One hundred thirty cyclists pedaled across Southeastern Massachusetts on Sunday, Oct. 6, to show their support for a clean and healthy Buzzards Bay during the Buzzards Bay Coalition’s seventh annual Buzzards Bay Watershed Ride. The scenic 75-mile bike route runs from Westport to Falmouth.
The event has so far raised more than $63,000 to support the nonprofit coalition’s education, conservation, research and advocacy work. Supporters can still donate to the Watershed Ride through October 31 at www.savebuzzardsbay.org/WatershedRide.
“The Buzzards Bay Coalition’s work in educating and advocating for the health of the Bay is close to my heart,” said Ian Duff of New Bedford, a sailor and cyclist who rode in his second Watershed Ride. “I participate in the Watershed Ride because I want to give back to the community.”
The first riders rode away from Westport Rivers Vineyard and Winery at 9 a.m., winding through Westport’s coastalfarmland, Padanaram village, New Bedford’s working waterfront, the leafy Fairhaven bike path and Mattapoisett’s rural roads before stopping for lunch at Eastover Farm in Rochester. There, additional riders joined the Watershed Ride for the final 35 miles through Wareham’s cranberry bogs, over the Bourne Bridge and down Falmouth’s Shining Sea Bikeway to end at Quissett Harbor in Falmouth.
Along the way, riders had to pedal through a few passing rain showers. But organizers said everybody was in great spirits at the finish line, where riders and their guests were welcomed with warm food, drinks, prizes, complimentary massages, and live music from The Dancing Dogs.
“Everything about the Watershed Ride is so nicely organized and beautifully supported – there are amazing volunteers, and tons of them!” said Leslie Knowles, a seven-time watershed rider from South Dartmouth and one of this year’s top fundraisers. “And the party at the end was just great.”
The Watershed Ride drew cyclists from across Southeastern Massachusetts and New England, and as far away as New York, Washington, D.C., and Australia.
The top fundraiser was Andy van Dam of Barrington, R.I., who raised $4,150. Having once lived along the race course in Falmouth, Mr. van Dam said the Watershed Ride is like coming home for him, providing extra motivation to fundraise. “It’s a great cause, one that I believe in strongly, so I worked the network for support. Folks were happy to support this great organization.”
The Buzzards Bay Watershed Ride is one of two signature outdoor events hosted by the coalition. The other is the Buzzards Bay Swim, a 1.2-mile open-water swim across outer New Bedford Harbor. The 21st annual Buzzards Bay Swim will take place Saturday, June 28, 2014. More information is available at www.savebuzzardsbay.org/Swim.