Rewarding Rides 2013. Washington D.C. to Lakewood, Ohio
Button worn by Mo and Gabe during the ride, honoring Mr. Vagi.
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Rewarding Rides is the creation of two friends: Mohammed 'Mo' Farunia and Gabriel 'Gabe' Williams. Each year Mo and Gabe will use cycling as a tool to raise money for a charity of their choosing; embark on a different cyclling tour with a varied destination, distance, and charity. Through the rides they promote healthy living and their motto, "Do something nice for someone, today and everyday."
Mo and Gabe's first tour took place in May of 2011. They cycled from Lakewood, Ohio to Athens, Ohio in 2 days, covering over 180 miles. During this first ride, the two were able to raise over $1,600 for St. Jude's Research Hospital.
On June 25 of 2012, Mo and Gabe rode from Lakewood, Ohio to Chicago Illinois and raised funds and awareness for Good Works Inc. of Athens, Ohio. The 5 day ride spanned a little over 400 miles, camping and meeting nice and interesting personalities along the way.
Just last week, Rewarding Rides completed their third annual tour. This year's trip spanned 10 days and just under 500 miles, from Washington D.C. to Lakewood, Ohio. They utilized the C&O towpath and the Great Allegheny Passage to ride from Washington D.C. to Pittsburgh, and then continued riding for three more days towards Lakewood, Ohio. Throughout the ride, just as with the past rides, they hauled all food, clothes, bike/camping equipment on their bicycles. Captioned pictures of the ride below.
This year, they rode in support of, great and dear friend, Nick Vagi and family. Nick’s father, Ernie Vagi, Jr. suffered a brain aneurism this past February. He faced great adversity fighting for two weeks in the Neurological Intensive Care Unit before devastatingly succumbing to his condition and passing on February 23. Those who knew Ernie will attest to his kind heart and compassionate nature. While his family is holding strong and doing all that they can to cope with this tragic loss, they need all the love and support possible. That is why this year, Rewarding Rides reached out to their network of friends for help with this cause. Even the smallest donations will make a huge difference for their family in order to help cover the cost of medical bills. 100% of donations will go to the Vagi family. More importantly, please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. Monetary support only comes secondary to supporting the Vagi family.
As of May 21, 2013. Rewarding Rides has raised just over $2,300 to support the Vagi family. Though this year's ride has concluded, we will continue to collect donations until July 1st. You can donate through our website, www.rewardingrides.org/upcoming-ride. At that time, we will begin to turn our focus to the 2014 ride. We will utilize social media (www.facebook.com/rewardingrides) (www.twitter.com/rewardingrides) and our website (www.rewardingrides.org) to let our supporters and followers decide the destination for our next ride.
Along the ride, we found kind people offering support, praise, and assistance. Our first night we ran into thunderstorms which caused us to stop riding early. The kind family that runs White's Ferry Grille offered us shelter under their outdoor pavilion for the night. A multitude of bike shop owners offered their expertise and, at times, discounted supplies, services, or snacks. We shared multiple laughs, stories, food, and miles with the three guys we met from Catholic University of America, which was the highlight of our trip. In Ohiopyle, PA we met a gracious server at a pub named Ty. He humored us with many of laughs, extensive amounts of food, and invited us back to Ohiopyle to take part in one of his guided whitewater rafting tours. In Pittsburgh we stayed with highschool friend Julia Millman and long time friend Mahdi Daud. We shared many laughs, and reminisced about the days as far back as grade school. On multiple occasions we astonished men twice our size by the extensive amounts of food that we were capable of eating in one sitting. Overall, even through the multitude of delays, setbacks, and inclement weather, the ride was one that was fun and memorable. We are thankful to our family, friends, and supporters for aiding us along the way and to Mr. Vagi for watching over us. I am still astonished to think that each time storms hit, we found shelter in towns before we became drenched.