Charley Family Shop’n Save owner will bike 3,000 miles in 48 days for charity
Ray Charley is going to bike a mile for nearly every year of his life. Every day. For 48 days.
Charley, 67, owner of the Charley Family Shop ’n Save stores in Greensburg and Murrysville, sets out Monday from San Diego and heads to St. Augustine, Fla., cycling across the country to raise money for Feherty’s Troops First Foundation.
“‘Daunting’ is not even the right word to describe it,” Charley said.
Beginning in October, the Unity resident started training with Curt Gsell from Dynamic Life Coaching in Greensburg.
“We developed a strength training schedule,” Charley said. “He’s a trainer for a number of athletes who do marathons, triathlons, that sort of thing.”
With 3,058 miles separating the start and finish, Charley knew he’d need all the training he could get. In fact, his local training was really only to get him ready for the next phase of preparation.
“In January, I went down to Florida to ride and train,” he said. “I biked probably about 2,000 miles while I was down there, including one day where I did what they call a ‘double-century’ — that’s 200 kilometers, or about 120 miles.”
Charley will get three days of rest between the April 1 start and the May 18 finish. That averages out to about 63 miles per day, rain or shine.
Charley said it will be well worth it in order to raise money for Feherty’s foundation, which provides assistance and support for veterans wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“All of our retailers are very proud that Ray has taken it on himself,” said Rich Haeflein, Shop ’n Save advertising account manager. “And they’re also supporting the foundation through our ‘Earn Your Wings’ campaign.”
Charley Family Shop ’n Save has partnered with Feherty’s foundation for five years, a relationship developed through Shop ’n Save’s sponsorship of the annual Westmoreland County Air Show.
“I really want to thank the folks at the (Westmoreland County) Airport Authority,” Haeflein said. “They really gave us the opportunity to get involved with the foundation.”
Last year, Shop ’n Save officials presented a check for more than $31,000 to the foundation.
Haeflein said pledges for Charley’s ride have surpassed $38,000.
“It’s going to be a record year for our donation,” he said.
Shop ’n Save has raised more than $180,000 for the foundation over the years, Haeflein said.
For Charley, the focus is on the task ahead, and he said his family members have been his biggest supporters.
“Curt helped me get ready, but my wife (Catherine) helped push me when I was training in Florida,” he said. “If my sons (Michael and Thomas) weren’t running the business, this wouldn’t even be possible. And my daughter is being extremely generous because her first child is due in about two weeks.”
The Shop ’n Save store on Pittsburgh Street in Greensburg has a large U.S. map on display at the front of the store, where staff will mark Charley’s progress every five days as he crosses the southern United States on his way to Florida.
And what is he looking forward to the most?
“Getting to St. Augustine,” he said with a laugh.
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .