In 1995, a team of seven cyclists rode their bicycles from Utica, NY to Washington, DC to raise awareness of missing children and bring a message of safety to the people they met along the way. They arrived on the steps of the Capitol building on May 25th, National Missing Children's Day. Two years later, inspired by that first ride, 43 cyclists rode their bicycles 100 miles from Albany, NY to Utica, NY with the same message of safety and awareness. Thus began the Rides for Missing Children.
The rides have grown steadily each year and now there are over 750 people participating in five separate rides in Utica, Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse and Albany. In 2014, Texas launched The Inaugural Texas Ride for Missing Children. The purpose of the rides is to:
- Honor all missing and exploited children.
- Raise funds to support prevention and education programs that help prevent child abduction and sexual exploitation.
What is unique about this charity Ride?
- The cyclists ride together at a team pace averaging 14-18 mph.
- The riders are escorted by local law enforcement, which means traffic is halted along the route.
- Riders visit schools along the route to greet children and offer information to raise awareness. The visits are electric as hundreds of children and adults cheer the riders as they enter the school grounds. This is the most gratifying aspect of the ride for most riders.
- During the ride NCMEC staff provide child safety education programs.