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Bike tour will revolve around aid to children

April 25, 2005|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

EASTERN PANHANDLE, W.VA. - Bill Wilcox has been a man on a mission, astride his bicycle and armed with a can of white spray paint.

Take the scenic route through parts of Jefferson County or Berkeley County and one might notice white markings on the roads.

Those marks, painted mostly by Wilcox, will be used by riders who participate in an upcoming bicycle ride fund-raiser for CASA - Court-Appointed Special Advocates. CASA volunteers work on behalf of abused or neglected children in Jefferson, Berkeley and Morgan counties.

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Riders can choose from a 10-mile, 25-mile, 50-mile or 100-mile course. The ride is scheduled for May 15.

There is a $25 registration fee to ride the 10- or 25-mile route, and a $40 fee to ride the 50- or 100-mile route. Those who wait to register until the day of the ride will be charged an additional $10.

All proceeds will be used to help train CASA volunteers, said CASA volunteer Joan Piemme, who has spearheaded the fund-raiser.

Piemme said it's been a learning experience.

At first, she didn't know how to approach corporations for donations, what routes should be used or what to charge.

While those questions have been answered, at least one still has not.

"Nobody can tell me how much food to prepare for each rider," she said.

Piemme said that around 20 riders have signed up so far. Some are obtaining pledges.

Prizes will be given for the rider who obtains the highest amount of pledges, and for the largest team of cyclists.

All riders will receive a T-shirt.

"It's a beautiful ride," Piemme said. "You really do have a chance to enjoy the greenery and the smells."

A CASA volunteer since 2002, Piemme, of Bakerton, W.Va., said she did not intend to spend her retirement from nursing as a "couch potato."

Working with CASA has enabled her to learn about the court system and - more importantly, she said - help children.

"You see a slice of life that I'm happy to say I never experienced," Piemme said, adding that the children are mired in disastrous and upsetting situations.

CASA volunteers work to find a permanent home for such children.

Wilcox, an avid cyclist who once rode his bicycle across the United States, is the father of a CASA volunteer.

He can recite the routes, turn by turn, nearly inch by inch, by memory.

Suffice it to say that they will be scenic and will incorporate a variety of historic spots. Brief forays will be made into Martinsburg, W.Va., and Clarke County, Va.

All of the routes will begin at the Bavarian Inn in Shepherdstown, W.Va. The 50-mile and 100-mile routes will start at 8 a.m., the 25-mile route will begin at 10 a.m. and the 10-mile route will begin at 11 a.m.

The 25-mile route is to take place entirely on the towpath of C&O Canal National Historical Park, along the Potomac River. Riders will go to Harpers Ferry, W.Va., and back.

Rest stops are scattered along all of the routes, except for the 10-mile one. At one rest stop, Wilcox's son-in-law will give riders free massages.

Wilcox, of Shepherdstown, is hoping that the courtroom in which abolitionist John Brown was tried in 1859 can be opened to riders who stop in Charles Town, W.Va.

Riders on certain routes also will see two mansions that belonged to members of George Washington's family, a stone bridge said to be the oldest in West Virginia, obelisks marking sites with Civil War significance, and will pass by numerous horse farms where mares and their foals could be present.

Those on the 100-mile ride will pedal parallel to the Blue Ridge and will be able to stop at a scenic overlook of the Potomac River, Wilcox said.

So which of the rides does Wilcox plan to embark upon?

None.

He will be a man on a mission again, this time armed with a phone and fielding calls from riders who are lost.




If you go



What: CASA fundraiser bicycle ride

When: May 15

Where: Jefferson and Berkeley counties

Riders can choose from a 10-mile, 25-mile, 50-mile or 100-mile route.

For more information or to register, call CASA Executive Director Christine Mayman at 304-267-0100, ext. 291 or 290; or go to www.casaep.org

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