Juneteenth Freedom Day Ride

Mercer County – The Juneteenth Freedom Day Ride on June 14, brought together cyclists from the tri-state area to commemorate the Juneteenth Holiday. The event featured a scenic ride through several towns such as Hamilton, Lawrence, West Windsor, Hopewell, West Amwell, Pennington and Ewing, highlighting significant African American historical sites in the region.

 

This year, the ride attracted a remarkable 291 cyclists, who chose between four different routes: 35 miles, 50 miles, 75 miles, and 10 miles. The event’s success can be attributed to the efforts of the Samuel McCoy III Scholarship Fund and Let’s Cycle NJ, organizations that have consistently encouraged participation and catered to the needs of the riders.

 

The Samuel McCoy III Scholarship Fund, also a non-profit 501(c)(3), focuses on supporting the education and enhancing the quality of life of youth through wellness-driven activities. This year, the fund awarded scholarships to Jasraj Baweja, Tasanee Green and Aziza Hopkins to assist in furthering their educational aspirations.

 

Let’s Cycle NJ, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is dedicated to promoting cycling among communities of color for improved health outcomes. They strive to organize events that inspire people of all ages to rediscover the joy of cycling.

 

Tennille R. McCoy, Chair of the Samuel McCoy III Scholarship Fund, emphasized the importance of educating the community about Juneteenth and promoting the health benefits of cycling.

 

“We want to express our sincere appreciation to our generous sponsors who have made the Juneteenth Freedom Ride possible. Wegmans graciously provided delicious food for lunch and rest stop snacks, ensuring that our participants were well-fueled throughout the event. The Outdoor Alliance and Sourland Cycles were also invaluable in hosting rest stops for the past four years, creating a welcoming and supportive environment for our riders,” said Tennille McCoy.

 

“We also want to acknowledge the support of the New Jersey African American Chamber of Commerce(AACCNJ) and Sharif Sells, who have been with us from the beginning. Their contributions of cycle socks and swag bags have been a huge hit with our participants, adding an extra element of excitement and enjoyment to the event,” added McCoy.

 

County Executive Dan Benson played a vital role in the Juneteenth celebration by raising the Juneteenth Flag as a tribute to the holiday. Benson declared that the flag will be ceremoniously raised every year alongside the Juneteenth Cycle Ride, symbolizing the county’s strong commitment to honoring and preserving the deep significance of Juneteenth.

 

Doug Smarr, CEO of Let’s Ride NJ, expressed his passion for inspiring people to rediscover the joys of cycling. He stated, “Our goal is to encourage individuals to embrace the exhilaration of riding a bike once again.” As an avid cyclist himself, Smarr added, “There is nothing that brings me more joy than witnessing my two wheels come together for a fantastic day of cycling.”

 

Sponsors of the Juneteenth Ride: NJM Insurance, Capital Health, BAPS, Mercedes Benz, Change Church, and River Crossing.

 

The Samuel McCoy III Scholarship Fund, a non-profit 501 © 3, aims to support youth through education and improve their quality of life through wellness-driven activities. The scholarship fund is named after Sam McCoy, who passed in 2018, coached baseball for over 40 years in Mercer County, focusing on North Trenton Little League. Coach Sam believed that participating in sports built character and instilled values such as leadership, teamwork, integrity, and risk-taking.

 

Let’s Cycle NJ, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is dedicated to promoting cycling among communities of color for improved health outcomes. They strive to organize events that inspire people of all ages to rediscover the joy of cycling.

 

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