Local cyclists Roc the Ride

Published 9:00 pm Monday, September 12, 2016

Six men recently biked from Richmond to Norfolk in two days to raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer.

“No matter what we put our bodies through, it doesn’t compare to what the kids go through every day,” said James Templeton, one of the bikers and vice president and director of operations at Allfirst LLC.

On Thursday and Friday of last week, Roc the Ride, an effort initiated by the Roc Solid Foundation, which is dedicated to serving children diagnosed with cancer, raised more than $27,000, according to Templeton.

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The trek began early Thursday morning at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Children’s Hospital in Richmond. The group interacted with the children and donated tablets, games and other items.

Later on that morning, the group set off onto the Capital Trail toward Yorktown. Once there, they headed to Baker’s Crust for a fundraiser. The restaurant donated a percentage of its sales toward the cause.

The following day, the group took a ferry to Surry County and rode along Routes 10 and 17 to reach the Portsmouth Ferry. The group was then escorted by police to the Harrison Opera House in Norfolk.

At the site, the group met up with several families with children diagnosed with cancer. For the last mile of Roc the Ride, the bikers and families were police escorted to the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters in Norfolk.

The moment served as the most memorable part of the trip for many of the bikers.

“Seeing the smiles on the kids’ and parents’ faces — it was a great moment,” said Eric Newman, one of the bikers and Roc Solid Foundation founder.

The ride personally impacted several of the bikers who have either personally battled with cancer or have loved ones who have.

Newman acquired liver cancer at just 3 years old. Templeton has had family members suffer from pediatric cancer. Josh Wade, another one of the bikers, battled blood cancer recently.

“There was a connection to the mission and a life change,” Newman said. “This was one of the best events I’ve ever been a part of with Roc Solid Foundation.”

If the 100-mile bike ride wasn’t enough, the next day, a few of the bikers and other Roc Solid Foundation volunteers conducted a playground build project in Williamsburg.

Next year, the foundation plans to start its next Roc the Ride in Pittsburgh and conclude in Norfolk. Additionally, the ride hopes to accommodate more bikers, according to Templeton.