Wall Street Rides FAR is an annual series of charity bike rides benefiting the Autism Science Foundation. Launched in 2015 by Bryan and Melissa Harkins, both Wall Street veterans, the event sends professionals from across the financial services industry on a variety of scenic routes through Westchester County, ranging from 20 miles all the way up to 62 miles.
The riders who donate their money and time to the ride are often fierce rivals in their day-to-day lives, but on Saturday, October 5, they will lay down their arms and join together for a truly worthy cause. Forefront Communications spoke to seven of these riders about their backgrounds, motivations for riding and connections to the cause. Here are their stories, in their own words.
Melissa Harkins, Co-Founder
It’s hard to believe that Wall Street Rides FAR is already in its fifth year. When my husband Bryan and I founded the Ride in 2015, we knew we could count on our friends and colleagues for support, but the generosity displayed since then has been beyond anything we could have imagined.
Bryan and I had been looking to combine our love of cycling and fitness with an important cause, and when we got in touch with the Autism Science Foundation, it quickly became clear that they were an ideal partner. The ASF focuses exclusively on funding scientific research and has had a hand in many important initiatives to find possible causes, better treatments and ways to enhance the quality of life for those affected by autism.
Guillaume Bouvet, Tower Research
After a truly memorable experience at last year’s Wall Street Rides FAR, I’m very excited to return for my second ride. I had heard about the event before, and after completing a terrific ride alongside my colleagues and witnessing the camaraderie that surrounds this event firsthand, I know I’ll be returning for years to come.
I really love to cycle. I ride my bike to work almost every day and do longer rides on the weekends with my friends. I also ride to feed my competitive streak—I participate in various bike races and triathlons, and last year I rode a stage of the Tour de France in the Alps, which happened to be in my hometown. Needless to say, I’d choose raising money while riding my bike over sitting at a charity auction every time.
But while racing is a passion of mine, it’s important to remember that Wall Street Rides FAR is a RIDE, not a race! No matter your speed or skill level, you’re encouraged to join this community and help raise money for the Autism Science Foundation—there are multiple courses with varying lengths so that all can participate. Our industry is competitive enough, especially when it comes to speed, and it’s nice to pause for a (micro)second and give back!
The cause is truly outstanding. While I haven’t been personally affected by autism, my sister did some research on the subject while getting her PhD, and I was moved by her stories of working with affected families. Furthermore, so many people in our industry and the wider world are personally affected, and this is Tower Research’s way of showing support.
We hope you’ll join us on October 5. Look for me on the 62-mile course!
Jeff Mendl, OTC Markets Group
Along with my colleagues and teammates at OTC Markets Group, I’m pleased to say I’ll be participating in my first Wall Street Rides FAR. Friends from all corners of the industry are buzzing about this year’s event, and I figured it’s time to step up and experience it for myself.
Although I like to keep active, I admit I’m new to road riding and that this will be my first organized ride. Nevertheless, I plan on taking on the 62-mile route – we have some avid cyclists on our team, and you’re crazy if you think I’m going to let them go farther than me!
That said, the Ride offers a wide variety of routes to accommodate all skill and fitness levels. Many riders bring their families, including young children – the community that surrounds this event is fantastic.
Of course, all this excitement supports a larger goal: funding autism research. I have several friends who have children with autism, and their dedication to spreading awareness and raising money is nothing short of tremendous. To me, supporting their cause by signing up for the ride was a no-brainer. The financial services industry is lucky to include a wide network of giving individuals, and this is one way we can give back to the community.
Whether you’re a regular cyclist or a new rider like myself, we’d love for you to join us on October 5. Be sure to wish me luck on those 62 miles!
Ana Kolevzon, Team Kolevzon
My family and I are thrilled to be returning for our fifth Wall Street Rides FAR. We love riding bikes together, but the thing that keeps Team Kolevzon coming back is the great cause—for us, supporting autism research is a family affair.
My passion for autism research comes from my cousin, who has autism. Watching my cousin struggle with everyday activities and transitioning to adulthood made me want to raise money for this cause, so that future generations of people with autism will have an easier road. Also, my dad—he and my sister round out our three-person team—is an autism researcher, so our family has a firsthand perspective on the huge impact good research can have and the importance of funding these efforts.