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Reflections from The 2016 Ride for Missing Children [PHOTOS & VIDEO]

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For anyone who is considering participating in “The Ride for Missing Children,” it is the experience of a lifetime. From the actual bike ride to the multiple stops at area schools, the memories made will last a lifetime. The mission of this ride and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is “Making Our Children Safer, One Child At A Time.” That was the theme that has continued on for 20 years.

From the opening ceremony at NYS Police Troop D in Oneida to the closing ceremonies at The New Hartford Rec Center, the emotional roller coaster is one that never seems to end. During the course of the day, riders hear stories of children and their families being torn apart. "Making Our Children Safer…One Child At A Time…"Hundreds of students and spectators line the streets to cheer on and support the team dressed in blue, pink, and white. The silent tributes along the course filled the eyes of participants with tears, constantly reminding all of them why they chose this hundred mile journey.

This year’s ride included over 500 cyclists. Among the over 500 participating were riders from CABVI (Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired). Several visually impaired riders were up for the task and work hard to train for the event. One thing was for sure, they didn’t want any special treatment, and asked for no special accommodations. Children from CABVI also participated in the last 5 miles of the ride. It was amazing to see this great Central New York organization support another.

As the ride came to the conclusion of it’s 20th year, it was an amazing sight to see as Genesee Street and Oxford Road were filled with people cheering the riders on as they made their way to the end of a long physical and emotional journey. There is no better feeling than a community joined together in an effort to protect our children from the evils of this world. If the thought has ever entered your mind to get involved, either as a rider or volunteer, it is a day you will not soon forget.

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