Bike Tour: Cyclists support "The Change" through a Sunday ride

Continuing what seems to be a Pass It Along theme….I was up really, really early on Sunday morning in the name of the organization. This weekend, rather than the 4:30 start time we stuck to for Triathlon, there was a reprieve till 6 am for this weekend’s Bike Tour.

Before I start to sound like a whiner, let me clarify: I was quickly rewarded by my early start when, on the way to the Long Pond School from picking up road cones at the Andover Police Station, I saw what I would consider one of the coolest sights of early fall – a sunrise over Lake Iliff, complete with the “cool air over warm water” fog effect. It was awesome, and only available to those awake in the pre-dawn hours at this transitional time in the season.

After that lovely sight, it was time to get down to business. There were registration tables to set up, tents to popup, food tables to prep, zones to cone, and banners to hang. Besides, there was only 90 minutes remaining at this point before riders were required to check in for the 56-mile route.

Thanks to lots of pre-planning and organizing by Eleanor, the set-up ran like clockwork and soon, there were a few minutes for volunteers to grab a bite for breakfast and a cup of coffee and gather their thoughts before the riders started to arrive. The mood was elevated by the tasty snacks and groovy tunes, which had been one of the first items set up in the early morning light, so as to get the day off to a good start.

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Morning air over Lake Iliff, as seen by M. Morsch

And arrive, they did – it seemed that the chill was still hanging in the air when the first bikers started heading for the registration table. These brave souls were all smiles as they grabbed their goody bags, joked with the registration team, picked up their tee shirts and hit the trail, heading out to follow the green arrows for their long, scenic ride around Sussex and Warren.

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Event planner Eleanor working check-in and explaining routes

While the only scenic sights myself and the rest of the volunteers saw on Sunday were the buildings and grounds of our gracious host, the Long Pond School, the riders reported that there were great sights to be seen, the routes were well-marked, and good times were had by all. The only road bump of the day was when a cyclist with his son in tow got a flat tire, but the situation was discovered by a marshal on his sweeping rounds, and the SAG wagon quickly dispatched to his location to get them back on the road.

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Marshals from Skylands Cycling, getting ready to ride.

Overall, it was another fun and productive fundraiser for Pass It Along.  The support we received from this event allows Pass It Along to continue to provide opportunities for youth volunteers to serve in soup kitchens and community gardens; improve public lands; mentor elementary and middle school students; and all of the many, many other wonderful things that this organization does each year. 90+ participants, great weather, and high-spirited volunteers made it an (early) Sunday morning that I won’t soon forget.

Maren Morsch, AmeriCorps Program Associate

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