August 8, 2012
It's been a busy summer here at Adventure Cycling headquarters.
Last month Adventure Cycling celebrated the much-anticipated completion of our renovation and building expansion with a huge community block party. We saw members and donors from all over the country, gave away freezers-full of free ice cream, danced to live music, and even got to be on the radio!
Missoula's local radio station, The Trail 103.3 covered the whole event live and conducted on-air interviews with Adventure Cycling staff, members, party-goers, and visiting cyclists. It was a great way to celebrate the continued growth of our organization, and humbling to see the levels of support in our local and national communities.
In more somber news, June Curry, the famous and beloved "Cookie Lady" of Afton, Virginia, passed away on Monday, July 16. According to Jim Sayer, "For more than three decades, June hosted thousands of cyclists from all over the planet at her home on the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail. Her generosity was so great that we named our first formal bike-travel award in her honor, the June Curry 'Trail Angel' Award, which recognizes an individual or group that goes the extra mile (or ten) to help traveling cyclists."
In keeping with June's tradition, the Willis Church, also located on the TransAm in Virginia, is fast becoming a haven for touring cyclists. Bill Lohmann, a reporter for the Richmond Times did a wonderful write-up of Willis:
The church, which sits peacefully amid fields and woods and just down the road from Glendale National Cemetery, is on Willis Church Road -- on the route of the TransAmerica Trail. A day's ride from Yorktown, the church is a popular stopover for cyclists just starting their journey or about to finish it. Cyclists are offered a roof, a kitchen, and access to the sanctuary. This year, the first rider came through in April, heading west; the final cyclist of 2011, traveling east, arrived in December. The only thing the church asks is that the cyclists sign the guestbook, which is filled with names from faraway places and lots of gratitude.
Along with the article, you can listen to audio interviews with two touring cyclists who were recent patrons of the Willis Church.
This summer we've seen touring cyclists taking on big challenges, like Rich Mills, who recently embarked on a cross-country bike trek to raise awareness for Parkinson's disease, a condition he was diagnosed with in 2009. Read the full story from the Des Moines Register. Our maps make a great cameo in the cover photo of the article.
Another pair of touring cyclists, survivors of the Aurora shooting, are facing their experiences in a very positive way. As reported on National Public Radio (NPR) on July 23, "22-year-old Stephen Barton, and his longtime friend, Ethan Rodriguez-Torrent, both from Southbury, Connecticut, were six weeks into their ride to San Francisco when they pulled into Aurora on Thursday to meet a friend and decided to attend the midnight showing of the new Batman movie. Rodriguez-Torrent was unharmed in the subsequent shooting, while Barton and their other friend sustained serious injuries. "I guess I've chosen more to focus on … my own recovery" Barton said, "and how, you know, I can take some positive out of … this very tragic experience." Both cyclists hope to finish their ride to San Francisco next year, leaving from the Aurora movie theater. You can view this brief interview with Barton to learn more.
Back at headquarters, through all the recent events, every day, rain or shine (or blizzard) throngs of cyclists pour through our front doors with stories, smiles, and some unforgettable tan lines. To get a little sample of the action, check out our 2012 Visiting Cyclists photo album on Flickr.
Don't get me wrong, the block parties, the ice cream, the visiting cyclists every summer are great, but they're just some of the many things that make Adventure Cycling such a special place ... For the past five years Outside Magazine has annually compiled a list of the "Best Places to Work," first naming 30, then 50, and now 100 companies that encourage employees to pursue and achieve a healthy work-life balance. Bicycle Retailer And Industry News (BRAIN) aptly pointed out in a recent article that this year, seventeen bike-industry businesses made the cut. Yeah, bike industry! And guess what?
Photo by Greg Siple
NEWS, NETWORKING, AND NEW MEDIA highlights cool media (articles, videos, photos, etc.) and meet-ups related to Adventure Cycling and bicycle travel. This column is usually written by Media Director Winona Bateman. Writing a story about bicycle travel or Adventure Cycling Association? Contact Winona via email at pressATadventurecyclingDOTorg. Visit our media room, view our news releases, or follow us on Twitter.