Hi! I'll be captaining again for the 9th time in a row for the Blue Card 5 Boro Bike team. This is why I ride for the Blue Card....
My father, Emil Wildman, was a Holocaust survivor. He came over with his parents and siblings by boat in '39 to Cuba, since the US was not taking refugees from Germany at the time. (As they said then, "America First".) Once the world started figuring out what happened, they came through Ellis Island in '40 and settled in the Bronx.
Growing up in NYC, my dad made sure that his kids always had enough, and that they had what he did not. He also made sure that my brother and me always had a bicycle. That was important to him -- and remains vital to me today. Despite living in a modest NYC apartment with my family, which includes 2 kids, I have a collection of 5 bikes (6 if you include my Citibike membership!). I've been cycling my whole life, and started riding long-distance and road bikes about 20 years ago. About 15 years ago, I started riding in group events, including the 5 Boro.
After my mother, Edna Wildman, retired, I got her a bicycle and took her out for a few rides. Elie Rubenstein, my mother's colleague & protege, remembered Mom telling him about our bike rides -- and how much she enjoyed them -- and in 2010 reached out to me with a special proposition. As Executive Director for the Blue Card Fund, a charity dedicated to supporting American Holocaust survivors in need of financial and social aid, Elie had an idea: To sponsor a team to ride in 2011's Five Boro Bike Tour. And he asked me to be the team's captain. How could I say no? My mother worked on behalf of Jewish interests for most of her adult life; my Viennese father narrowly escaped becoming a victim of the Holocaust himself. Jewish activism is in my DNA.
For my 9th year captaining, my seven-year-old son Mili (a nickname for Emil) will be riding with me (as a passenger.) One of my bikes can carry up to a few hundred pounds of human cargo!) I only got my mom out on a bike a handful of times, but I think she’d be thrilled her grandchildren are riding by my side this year. I never got my dad out on a bike, but getting his name-sake on this ride to lend a helping hand to those who were also probably deprived of bicycles as children would make him feel very loved.
Please donate to this worthy cause generously. Thanks for reading!