Local cyclist Rich Hayes is pleased to announce that this year’s Pedaling4Paws charity bike ride has raised over $12,700 for animal shelters in northeastern and central Pennsylvania. To raise the much-needed funds and to boost awareness of the necessity for finding forever homes for animals in need, Hayes completed a four-day, 350-mile bike ride beginning at Beaver Stadium at Penn State’s Main Campus in State College on August 2 and ending at the Wayne County Fairgrounds near Honesdale on August 5.

On days one and two of the ride, Hayes made stops at Bucknell University, Bloomsburg University, Wilkes University, the University of Scranton, and Penn State’s Worthington Campus. As he traveled along his route, Hayes used a GoPro camera and a GPS equipped drone to film his journey, allowing fans, supporters, and Pedaling4Paws sponsors to “come along for the ride” by watching footage posted to the Pedaling4Paws Facebook page.

Hayes’ third day of riding ended in his home turf of Forest City, where the folks along Main St. showed him the true meaning of the borough’s slogan, “A Mile of Hospitality,” by ushering him into town with a police escort and by forming a welcoming committee at his finish line for the day near Zazzera’s Supermarket.

On the final day of his ride, Hayes received an emergency vehicle escort as he rode into the Wayne County Fairgrounds to conclude his four-day journey. At the fairgrounds, Hayes was greeted by his most ardent supporters: his wife, Heather, and their sons Ethan, Wyatt, and Colton. Also on hand were some of the Pedaling4Paws sponsors from the Honesdale community.

Hayes remarked that the 2017 ride, his eighth in as many years, was the most successful ever. “My support base has grown immensely since I first started doing this. I’ve talked to many people and what wins them over is that I’m just one person on a bike raising money for a cause that touches everyone’s heart,” said Hayes.

Hayes expressed gratitude for his corporate sponsors, for his partnership with Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, and for all those who donated to Pedaling4Paws online or who purchased ride pin ups in area supermarkets. “Through the generosity of the people who helped out, I was able to help eight animal shelters this year, and to raise my highest total amount yet,” Hayes stated.

To see photographs and drone footage from the ride, to learn more about the cause, or to make a donation, visit the Pedaling4Paws website at www.pedaling4paws.info or visit the Pedaling4Paws Facebook page.