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A "Long Ride Home" to Become a BFC
By Lindsay Plante, BFA Communications Intern
Bicyclists in Venice, Fla., are hard at work to improve their bike-friendly status. After receiving an honorable mention on their first application to the Bicycle Friendly Community program, community members have rallied around Venice cycling to strengthen their next application.
Along with greater support from the city and a number of bike-friendly projects, a group of six riders proved their dedication with a 1,054 mile trek from Washington, D.C. to Venice, dubbed "The Long Ride Home," to get everyone in Venice excited about riding.
Three cyclists took the first leg of the journey from D.C. to Savannah, Ga., with the rest of the group joining for the home stretch from Savannah to Venice. The trip took seven days to complete, with an average of 150 miles covered each day. The idea for the trip grew out of a desire to spark the interest of the Venice community.
Rider Steve Christian explained: "In Venice we have a very popular 20-mile system of off-street bicycle trails. In the peak use season from December through April we have approximately 20,000 trail users each month. In our Bicycle Friendly Community efforts one of the things that we have been focusing on is to empower more of the trail-users to become on-street bicycle users. The 'Long Ride Home' shows riders of all levels that if you use a bicycle as a vehicle, there are no limits to where it can take you. The grocery store, the library, the YMCA or even 1,000 miles down the road."
Now back in Venice, the group is taking their momentum to the streets of their hometown. Their efforts and enthusiasm continue to propel their community to the next level as Venice seeks Bronze in 2012.
Kudos to Dave Reynolds, Steve Christian, Top Busetti, Eric Claessens, Eric Latimer and Matt Snook for their dedication!