Battling Hunger and helping the homeless becomes a family practice for local doctor.

Local physician Harry Chaikin prescription for happiness – a 7 year ride for the homeless.

When Dr Harry Chaikin began riding for the Mission he never dreamed it would turn into a  7-year odyssey. Now you might say it has become a family practice. He started off doing the ride with his daughter and now six years later, it's just Harry and his wife Sarah. After this weekend, Dr. Harry will have officially logged in 1,400 miles for the hungry. Not to mention the countless miles he sets aside to prepare for this endurance ride each year.

Here is a journal of Dr. Harry's preparation and account of this latest 2013 ride for the Mission.

Dear friends,

This year I was almost waylaid from the Battle Against Hunger tour when a poorly visioned automobile driver struck my bike while I was doing a prep ride out near Hammonton last Monday.  He was making a left turn into a convenience store and somehow didn’t see me riding on the shoulder.  Thankfully he only touched my back wheel but that did send me to the ground resulting in some serious “road rash” (abrasions) to my lower leg and hip and nasty scrapes of my knuckles.  I did not have any deeper injuries to my musculoskeletal system and the bike only suffered some loss of handlebar tape and paint on a pedal.  But two days later it appeared that an infection was setting into my hand below the knuckles.  My hand was getting more tender, warm, and swollen.  But after taking some self-prescribed antibiotic pills, it began to look better.

So Sarah and I headed out to Gettysburg together with a newly recruited local to do the tour.  It turned out to be a beautiful weather weekend for riding.  The first day I could feel it in my hand with each bump that I hit but otherwise I had no other medical issues.  (However another of our riders did go down when his wheel got caught in a fissure on a bridge and ended up breaking his clavicle!)  I was beginning to “hit the wall” on the last 10 miles or so after some 5,950 feet of climbing hills and a total of 103 miles heading into Lancaster but finished after some 10 hours of riding.  That evening as a group the 30 riders and 20 support folks like Sarah shared a celebratory dinner where I had the honor of giving a “mini-sermon” over the meal.

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel the next day but I awoke feeling stronger than I ever have after the first day of the Tour with little tiredness in my legs.  Even my hand felt better.  I spent much of the day riding with another rider Arie who like myself didn’t like to hang out at the rest stops too long.  After 5 minutes or so of using the facilities, topping off water bottles, and grabbing some peanut butter and/or fruit snacks, I begin to tighten up.  We often got in and out of the stops while other faster riders were lounging about.  Arie was demanding though.  My daughter Katie and her husband Ian met me at the lunch stop near Valley Forge close to where they live and after 15 minutes, Arie was telling them their father needed to get on the road now!  A lot of the second day involves much steeper climbs than the rolling hills of the first day but my legs did not let me down.  Arie and I finished the 104 mile day with 6200 feet of climbing as the second and third riders in.

We relaxed while the other riders dribbled in to the staging area near Washington’s Crossing—some on their bikes, some having been SAG’ed the last miles.  We all then rode into the park together to the celebratory “finish line” activities.

It was certainly a success for me and also for the Atlantic City Rescue Mission as together you and I raised more than $2,000 for the cause.  Thanks so much for your continued support on this my 7th year tour!  If I continue to feel this strong and can continue to avoid reckless drivers, I look forward to participating in this most worthwhile event next year and beyond.

Your rider,

Harry Chaikin

 P.S. It would be wonderful to see more local riders come out for this annual 200-mile event. if you would like to participate next year, email Battle Agains Hunger Tour committee for more details.

If you would like to make a donation to Atlantic City Rescue Mission, they accept food clothes and financial contributions. Call 609-345-5515 or vist theire webpage at — Please make my Mission yours!


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