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A warm thank you from the Potomac Pedalers Touring Club

By Staff | Sep 23, 2016

As chair of Potomac Pedalers Touring Club of the Washington, D.C. metro area, on behalf of my fellow members, I want to thank the residents of Shepherdstown and the neighboring towns. On Sunday, Sept. 18 you welcomed approximately 1,900 bicyclists and 200 volunteers into your communities for the Back Roads Century bicycle ride and, once again, made us feel comfortable and cared for, and kept us safe. For that we are deeply appreciative.

We are thankful for your generosity in hosting us, and in welcoming back to your community for the second year, such a large influx of cyclists. We are grateful for the opportunity to enjoy the scenic beauty of your rivers, the mountain valleys, and orchards upon orchards, while interacting with the many wonderful residents, merchants, businesses and public venues.

We extend a special thanks to the Shepherdstown Visitors Center, Shepherd University, Gay and Mike Henderson at Bellevue Mansion, the Food Lion in Shepherdstown and the local hotels and merchants who helped us put on this event. We tip our bike helmets in respect to the support provided to our cyclists by the law enforcement authorities in Shepherdstown, Jefferson County, Berkeley County and Frederick County.

Our riders got a chance to experience your communities; enjoy your shops, restaurants and artisans; learn much about your rich culture and history; as well as to enjoy the challenge of bicycling in the beauty that surrounds you. Our riders on the tour ranged from elementary school-aged children to couples, families, and retirees. For our participants, this tour was the highlight after a year of training – whether they challenged themselves to the “century ride” (100 miles), a half century ride, or to a 15-mile ride to Antietam, bicycling in your scenic countryside was the celebration of their efforts.

For this second year we worked hard with community leaders to address concerns that arose last year from hosting such a large event – we took last year’\s feedback to heart and truly strived to minimize our impact. We rerouted where we could to be less of a burden on your roads and moved a rest stop in order to accommodate the cyclist traffic better. The only lasting footprint we want to leave are good memories and interactions; everything we planned this year had this one goal in mind.

New for this second year we wanted to show our great thanks to you, our hosts, through a number of community grants to local non -profit organizations including Potomac Valley Audubon Society, a high school soccer team, and the 4-H. The Back Roads Century is committed to making Shepherdstown it’s home – contributing to the welfare of the community is just part of that commitment.

Thank you again for sharing yourselves and your towns with us. We look forward to returning and spending time with you again.

Matt Birnbaum, Chair

Potomac Pedalers