“I love the ride, and am grateful to have done it every year now when there is so much happening in the world,,” said Knowles who has seen the event grow from a peloton of 40 riders to more than 300 over the past 13 years. Along the way she has become an effective fundraiser, too, earning status as one of the event’s “top fundraisers” in 2019.
The South Dartmouth resident remembers that first Watershed Ride fondly despite the fact that it rained for much of the ride. “It was the best day ever! I was pretty committed to riding at that point and the Watershed Ride became a yearly goal.”
Knowles said that she has been cycling regularly since 1982. “My brother was training for triathlons, and I really loved riding with him (and I still do). In the summer of 1984, I did three century rides in three weeks,” she said.
And while she may not track her mileage most of the time, Knowles said she tries to get on the road several times each week. “Biking has always helped me stay centered, particularly now when there’s so much happening. There’s a kind of freedom that you get while bicycling that I love.”
The Watershed Ride appeals to her, in part, because of the route itself, which follows the Buzzards Bay coastline. “I always try to organize my riding routes to follow the water as much as possible. One of my favorite parts of the Watershed Ride is the section along East Beach in Westport because you’re surrounded by water for so long. It’s such a beautiful area.”
The mission of protecting Buzzards Bay is important to Knowles. “The Watershed Ride is the one event that I’ve stayed really dedicated to,” she said. “I support the work of the Coalition and I love the coast. I’ve felt so privileged to live on the Bay for 40 years, and it’s a place worth keeping healthy.”