On Sunday, May 1, the Seamen’s Church Institute’s (SCI) President & Executive Director, the Rev. David M. Rider, sets off on a bike ride across New York as part of the TD Bank Five Boro Bike Tour. Rider has agreed to some intense peddling to raise money to purchase new exercise equipment for the Health and Wellness Center at SCI’s newly renovated Port Newark International Seafarers’ Center.
As one of the many services offered at the International Seafarers’ Center, SCI provides a fitness facility for seafarers, longshoremen, truckers, and other port workers—the only one of its kind in the port. Facilities like this provide maritime transportation workers, who labor long hours in confined spaces, a welcome respite from the rigors of the job.
In this spirit, SCI’s President & Executive Director will participate in some exercise of his own. The TD Bike Tour covers a 42-mile route. Coincidentally, SCI needs $42K to purchase fitness center equipment for those working in the East Coast’s largest port.
“The math works out to $1,000 per mile,” says Rider. “If we can get our friends to contribute that amount for each mile I bike on Sunday, we can furnish maritime workers with opportunities for fitness in the Port.”
Rider asks people to consider the value of this new equipment. “Imagine,” he says, “a seafarer who has a couple of precious hours off ship to work out after a long transit across the Atlantic; a truck driver who, after staying awake on I-95, rejuvenates between dropping off and picking up a container; or a dock worker with no time to get out of the Port keeps up with his or her fitness regime during a lunch break.”
In the coming 12 days, Rider seeks sponsorships for his five-borough journey. He readies his bike and body to be in top shape. Rider’s goal to create a healthy workplace for the Port may begin with his training but does not end at the Bike Tour’s finish line. He says, “With support from others, maritime transportation workers in the Port of New York and New Jersey continue where I leave off.”