Take Up the Challenge

The Great Cycle Challenge, that is!

Rex Saffer the AstroDoc
3 min readAug 18, 2023

This year will be my third year to participate in the Great Cycle Challenge (GCC). What is GCC? I’ll summarize below; you can find detailed information at this page.

Two summers ago, my good friend Mike McIntyre helped me move into my current apartment after I sold my home. He asked me to take this picture of him posing with my own bicycle and to share it:

Let’s Bike With Mike

Then he asked me to join him in the GCC. What is it, you ask?

Each year, people of all ages, abilities and from every state across the country set themselves a personal riding goal and challenge themselves to pedal to fight pediatric cancer. Each year the challenge takes place during the month of September.

Riders have a personal GCC web page on which we log the miles we ride and ask anyone with the desire and the means to help to donate as generously as possible to the cause. Here is my own page:


Here is part of My Story at the top of my page:

Right now, cancer is the biggest killer of children from disease in the United States. Over 15,700 children are diagnosed every year, and sadly, 38 children die of cancer every week. One of these was my 3–year old step–grandson Brayden John Chandler, who died of Wilms’ Tumor, the most common form of childhood kidney cancer. Most kids with Wilms that get an early diagnosis go on to survive and lead normal lives. Brayden never got that chance.

Brayden John Chandler, Age 3, RIP

In 2023, the National Cancer Institute will earmark about $300 million for pediatric cancer research. That sounds like a huge investment, but it is only 4% of a total budget of over $7.7 billiion! This is an abomination. I have made the first donation of $250. Please join me and the Children’s Cancer Research Fund. by making a generous donation of your own to give these kids the brighter futures they deserve. Kids should be living their lives, not fighting for them.

I started training much earlier than last year. I have made several rides along the many beautiful trails available in our region for walking and biking, many along the Schuykill River Trail. Here is an excerpt from the Trail’s main page at https://schuylkillriver.org/schuylkill-river-trail:

Welcome to the Schuylkill River Trail, a multi-use path that will extend 120 miles from Frackville in Schuylkill County, through Montgomery, Chester and Berks Counties to Philadelphia. It travels through the historically rich region of southeastern Pennsylvania. The trail passes through rural, agricultural, suburban, urban, and industrial landscapes.

In 2021, I rode 271 miles and raised $178. Last year I rode 304 miles and raised $2,034. This year I again will try to coax 300 miles out of my aging, delapidated body — I cannot realistically expect more. But as for support, that depends on you! I have set a goal of $2500 and hope you will help me to reach or even exceed it..

At the end of last year’s campaign, I was routinely logging 20 to 25 miles per ride at an average speed of 12.5 mi/hr. I am again up to that pace and ready to begin riding in earnest in September.

So again, if you are interested and able to contribute to the cause of research to defeat pediatric cancers, please visit my page at https://greatcyclechallenge.com/Riders/RexSaffer and make a donation. Much like baseball’s All Star voting, you can participate early and often. Better yet, take up the Great Cycle Challenge yourself! If you do, get in touch with me, and we can plan some joint rides. Like pleasure, pain is ever so much more rewarding when shared.

All the best,
From Broomall, PA
Friday, August 18 at 10:30 AM,



Rex Saffer the AstroDoc

Retired Physics Professor, Motorcyclist, Bridge Player, Voracious Reader, Philosopher, Essayist, Science/Culture Utility Infielder