2008-10-09 / Front Page

Streamlining the 33rd annual Jamestown Classic Bike Race

By Sam Bari

The 33rd Annual Jamestown Classic Bike Race sponsored by the Jamestown Rotary Club and the Chamber of Commerce will be a little different this year.

Due to concerns for safety, as well as the disruption of business and town life, the organizers have taken steps to make the race more exciting while reducing the impact on the town. They hope their efforts will result in residents and merchants being inconvenienced as little as possible.

Racing will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Columbus Day, Monday, Oct. 13, at the start/finish line in front of the Recreation Center.

The race is the main fund-raising event for the Jamestown Rotary Club. Proceeds from the event are used to support local, national, and international causes. In recent years, these funds have purchased wheel chairs for the underprivileged in Nicaragua, created a women's literacy project in Ghana, and purchased new music chairs for the Jamestown Middle School.

Additionally, the race has helped provide funds for a new trailer for the local Boy Scout troop, contributed towards research for a cure for ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), and assisted in the maintenance of a clean water project in Cambodia, among other noteworthy charitable efforts.

Riders will begin arriving in town around 7 a.m. Participants and guests have been asked to park west of the fire station on Narragansett Avenue to leave parking to the east open for local residents.

Also, parking will be limited at East Ferry. During the event, access to and from the parking area will be from the normal exit at the north end of the East Ferry lot. East Ferry businesses will be open as usual.

The only road closure will be on Conanicus Avenue from Narragansett Avenue south to High Street and Walcott Avenue. For the safety of spectators and riders, all streets exiting onto Conanicus in this area: Union, Lincoln, Friendship, and Brook Streets will be closed at the eastern end during the event.

The organizers have made some changes this year in order to make the race safer and more fun. Those changes are: the elimination of the children's race; the combining of all women's races into a single open category; the combining of two categories of juniors' races into one start and all racers will be required to clear the racecourse by 10:30 a.m. before the start of the professional race categories. The last race will start at 10:55 a.m. and will include two laps of the island, which is 38.2 miles. The first group, Pro racers, will be circling the island three times, with the following groups circling twice. All groups will be lead and followed by pace and trail cars, respectively. Organizers ask that residents use caution when traveling on the main roads and entering from side streets.

Riders will be traveling north on Conanicus to East Shore Road, where they will turn south at Summit Avenue. From Summit Avenue, they will travel the length of North Main Road through the intersection at Narragansett Avenue onto Southwest Avenue. They will then follow Beavertail Road out to the lighthouse and back. The race then turns right onto Hamilton Avenue to the end then left on Walcott Avenue, where the racers will head back to the Recreation Center.

Police and race officials will be strategically stationed for traffic control to assure the safety of participants and spectators alike. Police traffic control will be at the two major intersections in town - Narragansett Avenue and Southwest Avenue/North Main Road at the Post Office, and the corner of Narragansett Avenue and Conanicus Avenue. Traffic control will also be at the service road from Route 138 at North Main Road. Critical areas of the course will be marked with orange cones or signs.

This year the following sponsors joined the Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce to organize and support the Jamestown Classic, the largest annual bicycle race in Rhode Island: Toyota, Scion and Hyundai of Newport, Narragansett Bikes, Miller Scott & Holbrook Attorneys at Law, Island Realty, Crystal Spring Water, Rhody Fresh Dairies, and the Jamestown Press.

The Jamestown Rotary Club, the Chamber of Commerce and all the race sponsors encourage everyone to participate, donate, and experience an exciting day of bicycle racing at its best.

To register or volunteer, visit www.jamestownclassic.org on the Internet. For additional information, contact race organizers Michael Schnack at 423-3496 or David Reardon at 423-3478.

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