Gearing it up

Last Saturday's Gear Up For Lyme Bike Challenge was one of those events that combines a lot of things which make the area special. One, it's an outdoor sporting event that celebrates athleticism and healthy fitness - all the way from elite competitors to more regular riders with an interest in seeing how fast they can pedal up a steep mountain course nearly five-and-a half miles long. But then the reward is a spectacular view of the surrounding hills and valleys, along with a feeling of accomplishment.

Two, it celebrates community volunteerism and helping out to make an event for a good cause go forward. The Manchester Rotary Club, which organizes and hosts the event, is a small club which needs all its members pitching in to help to show move along. It also needs help from other friends and members of other local community service groups, all of whom are motivated by a desire to help out and create an event which is exciting to watch and be part of.

Full disclosure: The Manchester Journal is a member of the Rotary Club and has been so since the local club was founded back in the 1930s. Parking cars at 7 a. m. on a Saturday morning isn't everyone's idea of fun. But it takes on meaning when part of a larger experience. You're helping build community, which in this day and age is more important than ever, and it's couple with a good purpose - in this case, doing something to control the spread of Lyme Disease.

Finally, we've been hearing a lot about how Manchester and the surrounding area is well suited for development as a biking Mecca and destination for enthusiasts who love the sport, whether it's recreationally or competitively. In addition to the Vermont Biking Challenge which will be rolling through town next week, we've seen the arrival of amenities like bike stands and repair stations around town. Much of this is an outgrowth of the biking task force set up in the wake of last year's Manchester 2020 initiative. Can painted bike lanes be far behind? That's all to the good and we hope that momentum continues. And having a premier bike racing event up storied Mt. Equinox, in support of research into finding ways to treat Lyme Disease, a big and growing problem in Vermont, surely should be part of that.

Last but not least, a shout out to Andy Holzman of the Rotary Club, who has nurtured and developed this event for the past 11 years, with skill and grace. Nicely done, Andy.


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