Pedaling beneath sunny skies on a warm fall day, the cyclists recorded impressive fundraising and participation totals at the Watershed Ride. The 416 cyclists, supported by 100 volunteers, raised $396,708 and counting for clean water.
This annual event supports the Coalition’s work to ensure clean water in all Bay communities, restore and protect Bay ecosystems, and get people of all ages outside and engaged with their Buzzards Bay.
“This is our biggest Watershed Ride and one of the best yet – enthusiastic participation, a stunning route, and beautiful fall weather,” said Coalition President Mark Rasmussen. “It felt great to return to our traditional course and to welcome so many new cyclists to this spectacular celebration of the Bay.”
The sun rose orange and pink on a warm autumn morning at Sakonnet Point in Little Compton, where 148 riders departed on the Watershed Ride’s 100-mile century ride. The route wound through Little Compton and Westport’s rich coastal farmland to the wave-washed coast along Horseneck Beach State Reservation, where another 121 riders began their 75-mile route. Another 147 riders began their 35-mile route from East Over Farms in Rochester.
Along the way from Sakonnet Point to the finish line in Woods Hole, riders pedaled past thousands of acres of permanently protected woodlands, wetlands, salt marsh, and beach habitat managed by the Coalition, local land trusts and state and local municipalities.
Among the reserves on the route this year was Lyons Brook Reserve in Westport, a 55-acre property preserved by the Coalition for its vital cold-water stream habitat and its connection to protecting water quality in the East Branch of the Westport River.
The Watershed Ride drew cyclists of all ages and abilities from 148 communities in 13 states. The oldest rider was John Carroll from Pocasset, and the youngest was 12 year old Charlotte Petersen from Middleboro (who was also the top first time fundraiser!) “It was amazing that I finally got to do the ride. The landscape we were able to ride through was beautiful. I am especially appreciative of all the support I received at the finish line. I want to thank the Buzzards Bay Coalition for being Superheroes,” said Charlotte.
More than half of the riders participated as a member of one of 55 teams, made up of groups of friends and family who train, fundraise, and ride the course together.
The top fundraisers were Ken Cheitlin of Pocasset, who raised $12,132, Drew Dimmick of Vineyard Haven, who raised $10,550, and Chip Johns of Mattapoisett, who raised $10,347. The top fundraising team this year was the Bourne Rail Trail Blazers, which raised $46,161. With 43 members, the team was the largest participating in the Ride this year, with many riders having participated for 10+ years.
“It was a perfect day for the Watershed Ride and the Bourne Rail Trail Blazers appreciated the spirited competition from the other teams, all for such a good cause, the Coalition’s important work on behalf of Buzzards Bay and its
watershed,” said top fundraiser and Captain of the Bourne Rail Trail Blazers, Ken Cheitlin. “We are proud to have been the top fundraising team. In addition, we were able to take full advantage of a matching challenge and raised significant funds for the effort to create the Bourne Rail Trail, the 6.2 mile missing link between the Cape Cod Canal and the Shining Sea Bikeways. We thank the Coalition for their partnership!”
The event was made possible through the support of incredible sponsors, including Hutker Architects, Anderson Insulation, Blount Clam Shack, Cape Cod 5, and Stone Path Malt.
The Buzzards Bay Watershed Ride is one of two signature outdoor fundraising events hosted by the Coalition. The other is the Buzzards Bay Swim, a 1.2-mile open-water swim across outer New Bedford Harbor. For more information, email Jonah Guerin: firstname.lastname@example.org.