Hurricane Maria, a category 4-5 hurricane with wind speeds of up to 160mph, tore through the island of Puerto Rico on September 20th 2017.
Maria was the 5th strongest hurricane to have hit the US and the largest natural disaster to have hit Puerto Rico in almost 100 years. It came at a time were Puerto Ricans were already struggling to survive in the face of a crippling economic crisis with a government 70 billion dollars in debt. Maria's crushing winds and torrential downpour destroyed many Puerto Rican's homes, tearing down walls, ripping off roofs, and inundating homes with up to 5 ft of water, leaving many homeless and relying on an already exhausted shelter system. Damage to power lines and communication systems, including most cell towers, have left 3.4 million US citizens in the dark and without the ability to communicate with their families, with power outages predicted to last up to 4-6 months. Devastated road systems have left many people isolated and alone, with diminishing supplies and limited access to basic needs such as food and water, with 80% of the island without water service. Hospitals are struggling to meet the demands of the island's sick and suffering population, working with generators for as long as fuel lasts. Recovery efforts have been limited by damaged roads(with some of the smaller country roads completely eradicated), destroyed seaports, and wrecked airports, making aid delivery cumbersome and expensive. The extent of the damage is still unclear, but estimated at 8 billion dollars. The island has been declared a federal disaster zone.
What is happening in Puerto Rico is a humanitarian crisis, one that is near and dear to our hearts as our families and so many of our friends are part of this community that has been left in shambles by Hurricane Maria. We are asking for your help.
On October 28th we will embark on a 100km bike race to raise funds for our island and its people. The course will be a loop course starting and ending at The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and will go through Valley Forge National Park. We are not only asking for donations but for participants to join in the event. Anyone who rides will be asked to raise a minimum of $100 in donations.
100% of the donations raised for the race will go Puerto Rico Real-Time Recovery Fund (helpPRdespacito.com
) This fund has been organized and is managed by the non-profit ConPRmetidos in partnership with Foundation for Puerto Rico, a 501 (c)(3) corporation which is acting as the fiscal sponsor.
Puerto Rico Real-Time Recovery fund is currently financing (1) needs assessment efforts, (2) long-term structural repairs to the most vulnerable communities and (3) power as a service. Go to helpPRdespacito.com
for more details.
The damage suffered by our once-emerald island, and the loss sustained by our family and friends has been truly heartbreaking. Puerto Rico will never be the same, but we hope to help in some small way to rebuild the community that helped raise us. While Maria may have devastated our island, it could never kill the spirit of our home. We are a strong and resilient people. With hard work and your support we will rebuild the paradise we call home.
Laura Mainardi Villarino
Special thanks to our wonderful group of organizers:
John Best, Brett Cucchiara, Abby Cheitlin, Annika Holmberg, Julie SuterPledged Riders
Kelley Humbert Founder
Laura Mainardi Villarino Founder
John Best Trail Blazer
Abby Cheitlin Stylist
Annika Holmberg Snack Chef/Fuel Master
Julie Suter Spiritual Guide
Joanelle Hernandez Lopez
Donna Kurowski George
Erica Faria and Bro
Ali HamedaniBenefit Ride detils (10/24 Update):
We have surpassed $20,000 in donations and are so close of reaching our goal! Thank you to all of those who have supported Puerto Rico and our cause. We have some updates regarding the ride.
IMPORTANT: One of our attendings has graciously offered to host a post-ride celebration at his house, and all donators and riders are invited to join! The riders will likely complete the Metric Century Ride between 2-3 PM, and thus the post-ride celebration will begin around that time. Location is 2512 Aspen Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130.
On October 28th we will meet at the Schuylkill River Trail at the Locust entrance at 7:30am. We plan to ride out at 8:00am.
1. We will start at the Locust entrance to the Schuylkill River trail at 7:30 AM, and plan to ride out together at 8 AM.
2. We will ride along the SRT and jump on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive (closed to vehicles on the weekends until first weekend in November) until we get to the Strawberry Mansion Bridge where we will exit MLK Jr. Drive to enter West Fairmount Park on the left.
3. We will ride on Greenland Dr (which is the road that is connected with the bridge) and turn onto Chamonix Dr until it merges into Belmont Dr./S Chamounix Dr which then continues and merges into Parkside Ave N.
4. Take a left onto Wynnefield Ave and the next right onto N Georges Hill Dr. which wraps around the Mann Center and turns into the Avenue of the Republic.
5. We will continue on Avenue of the Republic, passing the Please Touch Museum until we hit the Smith Memorial Arch and a roundabout, and we will exit the roundabout onto Lansdowne Dr. (last exit on the roundabout).
6. We will continue on Lansdowne St until we reach the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden -> FIRST REST STOP (~10 miles)
7. Following some warm beverages, we will continue onto Horticultural Dr. to cross Montgomery Dr. and continue onto Belmont Mansion Dr, to return to Chamounix Dr. (the road we came in on) and take a right of that road onto W Ford Rd until we reach Strawberry Mansion Bridge again, where we return to the Shuylkill River Trail.
8. We then ride along the MLK Jr Dr towards Manayunk, using East Falls Bridge to return to the bike trail. We will take the main road towards the end of Main St, and then take a right followed by an immediate left to get on Umbria St. (this involves some mild hills but only a couple and the rest is all flat!)
9. Once we reach Shawmut St (Umbria will dead end into Shawmut St), we take a left to get back on the bike/running trail, which will take us all the way to Valley Forge, and from there we will head to Port Providence Park, where we will have our lunch stop (~33 miles into the ride)
10. We will then turn back and return the same route as we came in, until we reach Conshohocken brewery where we will stop for the last rest stop and re-fuel before the final haul back to Philly (!47 mile mark).
11. Continue on SRT until we reach MLK Jr Drive via Falls Bridge.
12. Return to Strawberry Mansion bridge and will ride up to the bridge and take a RIGHT this time to cross the bridge and enter EAST Fairmount Park.
13. Continue straight on Strawberry Mansion Dr./Woodford Dr until it dead ends into Geenland Dr where we will take a right on the bike path that snakes along Edgely road (called Boxer's Trail) for the first set of outdoor playing fields, and then get back on the road (Reservoir Dr.) and continue on this (keep left at the fork in the road to stay on Reservoir Dr) until we reach N 33rd St/Poplar Dr which has a bike lane.
14. Follow this road until it merges into Sedgley Dr, and then turn left onto Kelly Dr.
15. Continue on Kelly Dr until we reach the Art Museum!
In total, it is a 60 mile route.
There will be three rest stops. The last two both have bathrooms.
1. Japanese House (10 miles) - We plan to try and have warm tea/coffee, water and snacks.
2. Halfway Point/Dog Park (33 miles) - There is a bathroom there and lots of open space. We will be having fitzwater bagels who has decided to sponsor the ride and give a free bagel to all participants! We will also have refreshments
3. Conshohocken Brewery (47 miles). Again, will hopefully try and have some light snacks. Bathrooms in the brewery.
Here is the ride mapped on Strava: