Police Unity Tour 2013: The Countdown & Training

PUT

Well, its only 60 days until the start of the 2013 Police Unity Tour (PUT) in East Hanover, New Jersey. Its about this time that I start to panic that I have not done enough training or ridden enough miles.

Those of you who have followed this blog for a long time will know that I have had the honour of riding with the Police Unity Tour in 2010, 2011, and 2012.

The ride is now in its 17th year and is a ride by Law Enforcement Officers to raise funds for the memory of Officers killed in the line of duty. The history of the PUT is set out on their website

Our History

In May 1997 the Police Unity Tour was organized, by Officer Patrick P. Montuore of the Florham Park Police Department, with the hope of bringing public awareness of Police Officers who have died in the line of duty and to honor their sacrifices.

We started with 18 riders on a four day fund-raising bicycle ride from Florham Park, NJ to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC. which raised $18,000.00. This May we had nearly 1600 members nationwide who made the trip, and we are proud to announce that we were able to donate over 1.65 Million Dollars to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, bringing our total donations to nearly 12 Million Dollars.

In late 2005, the Police Unity Tour pledged $5 Million in support of the National Law Enforcement Museum.  Inspired by our commitment and our motto, “WE RIDE FOR THOSE WHO DIED” the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund has selected our organization to be the sponsor of the Museum’s Hall of Remembrance.

Having completed the $5 Million commitment to the Museum in 2009 the Police Unity Tour dedicated the 2010 ride to the restoration of the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. The $1.1 Million restoration project includes the re-engraving, coating and sealing of the 18,983 names on the memorial as well as the cleaning of the walls and other memorial improvements

 

The ride is a very special event on many levels. For some people it is riding in memory of a relative or fellow officer who has died in the course of his duty. There is often a large turnout from officers in a police department where one of their colleagues have died. Some of those riding are relatives of those killed who do the ride as a pilgrimage to their loved ones.

Riding the 300 or so miles from East Hanover to Washington DC, you spend a lot of time chatting whilst pedalling along. The stories you hear are at the same time both heartbreaking and uplifting. Some people have never ridden a bike any distance before learning of the PUT. Their efforts and dedication to colleagues or loved ones is uplifting and inspirational.

This year, I am honoured to have been asked to ride in memory of two officers killed in the last year. One was a US Postal Service Inspector who died whilst investigating a fraud relating to Hurricane Katrina. He is Preston Boyd Parnell and the reason I am riding in his memory is because the person that introduced me to the PUT and who has roomed with me for the last two year (& this year coming as well) – Mike T  Rae- is also a US Postal Service Inspector. I am also honoured to have been invited to attend a memorial service/ ceremony to this officer at the US Postal Service Offices in Washington after we arrive in DC.

I have also been asked by a friend who is a police officer in Colorado to ride in memory of one of her colleagues who was accidentally killed by so called friendly fire in Lakewood near Denver, Colorado. The significance of this is that the officer Jeffrey James Davies is actually an Englishman who had married an American lady and settled with her and their two children in Colorado. I understand the deceased’s father will be there in Washington DC to attend the memorial ceremony & to meet us. I am always moved at how grateful the relatives of fallen officers are at us for riding in the PUT. It is humbling as all I am doing is what I enjoy – namely riding my bike. The only thing I do is to try to raise sponsorship.

Please Donate to this Worthwhile Cause

 

 

So, what of my training so far. Well, I’ve really only ridden to/ from work this year. Even then, not even every day. I have done two Sunday rides with a friend of 43 and 50 miles respectively. I had not done a 50 mile ride last year before I went to the USA for the PUT. The comparative figures are

 

Time Period Count Distance Time Elevation Gain Avg Speed Calories
May 2012 5 48.1 03:47:48 863 12.7 1,895
Apr 2012 27 525.53 56:33:48 10,368 9.3 20,657
Mar 2012 40 727.14 57:51:05 12,270 12.6 28,687
Feb 2012 25 329.74 33:21:41 5,656 9.9 15,551
Jan 2012 31 528.73 44:11:38 10,108 12 23,519
Summary 128 2,159.24 195:45:59 39,265 11 90,310
             
             
Time Period Count Distance Time Elevation Gain Avg Speed Calories
May-13            
Apr-13            
Mar 2013 14 257.27 19:21:39 4,163 13.3 10,854
Feb 2013 29 454.06 34:44:42 7,605 13.1 20,037
Jan 2013 30 428.08 35:25:16 7,651 12.1 17,950
Summary 73 1,139.41 89:31:37 19,419 12.7 48,841

 

The first thought is I am on course to equal the mileage I had in 2012 before going to the USA, but I need to increase the mileage between now and May like I did last year. The cold and wet weather does not encourage one to ride extra. Tomorrow it is expected to feel like –9C at the time I should be commuting to work and –7C at the time I am due to ride home from work.

I will get the mileage in, its the least that I can do given the sacrifices made by those I am riding in memory of.

 

Please help me by making a donation to the cause via my first giving page. Even  a couple of pounds can make a big difference. Alternatively donations can be made by sending cheques payable to me or cash to Peter Bennett, 148  Chester Road, ILFORD, Essex IG3 8PY.

Although my first giving page may be showing no donations, I have raised approximately 1/2 the $1750 target so far. Please help me get to the total as soon as possible.

Ground Hopping: AFC Hornchurch FC v Bath City FC Saturday 9th March 2013

Competition: Blue Square Bet Conference South

Date: 9th March 2013

Venue: Hornchurch Stadium, Hornchurch

Attendance: 340

 

Another new ground today. I had been hoping to head over to Ascot to see Ascot United FC v Shildon AFC in the FA Vase 6th round replay, but time was not on my side. After attending at Lea Valley Youth Cycling Club’s Saturday morning club session in my role at Child Welfare Officer, I would not have had sufficient time to drive across or round London from Essex to Berkshire so it was time to find another game to attend. Using the comprehensive fixture guide in the Non League Paper, I saw that AFC Hornchurch were playing at home to Bath City. This was very local to me and seemed a good opportunity, especially since my friend and long suffering Leyton Orient fan Greg lived in Hornchurch & we had previously talked about going to see them play.

Greg despite being busy for work decided to accompany me to the game. So we headed off to Hornchurch Stadium, me for my first visit, but Greg had been there before to watch his son play in a schoolboy cup final. First impressions of the area round the ground were that it was smarter than the area surrounding most football grounds.

The ground itself has numerous turnstiles, but only one of them was open and for some reason some were labelled A to F, but others were not labelled at all.

Turnstile(s) at AFC Hornchurch DSCF0009

Rather like Chelmsford City & Enfield Town, AFC Hornchurch play in an athletics Stadium, but unlike the above two clubs, the ground does not have temporary stands erected behind the goals to enable spectators to watch from there.

The first impression of the ground is a little misleading. It looks at first glance to be a little ramshackle with at least 2 different stands down each side of the ground. On the far side there are two small simple seated stands with a small amount of uncovered terracing at either end of the stands

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I think however, that first glance is a little unfair as the ground served it purpose. On the side nearest the turnstiles, there are a number of sections all covered, some temporary seating, a directors box and a covered terrace which was home to the Urchin’s vocal support. For a group that were small in numbers, they certainly made plenty of noise with almost 90 minutes of singing and drumming. A mixture of songs, supporting the Urchins (Depeche Mode’s “Just Can’t Get Enough” was a favourite) and songs taunting local rivals including Grays and Chelmsford City amongst others.

To be fair, there was a decent contingent up from Bath as well and they also made their presence known. It was great to see two sets of supporters getting behind their teams and inter reacting with each other without a police officer or heavy handed steward in sight.

The game itself was a fascinating affair. It was hard to believe Hornchurch were in the bottom three of the division. They created lots of chances, but seemed to have trouble finishing them. The Hornchurch number 9 made lots of good runs and got himself in excellent positions, but only scored once. The player that impressed most was the Hornchurch defender Alex Bentley. He was by far the best player on the pitch and could easily play at a much higher level. He was playing on the left side of a back three. Ironically Orient are desperately in need of a good left sided defender. Russell Slade could do worse than to take a look at him.

One thing I have not mentioned so far is the running track surrounding the pitch. As you know I do not like watching football from behind a running track, but the atmosphere created by both sets of fans, especially the Urchins small but vocal fans and the ability to stand on the terraces made it less unpleasant than normal.

Overall, it was a good day out, with a good standard of football and a loyal and vocal home crowd.If they play like they did today, it is hard to see that Hornchurch will not stay up. For £11 admission, it is good value for money and far more enjoyable than paying £40+ to watch Premiership football in a sterile atmosphere. At Hornchurch you can bring your pint with you on the terraces!

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The TV Gantry – Not as many cameras as Sky use

 

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The Sky Box in the BSB Conference South is less Glamorous than at Old Trafford

 

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Brings A New Meaning For “In the Net”

 

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Part of the Bath Travelling Support

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Watching Football From The Bar

 

 

Admission Price £11 (seating / standing all at same price)

Programme: £2.50

Tea £1.00