Jill MacLaren, of East Stroudsburg, calls the annual St. Luke’s Hospice Bike Ride the “happiest day of my year.” This event is when she celebrates the life of her late husband, Scott, while helping to raise money for St. Luke’s Hospice education and bereavement programs.
This year’s fundraiser, titled “A Ride to Remember,” takes place June 5, starting and finishing on the D&L National Heritage Trail in Lehighton.
Michelle Udicious, director of outreach and referral management for St. Luke’s Hospice, says she expects 200-250 riders to participate in this year’s rain-or-shine ride, which was cancelled in 2020 because of COVID. In its 10th year, the fundraiser raises about $15,000 annually, all of which supports Hospice programming.
Scott MacLaren, was an avid cyclist, who rode in the inaugural Hospice event in 2011, then succumbed to cancer five years later. Each year since 2016—except 2020—Jill has rounded up a group of riders, she calls “Scott’s Birthday Riders,” who lead the Bike Ride. Her husband would have turned 69 this year.
“Scott’s legacy lives on through this event,” says Jill, who expects 15-20 cyclists to join her on this easy-going trail trip, which pushes off at 10 a.m. from the trailhead at 200 North Main Lane, Lehighton.
According to Udicious, “This event allows bike enthusiasts of all abilities to participate in either a 20- or 30-mile ride. After starting in Lehighton, the riders traverse riverbeds and the canal towpath, as well as some paved sections. The riders will see museums, an environmental center and beautiful views of the Blue Mountains, Appalachian Trail and Lehigh Gap.”
Volunteers hand out water and snacks on the way. There are turnarounds at Slatington and Treichlers, marking the 10- and 20-mile segments. Riders each receive a t-shirt and a full boxed lunch upon return—to enjoy there or to go.
People can take a “virtual” ride if they chose not to participate in the in-person event but rather to log their miles and forward their donation to St Luke’s Hospice.
Jill and Scott were well-known jewelers in East Stroudsburg, who owned a gallery on Chrystal Street.
“People knew and loved Scott, but even people who didn’t know him ride, too.” She estimates that her group has raised a total of $2,000 for Hospice during this biking event. Jill throws a birthday picnic for her late husband after the ride at the trailhead, complete with festively decorated cupcakes.
St. Luke’s events are required to adhere to current CDC guidelines and protocols such as masking, hand washing, cleaning and sanitizing and modified layout to ensure appropriate social distancing. Messaging will go out to all event participants so they are aware of current protocols, and signage will be placed throughout the event promoting these safety measures.
To register for the St. Luke’s Hospice Bike Ride, visit St. Luke's - St. Luke’s Hospice 10th Annual Charity Bike Ride- A Ride to Remember (slhn.org)
NEW this year: Option of creating a personal fundraising page where you can share your story with family and friends on social media/text/email. Information on this peer to peer fundraising option will be emailed with registration confirmation email from St Luke’s. CLICK TO CREATE MY PERSONAL PAGE