Let’s face it – not everyone has the time, energy or desire to ride the entire ECG in one attempt. That’s okay, because we have the ECGA Week-A-Year (WAY) Tour! It allows cyclists the opportunity to tour a different segment of the ECG for one week each year.
Since the first WAY tour departed Calais, ME, in 2011 with 20 riders, the Tour’s riders have cycled 46,000 total ECG miles! In 2014, 41 riders (including 3 ECGA staff) participated in the WAY Tour.
In addition to participants enjoying and exploring some (or possibly all) segments of the ECG Spine Route from Maine to Florida, the WAY Tour benefits the ECGA in several ways:
- Local media opportunites provide visibilty for the ECG
- Engagement with local stakeholders, including officials and community members
- Field-testing of new ECG App and Trip Planner
- Feedback for ECGA trail staff regarding trail routing, signage and conditions.
Also, WAY Tour participants actively support the ECGA by fundraising for their tour.
Good friends Barbara Amodio and Beverly Duncan are WAY Tour veterans and will be doing this year’s WAY Tour in October. We asked them to share a few thoughts with us about their experiences with the WAY Tour.
When and how did the two of you begin bike touring?
We are retired elementary school teachers and we started touring in 2002. Our first tour was in Holland, then Austria, Denmark, and Belgium.
How did you get involved in the WAY Tour and how many years have you been participating?
What a great find it was for us to discover the ECG and realize that we could tour our own country on bikes. We knew we wouldn’t want to tent each night, so when we heard about the WAY rides we were all in. Unfortunately, we missed the first leg of the ride in 2011 from Calais to Portland, but plan to make it up. We’ve done the WAY Tour in 2012, 2013, 2014 and we’re looking forward to 2015 – Fredericksburg, VA, to Raleigh, NC.
What are some highlights from previous WAY Tours?
There couldn’t have been much bigger moments for us than riding down Broadway in NYC, riding to the Rocky steps in Philly and riding down the National Mall in D.C. on our bikes. Couple that with incredible shoreline, woods and park trails and the amazing people we have met along the way; life just doesn’t get much better.
Every ride has been special. Last year was a special accomplishment for us because Bev had a knee replacement in February and Barb fractured a pelvic bone in March. It was not easy to prepare for the ride, but we did it.
What really motivates you to do the WAY Tour?
Often we stop and ask ourselves the same question! These are some of the answers we give ourselves: to make our grown children proud, to feel good about ourselves, and to pave the way for our grandchildren and future generations to have a safe place to ride. We firmly believe that the trails will improve the quality of life for all.
Why do you love supporting the ECGA?
Having the ECG gives us the opportunity to link to an even larger system of locally connected trails. We support the ECG because we feel such peace and happiness when biking safely on protected trails and because the trail system will go a long way to improving the quality of life for everyone.