TELEGRAM & GAZETTE
April 15, 2001
Cars cost, but bikes rewardBy Lynne Tolman
Being nice to Mother Nature next week, by riding your bike on errands
instead of driving your gas-guzzling, air-polluting car, can bring rewards on
The Worcester Chapter of MassBike, a statewide advocacy group, will
award prizes at Worcester's Earth Day
Festival to bicyclists who complete the most errands by bike in the week
preceding the festival -- starting this Saturday. There will be awards in two
categories, Experienced Riders and New/Novice Riders.
It's all on the
honor system; just keep a list of your bike trips and submit it at the MassBike
table at the festival. Bonus points will go to those who ride to the festival,
which runs from noon to 5 April 28 at Institute Park. Rain date is April 29.
Also, MassBike will provide free valet bike parking at the
festival.And the group will be collecting donations of used bicycles for
youngsters in its Earn-A-Bike classes to repair and recondition.
"This year, MassBike is focusing on the health and economic costs of
overdependence on cars and where we stand in the world in promoting bicycling,"
said Worcester Chapter coordinator Greg Root. By the numbers:
MassBike headquarters in Boston is trying to record
bike miles traveled on the first worldwide Earth Car Free Day (www.carfree.com/cft/events.html),
which is Thursday, as well as on Earth Day. Last year MassBikers logged more
than 2,000 bike miles on Earth Day alone, and this year's goal is to triple
that. Call or e-mail MassBike (617 542-BIKE or firstname.lastname@example.org) to report your
mileage for the two dates, April 19 and April 28.
- Of every dollar Americans spend, 18 cents is for transportation, and 98
percent of that goes to buy, run and maintain automobiles, according to the
Surface Transportation and Policy Project.
- Improper diet and lack of exercise are the root causes of 300,000 U.S.
deaths per year, second only to tobacco; and coronary heart disease because of
inactivity costs the United States an estimated $5.7 billion a year, according
to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- In the United States, 84 percent of all trips are taken by car -- that's
the highest rate in the world -- compared with 36 percent in Sweden, according
to the CDC.
Per capita miles biked annually ~~~
The New England women's
bike racing series that began in 1996 continues to expand, with Cycle Loft of
Burlington as this year's sponsor and a couple of New York races thrown in. The
idea is to encourage more women to race by giving beginner-level women more
opportunities to compete against racers at the same level, rather than be lumped
in with all other women.
Dozens of established races have added
separate events for Category 4 and Category 3 women, and series points are
awarded in each category toward end-of-season prizes. There are also series
points in the masters category, for women 35 and older, though only six of the
24 races separate the masters from the rest of the women.
races in the series are the Palmer Library Road Race on April 28 and the Monson
Road Race on April 30. Race details are at http://www.sencomp.com/mcvelo/uscfschd.htm
For more information on the women's series, which also offers racing
clinics and training races, visit http://www.cyclingmadereal.com/ or
call promoter Gerri Moriarty (603 595-8642).
triathlete Paul R. Martin, who grew up in Gardner, is aiming for a world record
time in the Boston Marathon tomorrow. The record for leg amputees, that is.
"I think I can knock out a 3:30 without too much trouble, but a 3:15
will definitely be a stretch," he said, though "certainly possible. Expect to
see me foaming at the mouth by mile 15."
Martin, 34, was on the U.S.
Paralympic Cycling Team competing in Sydney, Australia, in October. Medals
eluded him there, but he credited cycle training with helping him run a 1:31:30
half marathon, a personal best, in November. In the Ironman Malaysia in January,
he crossed the line in 11 hours, 58 minutes, finishing eighth out of 42 starters
in his age group, 30-34.
Martin was an all-star goalie for the
Gardner High School hockey team. He lost his lower left leg in a car accident
nine years ago and uses a prosthesis.
The Killington Stage
Race, a Labor Day weekend staple since 1987, has been cancelled. Killington
spokeswoman Kim Jackson said the Vermont ski resort lost at least $50,000 a
year, and $109,000 last year, putting on the race.
Race director Deb
Makowsky said she was sad to see the race end, but it was "an event that didn't
match Killington's demographics." In other words, Jackson said, most bike racers
and their friends and families aren't downhill skiers or snowboarders, so
Killington doesn't make money off them in the winter.
Tom Vinson of
Wollaston, regional coordinator for USA
Cycling, said he had been expecting the race's demise for several years.
Initially a two-day race, it had grown to five stages in the mid-1990s and vied
year after year with the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic for racers' votes for best
stage race in New England. But it was scaled down to a three-day event in 1999.
Vinson, the top New England bike racing official for 13 years, is
leaving, too. He said he "decided it was time to do something else," and his
resignation takes effect in May. A successor has not been named.
TIP OF THE HELMET to John Lieswyn of Worcester, riding on the
7UP/Colorado Cyclist team, for winning the 5-mile Cottage Grove-Lorane Road Race
on Friday in the Tour of
Willamette in Oregon. The stage race ends today. Lieswyn's journal is at http://www.team7up.com/
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