“This was such an inspiring year for our awards program, we received over 60 nominations,” said Alison Riley, awards committee chair. “Our awards serve as an opportunity to recognize some of the incredible people and organizations that elevate bicycle travel and improve cycling in general.”
The 2014 Trail Angel Award goes to David and Patti Bruner, of Ryegate, Montana. When Mark Metz and Ray Boyer pulled into town on a stormy afternoon, there were no motels or campgrounds, so they began to set up camp in the town park’s picnic shelter in an attempt to stay dry. That’s when David Bruner pulled up in his pick up truck, introduced himself, and offered them the hospitality of a night in his home. “As we settled in for the evening, Dave explained that when the weather is bad — and frequently when it is not — either he or Patti drive by the town park to see if any touring cyclists are there, and to extend the offer of shelter, a place to sleep, shower, do a laundry, and enjoy a few home cooked meals. In other words, we were the rule, not the exception. David and Patti seek out cyclists riding through their town and extend their offer. It is not unusual for them to do it when the weather is good, just out of the fellowship of the road. They are avid cyclists themselves and so know how much a warm bed, a laundry, and a meal mean to riders on tour. They've been extending their hospitality to cyclists for years.” David is the science teacher at Ryegate’s high school (student population: 4) and Patti is the mayor of Ryegate.
The recipient of the 2014 Pacesetter Award is Bruce White of Fredericksburg, Virginia. Scoutmaster Bruce White and Boy Scout Troop 165 have “set the bar” for youth cycling programs and Scouting units across the country. By integrating bicycle travel into their Scouting program, Troop 165 has created an environment where young men can learn and practice outdoor, citizenship, and leadership skills that will last a lifetime. Their progressive program starts with short local rides where Scouts learn bike handling and safety and simple overnight campouts where they practice camping, cooking, first aid and other skills. Scouts (and parents) can build up to longer multi-day trips and a week-long summer camp where they can strengthen and build on their basic skills. Older scouts have the opportunity to participate in truly unique and special events, such as the ride celebrating Scouting’s centennial in 2010 or the trans-continental ride in 2014. Bruce White was nominated by Mr. Robert Sheneman, who had this to say: “In addition to its own bicycle trips, Troop 165 participates in local century rides, charity rides and triathlons. They have organized an annual youth bike rodeo for the community for many years. They have also participated in the Face of America Ride from Washington, DC to Gettysburg, PA honoring wounded veterans. All of Troop 165’s trips are planned and led through Scouting’s youth leadership model where scouts lead their peers and adults serve as mentors and guides. For the 2014 cross-country ride, each scout in the group was responsible for planning the daily ride routes, lodging, sightseeing activities and other trip logistics for a state. The scout then served as the Senior Patrol Leader – the top youth leader – for that state. In this way, each scout learned through direct experience how to plan and lead long-distance bike trips. On almost every day of the cross-country ride, the scouts of Troop 165 spoke with the public, community members, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts in the towns and cities they visited. They spoke with children, senior citizens, the media, local community leaders, and people they met on the roads. They shared their love of cycling, their love for America and the experiences they lived with anyone who was interested. Troop 165 has certainly demonstrated how Scouting can embrace bicycle travel.”
The recipient of the 2014 Sam Braxton Bike Shop Award is Green Mountain Bikes, of Rochester, Vermont, for their generosity towards traveling cyclists. Steve and Nancy Ellis were on a 10,500-mile perimeter ride of the U.S., having ridden from St. Augustine, Florida, to San Diego, California, then up to Anacortes, Washington, the pair were now on their way to Portland, Maine. They had just climbed Breadloaf Pass in Vermont when they noticed the tires on their tandem were shot. They were referred to Green Mountain Bikes, and immediately recognized it as the same shop that had helped them four years earlier on a 1,200-mile bike tour with their daughters. While their bike was being serviced, Nancy and Steve called ahead to their campsite only to discover it had been completely destroyed in Hurricane Irene. The mechanic, P.J., overheard and invited the pair to camp in the shop’s backyard, leaving the shop unlocked so they could use the restroom. The next day, they woke early and headed out. Nancy explains, “we had traveled about 43 miles and were making our second big climb of the day when the gears wouldn't work anymore. We couldn't ride so we pushed the rest of the way. We had no cell phone reception, so I went to several houses which were pretty far apart until I found a man at home who let me use his land line. We didn't know who to call, but I found the receipt from the bike store in my pocket so I called them to get some advice. I was shocked when the phone was answered on a Sunday morning. It was P.J.! He said not to worry as he could use his GPS to find us, and an hour later he was roadside, diagnosing our mechanical problem. He realized the parts we needed, went back to the shop, and two hours later was back, fixing up our tandem. He finished around 6:00 PM and only charged us for the part. No labor or gas charge either. He even told us to send not to send the check until we finished our trip. Where could you find another bike shop or mechanic with long distance road service like this?? We are very thankful for the good-hearted and caring people we met on our six-month journey of the U.S., which we completed five weeks later.”
The 2014 Volunteer of the Year Award goes to Adventure Cycling Life Member Rami Haddad, of Lexington, Massachusetts. Each year, Adventure Cycling staff chooses a volunteer who assists us in the advancement of Adventure Cycling’s mission of inspiring and empowering people to travel by bicycle. This year Rami was nominated by several staff members who had this to say:
“Without Rami’s enthusiasm and skill, this past summer's beta test of digital map data would not have been pulled off in quite the same way. He jumped in from his role of moderating the GPS Discussion Forums to helping write numerous support pages, testing data on various devices (even in the field!) and moving the process forward at every step. When he agreed to give us a year of his time to make this project happen, none of us had any idea exactly how much of a gift this year would be.”
“Rami has put countless hours into helping us out with the digital mapping project. He has been our expert with device functionality and helped to support all of the testers this summer. I can't say enough good things about Rami.”
“Rami is a very talented and enthusiastic volunteer with extensive knowledge (and willingness to keep learning more) both in the GPS and mobile device worlds. His help on the GPS forums and in the digital navigation project has been invaluable in helping us address users' questions about our GPS data, and moving forward with requests for more mobile options.”
Rami’s work to promote and improve conditions for bicycle travel in America through his work moderating our forums and assisting with the beta testing of our digital map option was greatly appreciated.
The Adventure Cycling Awards program began in 2003 as a way to recognize organizations and individuals who are doing extraordinary things in the name of bicycle travel. We are always on the lookout for bicycle-travel heroes. If you would like to know more about past winners and to nominate your own bicycle-travel hero, visit http://www.adventurecycling.org/awards.