Gregg Murphy, the Comcast SportsNet Phillies field reporter, describes the Irish Pub Children’s Foundation as “near and dear to my heart.”
Murphy is a member of the non-profit foundation’s board and participates in the charity’s annual bicycle ride from the Irish Pub location near 20th and Walnut streets to the Irish Pub and Inn in Atlantic City.
This year’s 65-mile ride will be extra special because it’s the 25th anniversary of the charity event. Before the rider pack breaks up, it’s quite a scene from the starting line to the crossing of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.
“It’s a sea of bikes on a beautiful Sunday morning in Philadelphia,” Murphy said. “We own Market Street. I absolutely love it. The ride is so uniquely Philadelphia.”
In anticipation of the Tour de Shore, which kicks off at 7 a.m. on July 29, the Irish Pub hosted a news conference to present $50,000 to the Philadelphia Police Athletic League. That money is part of the $405,000 raised in 2011.
Among those who attended the news conference were police department Chief Inspector Joseph Sullivan, a member of the foundation board, and Lt. Bryan Anthony, commander of the Police Athletic League.
In all, the foundation has raised more than $2.2 million, with the bike race growing in size over the years.
Proceeds from the upcoming ride will benefit organizations such as the Daniel Faulkner Educational Grant Fund, the Sgt. Patrick McDonald Scholarship Fund, Art Sanctuary of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 Survivors Fund, Save Ellis Island, South Jersey Fraternal Order of Police, the Boys and Girls Club of Atlantic City and the Philadelphia and Atlantic City Police Athletic League groups.
“It all stays local,” said Irish Pub co-owner Mark O’Connor.
The event includes individual riders and teams.
The biggest team is the Montgomery County district attorney’s office, and DA Risa Ferman is among the riders. There are also teams in memory of slain police officers John Pawlowski and Chuck Cassidy.
Team Murphy, captained by the Phillies television reporter, is also a big group. He has more than 90 riders, with each required to raise $175.
“If you get ten people to give you twenty-five bucks, you’re past your goal already,” said Murphy, who’ll be making his seventh ride.
The riders usually include former Police Commissioner John Timoney, now a consultant in Bahrain; Maureen Faulkner, wife of slain police officer Daniel Faulkner; radio personality Michael Smerconish; NBC 10 reporter Deanna Durante; and New Jersey Superior Court Judge Lee Solomon.
Riders are invited afterward to a party in the parking lot of the Atlantic City Irish Pub, where there will be food, music and raffle prizes.
There is return transportation for riders and their bicycles.
“You can have a few beers, relax, take a nap on the bus back home and then pick up your bike,” O’Connor said.
O’Connor said there are already a record 1,600 people registered. The goal is to raise $500,000.
“You’ve got to give back and be involved,” he said. “It’s a labor of love.” ••
For more information about registration and sponsorships, visit www.irishpubphilly.com or check out the Irish Pub Tour de Shore page on Facebook.EndFragment