Bike event raises money for CASA
More than 350 bikers rode to support CASA’s Eastern Panhandle division for the 6th annual CASA River Century Bike Ride on May 21.
Child Protective Services investigates nearly 1,500 cases of child abuse and neglect in the Eastern Panhandle on average every year, and CASA, or court appointed special advocate, volunteers help Child Protective Services. After a training program, CASA volunteers help investigate some of the cases when children have been removed from their because of abuse and/or neglect, according to the CASA website.
The race helped raise money and awareness for the local branch of of the Eastern Panhandle (CASA-EP) which was established in 2003. Since then, CASA-EP has trained over and advocated for nearly in Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan Counties, according to the CASA website.
Some bikers came out for the sake of the ride and had no awareness of the organization before registering.
“We’re just looking for something to do. It’s the first time I’ve ever done anything like this,” said Jillian Stonemetz from Hedgesville.
For her first experience she decided to try the 10-mile circuit.
The CASA bike ride had 10-, 25-, 50- and 100-mile loops. Some of the loops had to be redirected due to flooding from spring storms on River Road.
Riders were provided with rest stops with snack and beverages. After the bike ride, bikers feasted on lasagna, salads, pizza and other snacks. During the bike ride childcare was provided with tricycles and bikes as well as face painting, coloring and snacks for kids.
The longest loop allowed riders to experience different scenery of Jefferson and Berkeley Counties. It was composed of two loops that returned to the staging area at Shepherd University. The first loop was in Jefferson County and was 55 miles. Riders saw views of the Potomac River; peacocks, horse and goat farms; historic churches and homes on the rolling countryside.
The peacocks were an unusual site according to Fred Jones of Bakerton who does the local Jefferson County loop frequently.
“I’ve never seen peacocks, I must not be paying enough attention,” Jones said.
Jones participates in CASA every year, an organization he only knew a little bit about before he started to participate in the bike ride.
The last of the 100-mile loop goes through Berkeley County and boasted views of North Mountain and the Arden-Nollville area lined with orchards and fruit markets. Riders crossed the Opequon Creek on historic stone bridges and ended back in Shepherd.
“Lots of bikers come from out of the area to just appreciate the beauty in Jefferson County,” said Samantha Muncy, president of the CASA.
At registration many of the riders asked for directions to local hotels such as the Bavarian Inn and the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center.
“It is our biggest year, and it really is going to help out the organization,” Muncy said.
For more information about CASA and the bike ride, visit the website www.casarivercentury.