Riders start in, pass through Rochester on a quest for clean water

Oct 6, 2019

ROCHESTER — Two groups of cyclists on the Buzzards Bay Coalition Watershed ride met briefly at East Over farm on Oct. 6, the 75 and 100 mile riders to stop for lunch, and the 35 mile riders to start up their ride. 

The ride raises money to improve water quality in Buzzards Bay. A record number of 307 cyclists, supported by over 130 volunteers, raised $213,000 and counting for clean water.

Deb Hood, the event manager for the Buzzards Bay Coalition, said it takes “a lot to deploy people over 100 miles. We saw the sun rise at Sakonnet Point and will see the sun set at Woods Hole,” she said.

The environmental group had 97 riders start in Little Compton, 73 in Westport and 137 in Rochester.

Rochester rider Helen Fredericks said that she originally got involved with the ride because “A friend of mine put me up to it.” 

She said that the Buzzards Bay properties are “All places where I go walking with my kids,” adding that “they do so much for us.” 

This year was Hood’s third year riding the 35 mile course, but she thinks she might have hit her length limit there. “I don’t think I’ll ever do 75,” she said.  

Bike mechanic Mike Lee was on site to take care of any problems that riders had. He said that with his mobile bike repair set he could “build a whole bike from scratch,” but luckily his most common problem is cyclists that don’t have enough air in their tires.  

Russ Keeler is another Rochester resident who says that he or someone in his family has been riding for at least ten years. He called the 35-mile ride, “fun for a good cause. It’s a good way to spend a fall day.” 

This year, he participated as one of 59 people in the Friends of the Bourne Rail Trail group. Keeler said he often spends time in Bourne in the summer. He explained that the group is currently at the concept stage for the project, which will break ground in 2024, and have raised $43,000 for a rail trail in Bourne.  

Riders collected and made donations to the Buzzards Bay Coalition, and an anonymous rider made matching donations to the rail trail effort.