To be completely honest, the first thing you notice about Chuck Anania after you find out he's biking 500 miles is his bulk. Anania, in his own words, is no Lance Armstrong. And yet, regardless of the physical limitations that might hold back someone of his stature on such an endeavor, he endured.
Anania is on the road for a cause. He owns a Montclair-based roofing business and recently started the charitable endeavor of Roof4Roof. For every roof his company installs to a paying customer, they donate emergency roofing to someone in need.
On Tuesday, June 24, 2012, Anania hit the road with a goal of 500 miles. He wanted to bike 500 miles in an effort to raise awareness of the program and eventually reach his first goal of 500 emergency roofs donated.
"I thought 500 miles was a big enough goal that would get attention and raise awareness, but not be so large I couldn't complete the journey," Anania said. "35-miles-a-day didn't seem like too much"
On Sunday, August 5, 2012, Anania wrapped up the day's 35-mile ride in Norwalk. Monday morning, he began his day traveling through Darien and Stamford, hit Greenwich by 10:30 and finished the day off in White Plains. Tuesday, he was prepared to wrap up the trip with a final stop in Times Square.
Anania said that, while he tried to maintain a reasonable goal, there were things he would have done differently to prepare for the task more fully.
"I'm no Olympic athlete by any means," he said. "I'm 39 with a 59 waistline, unfortunately. This was a goal I thought I could realistically do—have been doing—but the body breaks down and that's not something I really accounted for. There was a lot of hills, another thing I didn't account for, and my legs would just give out sometimes. I walked a good chunk of these hills."
Anania said the ride has really helped in the way he'd hoped it would, with more than 2 dozen people having contacted him with information on people who could use his expertise and assistance.
In October, the company will be launching Roof4Roof in India, which expands the companies international efforts from the assistance already being provided in Guatemala and Columbia, where the idea for Roof4Roof was born. Anania was incensed by the need for help he saw there while visiting his wife's family and decided he wouldn't stand around with his hands in his pockets.
The Roof4Roof model was inspired by his admiration for Tom's Shoes, another charitable endeavor with a one-for-one business model that provides shoes to needy children.
"Roofs aren't shoes, though," he said. "They're shoes on steroids. We've donated maybe 100 roofs between [all locations] so far. "
Donations can be made for the donation efforts at roof4roof.org, Anania said. He clarified, so there would be no confusion, that the parent company of Roof4Roof is a certified roofing, forward-progress, for-profit company.
"We're a worthy cause and if you want to help spread the word or volunteer in any way, please let us know," Anania said. "We appreciate all the help and feedback we've received so far."