More than 200 riders participated in the annual Tour de Lake Hopatcong on Sunday—the most participants ever in this 11-year tradition that benefits the Mt. Arlington Fraternal Order of Police and the Police Unity Tour.
Starting and finishing by the Mt. Arlington Civic Center, 140 participants joined the 40-mile ride around the lake, with dozens more completing a 20-mile loop, which bypasses a hilly extension. The racing began at 9:30 a.m. amid sunshine, wind, and temperatures in the mid-40s. Patrick Jacob and Melissa Kerns won the 40-mile race in the men's and women's categories, respectively. Tom Cruz was the fastest in the 40-and-older age group for the 40-mile loop; Doug Alpers won the men's 20-mile loop, and Abigail Isolda won the women's 20-mile loop.
Additionally, Cycle Craft gave awards to all men who finished the 40-mile loop in less than two hours and 15 minutes, and to all women who completed it in less than 2 hours and 30 minutes.
The Mt. Arlington Police Department has been running the event for 11 years, and this was the ninth time it was completed (one year it was rained out, and another year it was 95 degrees). Last year, 50 riders signed up, but only about 15 participated because of the rain and cold.
About 150 riders preregistered for Sunday's race, with another 50 or so showing up on Sunday morning—a turnout that was much higher than in past years. The race was open to traffic, with police and resident volunteers helping guide the course.
In addition to raising funds for the borough's law enforcement officers and the Police Unity Tour, which remembers and memorializes police officers killed in the line of duty, Sunday's event was also used to promote bike safety. To encourage the use of helmets while riding, the David D. Hammar Foundation (www.bicyclesafetynj.org) donated 60 helmets to the Mt. Arlington Police Department to give to local children.
For more information about the event, go to http://www.njfoplodge78.com/.