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The pedals show their mettle

July 23, 1999|By GREG SIMMONS

Hundreds of bicycle riders will be pedaling through the hills of Washington and Allegany counties in the next week as part of the Carrollton Bank Cycle Across Maryland Tour.

"It's like moving a city," said Pat Bernstein, founder and chair of the CAM Corp., the nonprofit organization that runs the CAM tour.

The CAM Corp. helps underprivileged children and sponsors helmet programs with fund-raising activities, including the bike tour, Bernstein said.

Riders pay up to $200 to participate in the ride. The cash goes to fund the ride and CAM's programs.

The tour starts today at Rocky Gap State Park in Cumberland, Md., and will end Friday, July 30, at Gambrill State Park near Boonsboro. Stops are planned at Hancock and Williamsport.

By the end of the tour, most of the riders will have cycled 270 miles, with some riding up to 360 miles. A shorter tour will stop at Hancock, covering about 150 miles.

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Bernstein said about 600 of the 1,000 people involved in the tour will sleep and eat at a mobile campsite. Nearly 400 people will spend their nights in hotels.

Area towns have spent much of the year planning entertainment for the tour.

Hancock Town Manager Lou Close said it has taken six months to prepare for the 650 riders expected Tuesday night.

"The local economy does pick up a lot. A lot of bikers like to take a break after they've been on the trails a couple of days," Close said.

The town began a tradition a few years ago of putting on a fireworks show just for the CAM tour. The event is scheduled to begin after sunset Tuesday.

Vendors in Hancock will set up at Widmeyer Park to try to sell wares to cyclists, Close said. The Lions Club will have a barbecue, and Pizza Hut will bring a trailer to the park.

"We do it because we like people to come to Hancock - it's a lot of fun, too," Close said.

Hugh Williams, 67, of Hedgesville, W.Va., plans to ride in the tour for the fifth time. He said all the activities that CAM provides are good for the cyclists.

"They do a lot of good things. All these little activities help. I think these people do a real good job organizing," Williams said.

He said he hopes to ride all six days. "I enjoy (the ride) but it's work. You gotta be in shape for it," Williams said.

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