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Cyclists ride for health and environmental issues

August 12, 2011|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com
  • John Rodenhausen and Beth McGee of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation came through Williamsport Thursday on the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal towpath as part of their 1,300-mile bike ride around the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Behind them is Jon Mueller, vice president of litigation for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, who joined McGee and Rodenhausen for part of the ride.
By Caleb Calhoun/Mobile Journalist

John Rodenhausen and Beth McGee of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation stopped for a rest day in Williamsport Thursday in the middle of a 1,300-mile bike ride around the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

"We started in Maryland, went up to Pennsylvania and then all the way to New York, and we are now on our southern route going back through Maryland," Rodenhausen said. "We plan to go through West Virginia, Virginia and then head up the eastern shore on into Delaware."

Rodenhausen and McGee said they were making the bike trip to raise awareness and money for health and environmental issues. They began their trip July 30 in Annapolis and said they expect to complete it Aug. 19.

"There's a very strong link between a healthy environment and healthy bodies," Rodenhausen said. "We thought navigating the entire watershed of the Chesapeake Bay would be a unique way to raise awareness to those issues."

McGee added that keeping the bodies of water that are part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed clean can affect everybody living around it.

"Keeping the environment clean can hit home for people," McGee said. "It can affect their health, their access to clean water, and even where they go swimming."

They said they are trying to raise $20,000, $10,000 of which is for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Rodenhausen added that he is trying to raise $5,000 for the Johns Hopkins University Pediatric Oncology Department, while McGee said she is trying to raise $5,000 for the American Diabetes Association.

People can donate by going to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's website at www.cbf.org.

Rodenhausen said they have raised almost $19,000 so far.

"We are trying to get that extra push in the next few days," he said.

Rodenhousen said that Bambeco, a company that sells sustainable home products, will contribute $1,500, as well as $1 for everybody who goes to its company's Facebook page and clicks the "like" button during the ride.

The bicyclists have been traveling about 60 miles a day before stopping, using bike trails and roads. They have stayed in hotels or with friends, depending on where they stopped. In Williamsport, they stayed with a co-worker's family.

McGee said that she wants to raise awareness among everybody who lives around the Chesapeake Bay watershed about how they can help keep the bay clean.

"People care about creeks in their backyard," she said. "They can help keep the bay clean just by keeping the creeks in their towns clean, because they eventually reach the bay."

Jon Mueller, vice president of litigation for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, joined McGee and Rodenhausen for part of the ride.

"I met up with them in Binghamton (N.Y.), and I plan to ride with them down to Skyland Shenandoah," he said.

Rodenhausen and McGee said they plan to ride through Virginia to the Eastern Shore, then will cycle into Seaford, Del., before heading back to Annapolis. They said they usually ride from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

The Chesapeake Bay watershed is an area covering more than 64,000 square miles, according to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's website. It reaches Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, as well as Washington, D.C.

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