Pastor Pocono rides cross-country bike for the Bowery mission
Call Charles “Chuck” Monts a man on a mission – with God by his side.
Pastor of the Pleasant Valley Presbyterian Church in Brodheadsville, Monts is cycling across the country starting Wednesday to raise funds for the Bowery Mission in New York City.
So far, he has received over $ 6,700 in donations.
Monts, 62, has worked with the organization for several years.
On the campaign’s donation page, he says he was inspired to âsee firsthand the important services they provide to the hungry, the homeless and the troubled; and working with the exceptional staff and leadership of (TBM) who serve those in need with such radical hospitality; responsiveness to ever-changing needs and crises within the surrounding community, such as the COVID-19 pandemics and the ongoing injustice, inequality and racism faced by the poor and people of color.
Going on a 3,000 mile cross-country bike trek is no easy task (even for the toughest of athletes), but it’s a lifelong dream and something he’s already done.
In 1978, he and a friend cycled from Philadelphia to San Francisco to raise money for another charity.
He says it was an incredible adventure and that âraising $ 7,000â wasn’t too bad for two kids in the 1970s.
This time around, Monts and his wife, Deb, fly to Las Vegas where they will pick up a car they bought so she can drive behind him.
After collecting the vehicle, the Bushkill-based couple will then travel to Los Angeles where Monts will begin their journey back east to New York.
He’ll be riding his bike every day, only taking off on Sunday and one day in the middle of the week.
âI average about 80 miles a day – sometimes 60 miles, and some days 100 miles,â Monts said. âI hope there are days when I go more downhill than uphill – and there are also days in the Midwest that are flat.â
Since it travels from west to east, there is a âteardrop windâ which will make driving easier.
He also has a special safety helmet, unlike the terry cloth hat he wore on his ride in his youth.
Even with Deb following on highways and back roads, Monts should be aware at all times.
âIt really is a bike ride of faith because you follow the traffic and can’t turn around,â he said. âYou cycle with traffic so your bike is with traffic and you just have to trust all the cars, trucks and RVs that will see you and give you enough space. Cycling is not only a lot of work, it is also a stressor on your mental health. Look out for stones, glass, sticks and potholes. ”
It took a lot of planning to pull together the effort, including making phone calls and emailing several churches across the country asking for shelter.
âI call churches daily. There are cities without churches … in the West, some are just (in) a gas station. I spent two nights in Los Angeles and found a church that accommodates us, and the good news is I’m in Illinois with nights, which is great.
Then, of course, there was the rigorous training.
Already passionate about cycling, Monts has prepared himself with plenty of cardio, as well as bike rides in the Pocono mountains.
âMy training has been constant for years. I’ve been training intentionally maybe for the last 10 years to try and get back in shape. Then I started riding my bike to work when I was working at the Bowery Mission – got up at 4 a.m. and rode 16 miles to work all the way to Manhattan. Since August of last year I was cycling 32 miles a day and then since moving to Pennsylvania I have been working hard on the rower which is a really good piece of equipment because it is a workout for the whole body and your heart.
He will use two bikes, both donated, known in the cycling world as âroad bikesâ.
âA road bike has a thinner tire and it’s smooth, so you don’t get as much lag, not as much friction, so when you’re going long distances you get more out of every revolution of your crankset. â, Said Monts.
Along the many towns he will cycle through, he plans to publicize the Bowery Mission, which was founded in 1879 and is known as New York’s oldest Christian rescue mission.
âIt’s very humiliating to be 62 and begging for charity,â said Monts, noting that he hopes to spread the word and gain attention for the campaign with the help of newspaper coverage. in as many cities as possible â.
“And if the churches get to know me better and have an event where they have a small number of people together – the overnight stays, which is two per week, I think that can generate donations.” Said Monts.
To make a donation and learn more about the mission, visit my.bowery.org/fundraiser/3166566
– Micaela Hood is a lifestyle reporter for the USA TODAY Network Mid-Atlantic Features team and is based at the Pocono Record. Contact her by sending an email to [email protected]