A group of cyclists biking 1,500 miles to support charities that help fathers become more active in their kids’ lives made a pit stop in Commack Wednesday.
The second annual Dads Honor Ride kicked off on Memorial Day in Boston and will end in Chicago on Father’s Day.
Last year, the cycling campaign netted about $75,000 for local fatherhood charities. This year it hopes to raise about $150,000, said David Hirsch, the founder of the nonprofit 21st Century Dads, which organized the tour.
More than 30 riders are expected to participate on various days throughout this year’s three-week ride.
Hirsch, 55, of Barrington, Illinois, started the tour last year, when he rode 2,300 miles with a small team from Santa Monica to Chicago in an effort to raise awareness about what he termed father absence — a subject he said cuts close to home.
Hirsch said he started advocating 19 years ago after the birth of his fifth child. That’s when he began the Illinois Fatherhood Initiative, a nonprofit committed to getting dads involved in their children’s education.
“I know what it’s like when your father’s not in your life and the hole that leaves. There are about 24 million kids out there growing up without dads, and those kids are the ones more likely to have behavioral problems and engage in crime,” said Hirsch, who was raised by a single mother. “It’s why we need to break the cycle of father absence.”
Five cyclists participated on the third day of the 21-day, 1,500-mile tour. Wednesday morning the group took a ferry from Groton, Connecticut to Orient Point and from there biked “a beautiful, scenic 70 miles” to Commack, another Honor Ride participant, Jeff Jenkins, 48, of Kansas City, said.
“There are too many children growing up without their fathers and this is just a small thing we’re doing to try and bring awareness to change that,” said Jenkins, who will be riding seven days from Boston to Washington, D.C.
The funds raised will go to groups such as Baltimore-based Center for Urban Families and All Pro Dad, a national nonprofit that provides resources for new fathers.
The cyclists will set off early Thursday morning and head into Manhattan, where they’re expected at a reception held by UBS — one of the ride’s sponsors — and will end their day in Yardley, Pennsylvania.