Challenges with Bike-A-Thons of the pastPublished 8:44am Friday, May 6, 2011
Column: Between the Corn Rows
There are several interesting aspects involved with tomorrow’s American Cancer Society Bike-A-Thon and its 100-mile route around the county.
The prime challenge for the riders and volunteers involved with this outstanding fund raising event is based on the weather. This factor can involve perfect spring conditions with warm sunny and almost windless aspects. Then again, rainy and/or windy weather can make the first Saturday of May a pathetic mess. Yet, the bike riding participants and volunteers really try to do their very best for a vitally important cause.
Incidentally, the wind (hopefully without rain) can be both a plus and minus for the Bike-A-Thon participants. The full route actually involves pedaling in the four directions during the Saturday ride. Thus, its a minus facing the wind and a plus as the breeze is helping to push the bikers along toward the end of a long ride.
The personal challenge I face with this column is trying to mention the fine folks who have made the Freeborn County Bike-A-Thon a real success during the last 39 years. In the last column I mentioned Wanda Dorman, Dick Kenevan, Lorrayne Aysta, the Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office and the amateur radio and CB radio operators who provide essential route communications. Then there’s Herb Neale, Harry Olson, former Albert Lea police officer Gene Seuser, Dale Westgate, Art and Mona Hughes, Elaine Larson and so many more super-volunteers from Albert Lea and the communities along the Bike-A-Thon route. And right here the names of some other folks, including several now deceased, may be sadly overlooked.
There’s a special category for the Freeborn County sheriffs and their deputies who have been involved with the Bike-A-Thon since its conception in 1972 and first ride in 1973. Holland Laak was the country’s sheriff in that era. He was followed by Don Nolander, Mark Harig and now Bob Kindler.
The real challenge involved with the yearly Bike-A-Thon is firmly based on the participants. Those participants range in age from senior citizens to youngsters who might have been in grade schools and maybe even kindergartners the previous day. The two-wheel and even three-wheel bikers have also included family and club groups through the years.
The late Geri McShane Murtaugh wrote an article for the May 6, 2002, Tribune about the one person who had become the most outstanding fundraiser for those yearly Bike-A-Thons. His name was Dr. Irving Lemer, an oncologist from the Twin Cities. Geri’s article said this doctor had raised $405,881 of the $1,161,882 total for the Bike-A-Thon up to 2001. Her article said the 2002 ride was his last fundraising ride around the county.
There’s one more category of folks involved with the Bike-A-Thon who deserve recognition. They are the sponsors who furnish the food and beverages at the rest stops, plus the prizes for awards night.
In the last column I mentioned two of the routes used for the Bike-A-Thon, including the one for tomorrow. Now there seems to have been a third route. Tom Jones tells me the first few Bike-A-Thons had a route based on a course of 58 miles and the participants were supposed to go around it twice. Does anyone have more information about this original route?
Anyway, let’s salute all the fine folks involved with tomorrow’s Freeborn County Chapter American Cancer Society Bike-A-Thon.
We have added information about one of Bidney Bergie mystery photos in the April 3 Lifestyles. One of the three ladies in the back porch coffee break photo was the mother of Ignatuis Bjorlie, and it was taken in Northwood, Iowa, about a century ago.
I would appreciate receiving updates on Patie Hendrickson, Miss Albert Lea in 1956, and JoAnn Register, Miss Albert Lea in 1957, for a future article.
Ed Shannon’s column has been appearing in the Tribune every Friday since December 1984.