organization that provides crucial support for families with children battling serious illnesses. And even without owning a bicycle of her own, Gabrielle will be riding in this year’s 5 Boro Bike Tour on May 5th, 2024.

5 Boro Bike Tour on May 5th, 2024.

 

But one may ask how would it be possible for a person to participate in a 40-mile bike ride without having a bike on hand to ride? Like most New Yorkers… they rent.

Gabrielle talks through her bike choices for the 5 Boro Tour. "Yeah, just not a biker. I have a peloton in my apartment, but yeah, not a biker, so I'll be renting my bike again." 

 

 Essential Bike Rental Details for Potential Riders

Unlimited Biking serves as the official bike rental partner for the tour, providing a range of rentals starting from $75 for kids' bikes to $250 for tandem bikes. For most adults, the popular choice is the $109 daily rental option for either a Cannondale Men’s Quick 6 bike or a Cannondale Women’s Lady Adventure bike. Each rental comes equipped with essential accessories such as a bag or basket, a water bottle cage, and a helmet.

Moreover, various other bicycle shops across the city also offer rental services for the tour, including Blazing Saddles, NYC Bicycle Shop, and The Bicycle Planet.

 

When the Professional Get Personal

Gabrielle, who owns a Masters degree in Healthcare Administration, works on the Family Support Team at Ronald McDonald House New York. The team is predominately made up of social workers and Community Healthcare professionals, all of whom are on the front lines working with families to give them the very best possible experience while being supported by RMH-NY.  They are responsible for all things kids and families. They are there for all the highs and lows a family can experience with having a sick child. 

Gabrielle and her colleagues are always consciously working on the best methods to deal with the most extreme forms of joy as well as extreme sadness and grief that some families experience. Family Support are professionals who understand these situations, but they actively make healthy choices to process the harder emotions and moments they might experience or even only witness in the line of duty.

Gabrielle explained, “Hearing of a child passing never gets any less devastating. I don't feel emotional for myself, but emotional for families and what they're going through. Last year I was speaking with my supervisor. It was right after a child had passed and she asked me what I was going to do to acknowledge the loss? How are you going to acknowledge this for yourself? I put a lot of thought into that and it kind of turned into the bike tour.”

Gabrielle told her supervisor that she thought raising money in honor of the children that had passed might be a good way of rechanneling any residual grief and sadness felt.

Gabrielle and the Family Support Team at Ronald McDonald House New York.

“I think it's a great opportunity to think about raising money and honoring those children who pass each year. When I think about the families who lose their children, I can't put myself in their position, but one of their biggest fears could be of their child being forgotten. So, to keep their names alive in the city where they unfortunately passed… I mean, it’s beyond words to think that they come here with their child, and they leave without them. So, riding the bike tour with those children in mind is huge.”

Angelica, a colleague in the Wellness Center at RMH-NY, made a pin with the face of the child Gabrielle was riding for last year. This year, Gabrielle will continue to wear that pin and will add a second pin this year with the number 23 on it. 23 represents the number of children lost in 2023 staying at RMH-NY.

“I’m so passionate and proud of the work that we're doing here. I still think about what we can be doing to bring in more dollars because we need them. I can see every day how they can be spent. Seeing that is motivating and encourages me to spread the word. There is such a need and the work that is done here is so essential.”

 

Find the 'Fun' in Fundraising

Gabrielle will be the first to call out the shamelessness with which she asks for money from her personal network, but more importantly, how she goes about educating her community on the amazing and essential work Ronald McDonald House New York is doing for families both in NYC and around the world who travel to the city to get the best care possible for their kid.

She educates people on the need for families to be close to the hospital where their kid is receiving treatment, or why the ride share program is essential, and then there is the money needed to serve every person in the 95-room house three meals a day.

Costs at the RMH-NY can add up so quickly and Gabrielle sees first-hand how intricate and irreplaceable those funds are to keeping the House up and running and giving these kids and their families the care they need and deserve. It is what pushes her to come back and ride each year.

Gabrielle spoke about her fundraising efforts, "So last year, I raised about $3500 for the bike tour. Right now, I'm at about $1,300 and I just think it's a great chance to tell my own community about the work that we do here and honor the families that we work with."

The Five Boro Bike Tour becomes a way to channel her passion for her work, the House, and the families she serves into meaningful action. By raising funds and awareness for RMH-NY, she plays a vital role in ensuring that families have access to the support they need during difficult times. With each mile she rides, Gabrielle is reminded of the resilience and strength of the families she supports at Ronald McDonald House New York.

 

A Family Affair

For Gabrielle, the Five Boro Bike Tour is all about family. Yes, of course, she raises money for the families in the House, but she takes the relationship between the Five Boro Bike Tour and family to a whole new level by riding alongside her very own mother.

Gabrielle’s mom has been a participant in the Five Boro Bike Tour for five years now. Mom, mom’s boss, and mom’s dear friend from way back who Gabrielle lovingly refers to as her aunt did the tour together last year.

Gabrielle and her mom will kick off the bike tour by renting a hotel on Saturday night in lower Manhattan to be close to the starting line since it is already such an early morning for the riders. For these two bike tour veterans, it is a great bonding moment that happens to do a whole lot of good for many people.

In a secret side note, Gabrielle's mom has already hit her fundraising goal as a part of Team Ronald McDonald House New York week's before this year's bike tour. Go Mom!

 Gabrielle with colleagues during RMH-NY's Easter Celebration and Egg Hunt 2023.

Community and Solidarity

There is a total of 32,000 Five Boro Bike Riders for the upcoming 2024 tour on May 5th. That is a huge community of biking enthusiasts and a ton of wheels on the New York City streets for one Sunday morning in May.

Gabrielle loves the diversity in the community of riders that participate in the tour.

“It Is for anyone. If you gotta stop along the way, some people walk every single bridge with their bike. It doesn't matter. It's not about how fast you get there. It's the camaraderie. The thought of biking through every borough of New York City is very empowering. It’s not necessarily like a running marathon where you need to train for quite some time. I really do believe that most could do this one.  So, put on some sunblock and get to it.”

The tour, spanning 40 miles and taking you through all five boroughs (hence, the name), offers the diverse group of participants a unique perspective of the city, from the iconic skyline to the vibrant neighborhoods. Riding alongside thousands of cyclists with varying degrees of bike riding experience, Gabrielle immediately felt a sense of community and solidarity during her first tour last year.

In the spirit of solidarity, Gabrielle wanted to share a few insights she learned during her first tour last year:

 

Gabrielle’s Five Boro Bike Tour Dos and Don’ts

For those that might be thinking of joining the RMH-NY squad this year, Gabrielle wants to help make it the best first bike tour possible. With a bike tour worth of knowledge and experience, here are a few helpful dos and don’ts that she passed along to new riders in this year’s tour:

DO…

  1. Wear a helmet.
  2. ***Watch out for kids. They can be a little crazy and shouldn’t be trusted.
  3. Soak in the music and the atmosphere in Harlem. It’s great.
  4. Wear sunscreen.
  5. Contact Rob (rvite@rmh-newyork.org) at RMH-NY to join Team Ronald McDonald House New York in this year’s bike tour.
  6. Shamelessly promote your participation in the bike tour to fundraise for the House.

DON’T…

  1. Stop at the first stop in Astoria. You might think you need it, but it is crowded. If you can, hold out for the second stop.
  2. Choose to bypass the Five Boro Bike Tour because you aren’t a big bike rider or don’t own a bike. RMH-NY will help you rent a bike on the day.
  3. Forget to bring water to drink on the tour. Water opportunities on the BQE can be sparse.
  4. Feel like you must race to the finish or put up a fast time on the big day. The bike tour has all types of riders with varying skill levels. It’s more about enjoying the camaraderie felt throughout with all the participants.
***Note: Children under age 3 are not permitted on the tour, and those aged 3-9 must ride with an adult on a tandem bike, or in a child’s seat, tag-along bike, or bike trailer. 10–17-year-olds can ride their own bikes. They must remain close to the adult with whom they registered for the tour.

Gabrielle with her mom, dad, and sister bringing families to see the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

 

Be Grateful You Can Do the Hard Things

“For me, 59th St. Bridge, which is more at the beginning of the race. But it's so steep, and that's one point where I was just thinking about the reason why I was doing this and that we are physically able to do this. What an opportunity. What a privilege to be of physical ability to do something like this. You just feel like you're on top of the world.”

 

Why They Ride

RMH-NY plays a crucial role in supporting families during some of the most difficult moments of their lives. In addition to providing lodging, the house offers a wide range of services, including meals, transportation assistance, and emotional support. These services help alleviate the financial and logistical burdens that families face when their child is undergoing medical treatment.

Halloween at the House with Teams Family Support and Operations.

Ronald McDonald House New York serves as a sanctuary for families with children undergoing treatment for serious illnesses. Located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, the house provides a comforting and supportive environment where families can stay together during challenging times. With 95 guest rooms, communal living spaces, and a range of support services, RMH-NY offers more than just accommodation; it provides a sense of belonging and compassion. Beyond the walls of the physical House RMH-NY extends its reach to the NYC community bringing programs, services, Family Rooms and resources to those seeking treatment at one of our hospital partners.

 

The Power of Volunteerism

Gabrielle's Mom and Dad in the kitchen serving dinner to our families.

Volunteers are the backbone of organizations like RMH-NY, providing essential services and emotional support to families in need. Whether cooking meals, organizing activities, or offering a listening ear, volunteers play a vital role in creating a welcoming and supportive environment for families facing medical crises. Gabrielle's dedication to volunteering at the House through the Five Boro Bike Tour exemplifies the spirit of compassion and generosity that defines the RMH-NY volunteering community.

 Many RMH-Ny staffers and families create a heartwarming video to pay tribute to RMH-NY Volunteers in 2023.

 

To ride in the Five Boro Bike Tour on Team RMH-NY email Rob Vite at rvite@rmh-newyork.org

 

Making Good on a Commitment to the Community

Gabrielle accompanied a House Family to a Yankee's Game

As Gabrielle prepares for another year of the Five Boro Bike Tour, her commitment to RMH-NY remains unwavering. With each revolution of the pedals, she carries the hopes and dreams of countless families who rely on the services provided by the House.

Through her actions, Gabrielle embodies the spirit of compassion and generosity that defines the cycling community and serves as a pillar of support for RMH-NY.

Gabrielle with colleagues at RMH-NY's Gala 2023.

Gabrielle's involvement in the tour speaks to the power of hard-working, passionate individuals to affect change and make a real difference in their communities. By supporting Ronald McDonald House New York, she not only raises vital funds but also brings attention to the important work being done to support families in need just as she hoped she would.

As Gabrielle continues her philanthropic journey, she serves as an example to us all of the impact one person can have on the world. 

Donate to Gabrielle’s ride honoring the 23 children lost in 2023.
Please Visit:  
https://secure-give.rmh-newyork.org/fundraiser/5185358

 


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