Buzzards Bay cyclists set records; Barrington rider is top fund-raiser

A good tailwind helps propel eastbound along the south shore. A good tailwind helps propel eastbound along the south shore.

A good tailwind helps propel eastbound along the south shore.

One hundred forty-seven cyclists pedaled across Southeastern Massachusetts Sunday to show their support for a clean and healthy Buzzards Bay during the Buzzards Bay Coalition’s sixth annual Buzzards Bay Watershed Ride. The 75-mile bike route stretched from Westport to Woods Hole.

Cyclists set out from the start at Horseneck Beach.

The event raised a projected $68,000 to support the non-profit Bay Coalition’s education, conservation, research and advocacy work. Both the number of cyclists and the funds raised set new records for the event.

The first riders sped away from Horseneck Beach at 9 a.m. Sunday, winding through Westport’s coastal farmland, 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, cyclists completing a shorter, 35-mile route joined the full Watershed Ride for its second leg past Wareham’s cranberry bogs, over the Bourne Bridge and down Falmouth’s Shining Sea Bikeway to end at Quissett Harbor in Woods Hole. Cyclists were welcomed at a finish line party complete with prizes, massages, food and drinks, and live music from The Dancing Dogs.

The Watershed Ride drew cyclists from across Southeastern Massachusetts, New England, and as far  as Florida, Indiana, South Carolina and Washington, D.C. Cyclists ranged in age from 12 to 73.

“It’s a fun ride and a fantastic cause,” said Phil Whittaker of Rochester, who pedaled in his sixth watershed ride. For first-time rider Sara Adland, the Watershed Ride was her first time cycling in the Buzzards Bay watershed. “The course was beautiful and I loved to bike along the water,” she said.

All funds raised from the Watershed Ride will support the Bay Coalition’s work to restore clean water, conserve natural lands and engage the community in protecting the Bay. Supporters can donate to the Watershed Ride through October 31 at www.savebuzzardsbay.org/WatershedRide.

The top fundraiser was Andy van Dam of Barrington, RI, who raised more than $3,300. Having once lived along the race course in Falmouth, van Dam said the Watershed Ride was 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 Bay Coalition. The other is the Buzzards Bay Swim, a 1.2-mile open-water swim across outer New Bedford Harbor. The 20th annual Buzzards Bay Swim will take place Saturday, July 13, 2013. More information is available at www.savebuzzardsbay.org/Swim.

 

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