2011-10-20 / Letters to the Editor

Thanks to everyone involved in bike race

On behalf of the members of the Jamestown Rotary Club – Larry Bartley, Brenda Calkins, Cynthia Corbridge, Ernestine Fryburg, John Grant, Fred Jones, Steve Mecca, Nick Morenzi, Charles Normand, Tyler Page, Jim Perry, Win Reed, Deborah Ruggiero and myself; plus Florida Rotarian Marty Gibbs and Connecticut Exchange Club member Mark Holland – I write to thank the following groups: race sponsors, town officials, volunteers, merchants, tourists, bike race officials, professional consultant Alan Atwood, Rotarians, friends of the Rotary, and citizens of Jamestown.

Columbus Day 2011 began with a lovely sunrise, with cool breezes, and later warm, clear weather. I was concerned about the integrity of the race route given the extensive number of street improvements the Town of Jamestown had begun. Town Administrator Bruce Keiser reassured me that the start and finish area would be open.

Thanks are due also to Public Works Director Mike Gray and his staff, who patched potholes and washed out road edges. Earlier on, members of the clerk’s office helped explain documents and permits that were needed in order to run the bike race.

The Jamestown Police were simply great. They were available at critical intersections and were courteous – but firm – to ensure wandering visitors or islanders were not swept away by speeding packs of cyclists. Our EMT colleagues were ready and made four responses to racing accidents, one of which I am told led to hospitalization.

I did speak with one racer who had fallen during the race and had cuts and abrasions on his arms and legs. He said, “My helmet saved my life and the EMT folks patched me up.”

Back at the heart of the race, the recreation center provided a meeting space for Rotarians and volunteers, and was also the spot for registration. Bill Piva and his colleagues supplied the building and assisted with amenities. There was ample room and we did not run out of toilet supplies! Deb Tungett, who works with the island’s youth, encouraged several to volunteer as race marshals. Thanks also goes to the Jamestown Boy Scouts, led by James Archibald, who were monitors at crosswalks, especially along Walcott and Conanicus.

Lots of Jamestown folks both helped and had a good time. Bill Leonard, former Rotary president, and Lisa Lawless were marshals at the tricky intersection of Hamilton and Southwest avenues, and Beavertail Road.

Jim Perry made sure that trucks and trailers exiting Cumberland Farms did not encounter a wave of racers, as happened some years ago. Jim’s spouse, Pat, and her friend from New Jersey served as marshals and cheered on racers rounding the Beavertail Lighthouse.

Two past Rotary presidents, Mike Schnack and Dave Reardon, supplied us with helpful counsel as we planned and created the event. Past President Steve Mecca, who is really the father of the modern bike race, shared his experience and obtained hay bales from our friend and volunteer Joe Dutra.

Recent past Rotary President Brenda Calkins designed an attractive blue bike race T-shirt, worn by all workers and given to all racers. Professional Alan Atwood oversaw the computer enrollment for the race, supplied officials, arranged for fencing and signage, and in many ways made our burdens lighter.

Each year the bike race is blessed with sponsors – in this particular year it was businesses in Jamestown, Newport and Middletown. We are grateful for the support of our lead sponsor, Premier Toyota of Newport, plus others whose names appear on the T-shirt.

In a larger sense, however, everyone in Jamestown has been a kind of sponsor of this community event, and we thank you all.

Again, many thanks to town offi cials and employees, sponsors and volunteers, youths and seniors, plus everyone in between, and even those who may have experienced a slight inconvenience, perhaps getting onto a road while the bike race was in progress.

People who visit us for the bike race say, “What a wonderful community!”

It is a wonderful community indeed.

Jim Traer

Intrepid Lane

Jamestown

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