UnTapped co-founder Ted King rides his bike a lot. But one day, one ride, one event stands above the rest. Here, Ted explains his favorite ride of the year.
For the past thirteen years, when you flip my calendar to October, the third Saturday of the month has a big circle around it. That day is emphatically about family, fun, and friends. It doesn’t hurt that there is also pristine fall foliage, an excellent array of delicious food, a beer garden, often a climbing wall, and most notably a big bike ride to highlight it all. That day is the King Challenge, which is a ride I helped spearhead with our inaugural event taking place in 2011.
Growing up, my father’s energy was the foundation. He’d jump out of bed running to get our family out skiing, or we were on the move for father-son “bike hikes” (he’d run and my brother and I would ride bikes around our small town neighborhood and onto some gravel roads), or off to a day of work with a smile on his face and a dose of wisdom. “Try to make it a better day for somebody else!” would come echoing up from the garage as he was zipping off to work. Dad was fit, active, and passionate about seemingly everything he did.
He wrapped up a late night of work in late March 2003, went to bed, and woke up the next morning suffering a stroke. It was a transformative time in my life as I was a freshman in college as I watched the rug get ripped out from under him. As frequently as possible, I’d make the commute back home from across New England to be close to mom and dad to be as helpful as possible. Or, more accurately, just to be there.
Eventually, my dad became a member of the Krempels Brain Injury Center, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of those living with brain injury. It quickly became apparent to me just how much of a hidden epidemic brain injury is in modern society from trauma, tumor, or stroke. It’s life-changing for the patient and caregiver, plus has rippling effects for the rest of their lives.
Now zeroing in on our thirteenth year of the King Challenge, despite the dark day in March twenty years ago, this day is characterized by a bright sense of positivity. 300 or so cyclists gather and ride one of the three distances, 10, 30, or 60 miles, or adaptive ride thanks to Northeast Passage, all around the New Hampshire seacoast. UnTapped has long been a presence among the list of vendors to help fuel a crisp, colorful day out and about. Tim and Roger have been able to bring their families down from Vermont for the event over the years to help spread the joy of maple syrup.
Now under two weeks to go, New England’s weather turned decidedly “autumn” which means one thing, the King Challenge is right around the corner. This caps a busy, energetic, and travel-heavy year, and is a highlight of it all.
Join us on October 21 if you can make it to Stratham, NH! All information can be found at www.KingChallenge.org.