Motorcycle enthusiasts usually aren’t the first folks that come to mind when you think about advocates for the environment.
But for the 14th year, a group of dedicated bikers will ride the scenic backroads of the upper Raritan River watershed in Hunterdon, Somerset and Morris counties next month to raise funds for watershed watchdog Raritan Headwaters.
The “Ride for the River,” a 60-mile motorcycle poker run, will be held on Saturday, June 10, leaving from the Spruce Run Recreation Area in Clinton Township between 9 to 11 a.m. There will be a picnic lunch at the end of the run.
“It’s a nice, leisurely ride highlighting the beauty of the watershed,” said Amy Greene, who organizes the event with her husband, John Belle. “Every year, John develops a different route of about 60 miles. We like to cross as many rivers as we can.”
“Not surprisingly, we ride on a lot of roads called ‘River Road,’” added Belle.
Riders can arrive at Spruce Run anytime between 9 and 11 a.m. and enjoy coffee and a light breakfast before taking to the road. “Riders don’t have to leave all at once. It’s not timed, so they can leave whenever they want between 9 and 11,” explained Greene.
In a poker run, riders make five stops along the route, collecting a card at each stop. By the last stop, they have enough cards for a full poker hand. Prizes go to the three riders with the best hands at the end of the ride.
According to Belle, the Ride for the River takes about two and a half hours, between the riding and the poker stops. A picnic lunch, bike show and music will await participants upon their return to Spruce Run where they can meet up with friends and family members who want to join the group to enjoy the park and lunch.
Greene and Belle are Flemington residents, devoted environmental advocates and avid motorcyclists. They have co-chaired the Ride for the River since its inception in 2003 as a fundraiser for the South Branch Watershed Association, which merged with the Upper Raritan Watershed Association in 2011 to form Raritan Headwaters.
“We are so grateful to John and Amy for taking the lead on this great event every year. Their commitment to the environment is well placed in preserving the watershed and they are a pleasure to work with” notes Jody Marcus, development coordinator for RHA.
“Over the years, we’ve had hundreds of riders and have probably raised about $150,000,” said Greene. “The ride also raises awareness about the watershed, and where water drains within the watershed.”
The cost is $30 per rider/passenger, and includes an event T-shirt, breakfast and lunch. The cost for non-riders to attend just the picnic is $15 per person. The event will be held rain or shine. To pre-register and get more information, go to https://www.raritanheadwaters.org/about-us/special-events/ride-for-the-river/.
Sponsors are being sought for Ride for the River. Anyone interested in becoming a sponsor should contact Jody Marcus at firstname.lastname@example.org or 908-234-1852, ext. 320.
Funds raised by the Ride for the River will be used to support RHA’s mission to protect water in our rivers, streams and homes.