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The Bike and Brunch Newsletter

Big Wheels Keep on Turnin'

Many of us look forward to Bike & Brunch's Sunday day rides with fervor and anticipation. New people. New locations. New challenges. Outside of our weekly rides there are a number of annual events that give riders the chance to see places by bike they normally wouldn't get to see. These rides are divided into two categories: rides for fun and rides for charity.

Tour DuPort. Sharon Robinson and Steve Rifkin last year participated in the Tour duPort, presented by the League of American Bicyclists and Sail Baltimore. This scenic 21 mile loop through Baltimore takes place in October. It starts at the Inner Harbor where riders are fed coffee, bagels, and power bars, given their ride tee shirt, and then head off. Tour highlights include: Fort McHenry; Locust Point (What Ellis Island was to New York City, Locust Point was to Baltimore); The Inner Harbor; and Fells Point. The tour ends with plentiful food and festivities. With Sharon's high praise, Tour duPort is now on the fall schedule. Reserve October 12 for the 1997 Tour duPort - its a great way to "discover the nitty-gritty of Charm City from the seat of your bicycle."

Bike New York. This spring newsletter committee members Steve Korman and Mark Hasson participated in the 20th anniversary of Bike New York, the five boro bike ride regarded as the single largest bike event in the country. We at Bike & Brunch get a little nervous when the number of riders pushes 50 or 60. The number of riders estimated at this years ride was in the neighborhood of 37,000. WOW! Bike New York starts off in Battery Park in Manhattan and travels through the canyons of mid-town, through Central Park and into Harlem then winds in and out of the remaining four boros: The Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, concluding by crossing the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge into Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island. Once there, WCBS sponsors a festival that includes music, food, exhibits and of course, merchandise concessions. The 42-mile day long adventure ends with bikers upon bikers being transported back to Manhattan on the Staten Island Ferry.

MS Ride. Charity rides combine excellent causes with terrific cycling. Allison Richman recently participated in one of the many MS rides held locally. This one was held in nearby Middleburg VA - famous for it's lavish country estates and rolling hills. Allison rode 60 miles the first day and 40 miles the second. This ride gets high marks for three primary reasons: it was challenging (see rolling hills), it was for a good cause, and it was fun. As an added benefit the rest stops were well stocked with food and drink. The ride's biggest benefit had nothing to do with the ride itself, but it's effect. The ride enabled Allison to receive her first "professional" massage. Talk about perks.

Aids Ride. The quintessential combination of challenging yourself and riding for charity is the AIDS ride, which last year went from Philadelphia to Washington in three days. Karla Forest was at first skeptical - could she do the ride; could she raise the money - when a co-worker (and biking buddy) first approached her. After going to the orientation and seeing the video, Karla knew she couldn't say no. The big hurdle was the fund raising. Tasked with raising $1,400, Karla blew that goal out of the water and raised $2,700 and was genuinely amazed at people's generosity. Her training regimen consisted of buying a road bike for the 250-mile ride and adhering to a strict schedule of weekly rides and long weekend rides.

Once the ride started, there was no way to predict what the next mile would bring: the mother of all hills; suffocating humidity; or the blazing sun. Often, Karla would belligerently ask herself, "How could they make it so damn difficult?" As she peddled diligently towards Washington with many riders who actually were HIV-Positive, she realized the irony of her question and dug deep inside and continued to pedal. Mile after mile. Day after day.

After three days of laying it on the line in this very special traveling Utopia, Karla saw that people can make a difference. You can set your own limits or you can dig deep inside, refuse to take no for an answer, and set the world afire.