Worcester, Mass.
April 15, 2001

Cars cost, but bikes reward

By 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 Earth Day.
  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 (, 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 to report your mileage for the two dates, April 19 and April 28.
Per capita miles biked annually
source: The European Commission
United States 37
United Kingdom 46
Finland 152
Spain 162
Netherlands 507
Denmark 533
  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.
  The first 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
  For more information on the women's series, which also offers racing clinics and training races, visit or call promoter Gerri Moriarty (603 595-8642).
  Colorado 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

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