"I’ve heard United Way people talk about ‘Give-Advocate-Volunteer’, but it didn’t really sink in until about halfway into the ride. It was at that point that it made sense – I was being an advocate by participating, and volunteering my time for a purpose bigger than me."

"I knew going into the ride that it would be tough, but I couldn’t have been happier with the support and how it all turned out, especially at the finish! I’ll definitely be on the lookout for it again next year."

Ride United Featured Rider:
Jonathan Pate
Director of Residence Life,
Baker College of Muskegon

Why did you choose to ride in a past Ride United?

“I chose to ride in the 2013 Ride United event for both fundraising and personal health goals. I thought it would be a great challenge to ride such an extreme distance. I've always wanted to ride the bike trails more extensively and Ride United gave me that opportunity as well. I will say though that I'll need to do a bit more training for 2014!”

What was your favorite moment/experience from the previous ride event?

“I completed the 50 mile trek to Lake Michigan then out to Ravenna. My favorite part of the ride was the more leisurely pace that existed during the first 15 miles out to Lake Michigan and back to Heritage Landing. The scenery was fantastic! During my ride out to Ravenna and back I teamed up with another solo rider and we paced each other, worked well in creating a draft, and encouraging one another to finish strong. I would have struggled mightily without his help.”

What are you looking forward to for this year’s Ride United?

“Now that I have experienced the Ride United event, I am most looking forward to recruiting colleagues to join me in 2014. I especially like the fact that it's on a Saturday. I may even convince my wife to ride along on one of the shorted legs of the ride.”

How long have you been an avid rider?

“I don't consider myself an avid distance rider. Rather I enjoy thoroughly enjoy embarking on shorter rides especially along the Lakeshore path. Having lived in and around Muskegon for 8 years, I've taken the opportunity to ride my bicycle around the city and along the bike paths countless times.”

What would you tell someone who is considering riding with us in September 2014?

“I would encourage anyone considering the Ride United to first, challenge themselves to a longer distance than they may be accustomed to and second, train, train, train. My training regimen was not that long or strict and my legs felt the effect of the race the next day. I would also suggest taking your bicycle to one of the local bike shops for a tune up just prior to the event. They can help identify and resolve any issues that may crop up during your 25, 50, or 100 mile ride.”

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