Excitement filled the air at Elden Elementary last Friday.
Students lined the bus circle in eager anticipation for the arrival of almost 100 bicyclists participating in the Finger Lakes Ride for Missing Children. Cyclists rode two by two escorted by police, complete with flashing lights, sirens blaring and students cheering. Baker students even poured out of the high school to cheer on the cyclists.
The Finger Lake Ride raises money to support the New York branch of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children education programs, which was presented to students in the weeks prior to the riders' visit. Elden was one of six rest stops along the 100-mile route taken by the cyclists.
"The ride is not a race but a team fundraising effort," said Chris Arnold, adding that the work done includes education of children and adults on how to keep kids safe, and their recovery efforts in conjunction with State and Federal authorities once a child has been declared missing.
Arnold, along with Tracey Menapace, both Baldwinsville residents and parents of children in the Baldwinsville Central school district, rode in the 100-mile race. Menapace also visited Elden prior to the race with her bike to let the students know what to expect. Mark Perrin, of The Bikery on Van Buren Road, also supported the ride by volunteering his mechanical services to the riders if they had a bike problem along the way.
Stop at Elden
Having been involved with the event since it began, Arnold helped get the Ride in contact with the school district to bring the education program and the ride to Baldwinsville.
"I think the spectacle of the riders coming into the school, led by the police cars and motorcycles, is a lot of fun for the kids and is a nice complement to the education component of the program that they've had prior to the day of the Ride," he said.