The Birthday Bike Ride Challenge

What follows is a diversion from the political madness and (perhaps) an opportunity for you to donate to a favorite cause.   In just a few days I will turn 78, and on or around my birthday I will once again attempt to bike my age.  This will be my 9th consecutive attempt, and, while I was successful the first eight times, as a stock prospectus is required to state, “Past performance is not indicative of future results.”

The ride doesn’t get any easier for two obvious reasons:  Every year the distance increases, and every year I am a year older.  An athletic nephew has suggested that it might be time to consider switching to kilometers; to be honest, there are mornings when yards would be a challenge!

However, last year I managed 83 miles, which I guess means I have 6 miles in the bank, plus 2 miles stored up from the year I was supposed to bike 73 and went 75.




Last year I challenged readers to donate $77 to their preferred cause if I made it, and many of you accepted the challenge.  You reported donating $90,000, an astounding sum!  However, my friend and noted author Jim Loewen (“Lies My Teacher Taught Me,” “Sundown Towns”) generously earmarked $77,000 of his annual donation to Tougaloo College, the HBCU in Mississippi, in my name and said I could count it toward the total, which I did.

Still, $13,000 is a pretty cool number.

Last year I suggested Planned Parenthood as a recipient, and that’s an even better idea this time around.

The Network for Public Education does important work on behalf of teachers and strong public schools (and also for “the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party”).

I’m impressed by the fledgling Coalition of Independent Public Charter Schools, a group that is trying to get charter schools to behave honorably (which, unfortunately, many do not do.)

As a former education reporter, I’d be happy if you chose to donate to the Education Writers Association,  The Hechinger Report, or Chalkbeat, three organizations that improve the quality of education reporting and contribute mightily to the public’s understanding of the enterprise.

Finally, if you want to give me a birthday present, please send a copy of my book, “Addicted to Reform: A 12-Step Program to Rescue Public Education,” to friends of yours who still believe in the faux ‘Education Reforms’ of George W. Bush (“No Child Left Behind”) and Barack Obama (“Race to the Top”).   While it is obvious that the Trump Administration is hostile to public education, his predecessors did incalculable damage with their embrace of ‘test and punish’ accountability and largely unaccountable charter schools.  As I argue in the book, schools have to stop asking, “How Smart Is This Child?” and ask instead, “How Is This Child Smart?”

If you think you might want to ride with me (and one of my daughters, bless her), send me an email at

I will let you know the outcome, one way or another.  If you will tell me about your donation(s), I will keep a running tab….

And thanks for reading this far. Now I have to go stuff myself with pasta!!

3 thoughts on “The Birthday Bike Ride Challenge

  1. I had just donated $100 to Planned Parenthood so you can count it towards your birthday ride…I think changing to kilometers sounds swell!😘

    > Karen Hein MD > PO Box 607 > 1234 Maple Hill Lane > Jacksonville, VT 05342 > 802 368-7568 > > NYC (part time) > Hudson View Gardens D63 > 116 Pinehurst Ave > NY, NY 10033 > 917 856-3894 > > “What day is it?” > “It’s today,” squeaked Piglet. > “My favorite day,” said Pooh. > — A.A. Milne



  2. So far, I have heard from about planned donations from about 20 people, and their total seems to be about $2500. Remember, you choose the worthy organization. I’m just trying to provide an excuse for you to tap into your inner generosity…..


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