Bike Trip

THREE LOCAL MEN — (from left to right): Kevin Neal, Bruce Brinker and Doug Henry — along with Kevin Myers (not pictured) of Cambridge Springs, will take part in a 350-mile bicycle ride Sept. 24-30 from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. to raise money for charity.

NEW BETHLEHEM – The idea actually originated several decades ago. That’s when a high-school aged Doug Henry was all set to embark on a bicycle ride to Washington, D.C. with Redbank Valley High School’s Gene Smith.

“But then I broke my leg and I couldn’t go,” said Henry, now pastor of the Leatherwood Church in Porter Township.

But that idea from 1991 never went away, and next week Henry and three others will make the 350-mile trip from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. in a ride to benefit local missionaries who have been working in Romania for years.

“Our church has supported them for over 20 years,” Henry said of Barnabas Ministries, which is operated by Dan and Maria Hurrelbrink who have Clarion County roots. He noted that he and other Leatherwood members have taken part in mission trips over the years to Romania. “But for the last year-and-a-half, we haven’t been able to do mission trips, so we wanted to help them out without being able to travel over there.”

Early this year, Henry said he was mentioning to people that his New Year resolution was to make the trip, and his plan was overheard by Kevin Neal of Cottage Hill, who offered to join in. Also coming on board were Bruce Brinker of Hawthorn and Kevin Myers of Cambridge Springs.

Their ride will run Sept. 24-30, starting off on the Great Allegheny Passage from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Md., and then onto the C&O Canal Towpath all the way into the Georgetown area of the nation’s capital.

“We will mostly being camping out in tents,” Henry said. “We’re carrying everything on the bikes.”

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He explained the quartet will also spend one night in a hotel along the way, mainly so they can have access to the laundry facilities; and one night in a cabin.

Siteseeing will also be part of the trip, with a 12-mile excursion through the Antietam Battlefield, a visit to historic Harper’s Ferry, time in Ohiopyle State Park and more. The group may also venture a little farther into Washington, D.C. at the end of the journey to see some of the sights before being picked up by Scott Gourley who will meet them there to drive the four men and their bikes back home.

The big component of the trip, Henry said, is the fundraising for the missionary work. Donors can make a flat donation, or pledge an amount for each mile the group pedals.

Henry said 100 percent of the donations will be sent to Barnabas Ministries, which is working on building a community playground in an impoverished village of Romania, as well as working toward building a church and community center.

“We’re nearing $4,000 in donations so far,” he said, adding that their goal is to reach at least $5,000 in donations for the trip.

Donations of checks made out to the Leatherwood Church can be mailed to 889 Church Road, New Bethlehem, PA 16242. Add “Bike Trip” on the check memo line.

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