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Woodcliff Lake, NJ - Jewish Women Raise Over $534,000 In Marathon Bike Ride To Benefit Sick Kids (video)

Published on: July 7, 2015 06:08 PM
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At the start line early tis motrning in Woodcliff Lake, NJ (Shimon Gifter/VINnews.com)At the start line early tis motrning in Woodcliff Lake, NJ (Shimon Gifter/VINnews.com)

Woodcliff Lake, NJ - Morning came very early today for the 126 women who took part in this year’s Tour de Simcha, rolling out of the Hilton Woodcliff Lake in northern New Jersey at 6:30 AM for a 72 mile bike ride that has raised over half a million dollars for children with cancer.

The women and girls who rode in today’s event came from Chicago, Virginia, Baltimore, Montreal and all over the New York area, ranging in age from 11 to 66.  A diverse group of cyclists from all across the religious spectrum dressed in leggings, shorts and skirts of varying lengths and silhouettes, with some wearing snoods, bandanas and sheitels under their helmets, the riders were united by a common goal:  raising money for the children of Camp Simcha.

“Everyone is really doing it for the kids, ultimately,” Tour de Simcha director Mindy Tyner told VIN News.  “At the end of the day, there is nothing like fundraising and training an entire year for the cause and then riding into camp and seeing it firsthand and showing the kids that you are doing it for them.”

Watch below video as the women prepare their ride.

The ride began with Tefilas Haderech and six rest stops dotting the route in Sloatsburg, Monroe, Goshen, Port Jervis, Sparrow Bush and Glen Spey provided a welcome break, snacks and more for the cyclists.  Stocked with standard items including water, power bars, Gatorade, coconut water, fruit and powdered endurance beverages, certain rest stops also featured both food and fun, with a photo booth, the Klein’s ice cream truck, Rita’s ices, pickles, an Israeli nut stand. The final rest stop, located just a mile from the camp where all the riders gathered to meet for their grand entrance to Camp Simcha, boasted a carnival theme and offered massages for bone weary cyclists.

Like the men’s Bike 4 Chai ride, Tour de Simcha participants received an assortment of gear including jerseys and towels, with several items produced exclusively for the women’s event including headbands, pre-tied bandanas and lip balm necklaces.  Tznius was of paramount importance for some who over the years have come up with attire that allows them to go the distance without compromising on their religious standards and jerseys were available in a choice of long, short or three quarter length sleeves.

“I used to spend my whole time riding pulling down my skirt, but now I can focus on what’s on the road in front of me,” said Esther Lebovic of Lawrence who was wearing a “skant” with her Tour de Simcha jersey, a bubble like skirt that provides for both maximum movement and coverage.

Baila Caller of Brooklyn was wearing a medium-weight skirt with just a slight flare at the bottom, giving her the ability to pedal with no worries.

“After a lot of different rides and skirts I found what works for me,” said Caller.

Tour de Simcha was the brainchild of Libby Akerman of Monsey who noted that women also wanted to have a Bike 4 Chai-like opportunity to raise money for Camp Simcha.  Akerman estimated that there were 40 women who rode in the first Tour de Simcha, which continues to evolve with each passing year.

At 11 years old, Baila Wymore (R) was the youngest Tour de Simcha rider, cycling the race with her mother Tricia.(C)At 11 years old, Baila Wymore (R) was the youngest Tour de Simcha rider, cycling the race with her mother Tricia.(C)

“Honestly, it’s beyond my wildest dreams,” said Akerman.  “It’s growing every year and it’s getting younger and way more exciting and the energy is just insane.”

Dasi Gobioff, the official captain for Brooklyn riders, was this year’s top fundraiser, bringing in $36,000.  Gobioff has raised $72,024 for Camp Simcha as a four year veteran of Tour de Simcha and was clad entirely in purple, wearing a long purple sheitel and a purple helmet.  Her handlebars were wrapped in purple tape and a purple balloon bearing her name was tied to her bike with a long purple ribbon.

Asked if she might get hot in her purple skinsuit that covered her entire body except for her face Gobioff replied, “It’s all in your mind.”

“If mein Tatte can trug a ruk un a Homburg in 120 degree weather, I can ride in a morphsuit,” added Gobioff.

At 11 years old, Baila Wymore was the youngest Tour de Simcha rider, cycling the race with her mother Tricia.  Baila said she didn’t know if she expected to complete the entire race, and support vans throughout the route were available to transport riders to the final rest stop as needed.

Jenn Najdek of BB Cycling, which worked with Chai Lifeline on the event, was manning the Sloatsburg rest stop at 7:30 this morning.  This was the second time that Najdek has taken part in Tour de Simcha.

“It is amazing to me how much money they can raise for 126 riders,” said Najdek.

Najdek called her first ever visit to Camp Simcha last year an incredibly emotional experience.

“It was really hard,” admitted Najdek.  “I’ve never seen so many sick kids but they have such a great time. They put on such a show for them.  Some of them are so little and I saw these poor little kids who go through so much and it is amazing to see them smile.”

Monsey resident Roselyn Feinsod, a senior partner and east regional practice leader at Aon Hewitt, is a three year veteran of Tour de Simcha who has completed multiple marathons.

“This is the best finish line in the entire world,” said Feinsod.  “I’ve run the New York City marathon four times, there are millions of spectators, but there is nothing like the finish line at Camp Simcha and coming into those kids and dancing with them, just getting off your bikes, throwing your helmets on the floor and just dancing with the kids in circles.  It’s just unbelievable.”

Dasi Gobioff, the official captain for Brooklyn riders. (Shimon Gifter/VINnews.com)Dasi Gobioff, the official captain for Brooklyn riders. (Shimon Gifter/VINnews.com)

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Read Comments (14)  —  Post Yours »

2

 Jul 07, 2015 at 07:18 PM PowerUp Says:

The amount raised is impressive, gotta give that.

3

 Jul 07, 2015 at 08:50 PM A Says:

Kol Hakovod ladies, great job!

5

 Jul 07, 2015 at 09:02 PM Esther Says:

Ladies,you are awesome!!!

7

 Jul 07, 2015 at 09:56 PM ydeneydene Says:

I barely see just very few of non tsnius!! מי כעמך ישרא-ל. I just started counting on guidance of an organization about a medical issue. Their resources ideas support ( besides that some orgsnizations need the money too...) is measurable. Just because עס פאסט דיר נישט?

8

 Jul 07, 2015 at 11:16 PM Anonymous Says:

Amazing people!!!!! All Jewish girls should look up to these women who trained for so long to help jewish kids they don't even know!!! awesome!!!

9

 Jul 08, 2015 at 10:30 AM BLONDI Says:

Kol hakavod. Amazing to do in this weather. Hope they drink water and don't get dehydrated.

10

 Jul 08, 2015 at 11:17 AM HAPPY12 Says:

Where is Dasi's helmet? As the head of the Brooklyn riders she should set an example.

11

 Jul 08, 2015 at 11:29 AM Leiba Says:

I am responding as a mother of one of the participants. My daughter rode for the third (fourth?) time this year. She is a busy working woman and mother, yet she put in hours of training time, left her baby for a day, and missed a very close family simcha for this special cause. Raising the money is difficult and does not come naturally. Yet, she is inspired to do it again and again. She comes back each time moved beyond words by the children at the camp.
We can always find fault with the things people do as nothing will ever be perfect, especially for someone who is looking to criticize. Why not look at the special dedication shown by these women? There's so much to learn from them and to respect. CS, I'm proud of you!

12

 Jul 08, 2015 at 11:42 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
ydeneydene Says:

I barely see just very few of non tsnius!! מי כעמך ישרא-ל. I just started counting on guidance of an organization about a medical issue. Their resources ideas support ( besides that some orgsnizations need the money too...) is measurable. Just because עס פאסט דיר נישט?

An amazing organization. The camp they run is the ONLY kosher camp for kids with cancer, for kids with life threatening illnesses, for kids with chronic conditions that other camps have turned away because "they are too sick". Camp Simcha has basically a hospital on site- so any kid can go safely. Camp is many time the only thing to get kids through chemo. Through treatments. They know that if they can do it and get out of the hospital- they are going to the most magical place on Earth. Plus Chai Lifeline supports the families all year. ALL year. Dinner when they are in a medical crises. Financial. Birthdays. Yartzeits. Insurance. Fun parties. Parent support. Big brothers and sisters (for the siblings too!!!). Counseling. Tutors. Links to the classroom so the kids stuck at home can feel a part of their class. You think it- they have helped with it.

13

 Jul 08, 2015 at 06:10 PM StamAYid Says:

Reply to #10  
HAPPY12 Says:

Where is Dasi's helmet? As the head of the Brooklyn riders she should set an example.

You can see in the video that she's wearing one for the actual ride. Just wasn't on for photos prior to start.

14

 Jul 08, 2015 at 06:26 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #10  
HAPPY12 Says:

Where is Dasi's helmet? As the head of the Brooklyn riders she should set an example.

Dasi wore a purple helmet! The picture without helmet was before the ride just for the interview

15

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