When most kids go for a bike ride with Mom or Dad, it’s usually around the neighborhood, down to the park and back or maybe into town to grab some ice cream, but that’s not usually the case for one local elementary schooler.
“My dad and I go on many training rides that are between 10 to 30 miles at a time. I eat good foods, like pasta and veggies, before all of my rides to give me energy,” said Ryder Murphy.
Ryder is putting in the miles getting ready for his second Seattle to Portland bike ride. He completed the more than 200-mile ride last year at age 7 and was the youngest finisher in the event that can attract upwards of 10,000 participants. The ride begins in Downtown Seattle and passes through Puyallup, Chehalis, Longview, St. Helen’s and many more beautiful locations before ending in the Rose City.
“I was proud and excited to be finishing the ride. One of my favorite things was beating my dad across the finish line,” said Ryder. “I really appreciated all the riders who encouraged me along the way. I think I encouraged them, too.”
Despite the huge swaths of cyclists, Ryder isn’t too difficult to spot through the crowds both due to his stature and his eye-catching blue Specialized Hotrock bike. He hopes even more people recognize him this year as he’s trying to bring awareness to hunger in Washington.
“I hope to also encourage other kids to get involved, so maybe one day families in Washington could have enough food—even more than enough food,” he said.
Ryder is partnering with Gig Harbor Peninsula FISH Food Bank and Community Service. The local nonprofit provides emergency food and clothing assistance, household goods, assistance paying utility bills, as well as counseling and summer camps for those in need. When he heard about how many people in his state go hungry each year, Ryder was determined to do what he could to help those in need.
“There are 1.8 million kids in Washington who don’t have enough food. Kids can help, and that’s what I’m trying to do,” he said.
If you aren’t able to make it to the 200-mile ride July 14 and 15, you can follow along with Ryder on his journey by checking out his Instagram handle @RyderOnABike. He’s hoping to make the community aware of just how many families are struggling and to inspire them to open up their wallets and help out however they can.
Donations can be made in person at GHP FISH, located at 4425 Burnham in Gig Harbor, or you can donate under Ryder’s cause at GHPFish.com/STPRyder.
What Ryder has accomplished at his age is amazing, and using his accomplishments to bring awareness to important issues in his community says a lot about the maturity of this young boy.
“After I complete the ride, I would love to see people say, ‘I want to help and be a part of this,’” said Ryder.