Ron Franklin and Kent Lucas each did a double-take before realizing they truly had won one of the two grand prizes in our recent East Coast River Relay raffle: a $600 gift certificate to REI for Lucas and $600 gift certificate to Performance Bicycle for Franklin.
“I never win anything!” laughs Lucas, of Cranford, N.J. He signed up when he saw our raffle promoted online. “My wife wins, but I never do.”
Franklin agrees. He lives in Tiverton, R.I. and signed up at a River Relay walk with the Mystic River Watershed Association in Malden, Mass., in early September. “You expect to get a bunch of emails when you sign up for something like this, but not to win!”
Five other raffle participants won East Coast River Relay jerseys as interim drawings throughout our 25th anniversary River Relay celebration. The raffle drew 749 entries, beginning with our August 24 kickoff event in Calais, Maine, and finishing October 28 during an evening Critical Mass bicycle gathering in Miami, Florida. A partner organization, the Alliance for Watershed Education of the Delaware River, also offered raffle sign-ups during its month-long River Days celebrations at its education centers.
Franklin calls himself a “beginner” cyclist and prefers riding on greenways and trails to roads. A semi-retired engineer, he’s also started volunteering as a USA Triathlon referee. His friend competes in triathlons, so now he can help when he tags along with her. “It’s mostly about safety and fairness,” he says of the referee work. “Prior to the event, for example, we inspect their bikes to make sure they are safe and legal, then educate them if needed.”
Lucas, on the other hand, has been riding bikes most of his life, including off-and-on commuting to work the last 20 years. He is enjoying his longest streak of bike commuting ever: As of December 1, he hadn’t missed a day since February 2017. His eight-mile ride to an IT job with Bed, Bath & Beyond includes about four miles of East Coast Greenway.
Winter is the hardest season, he acknowledges. “It’s easy to think about driving in a warm car versus taking the time to put on multiple layers,” he says, but mentally and physically, “it’s always a good choice to ride.”
Franklin first learned of the East Coast Greenway at the walk in Malden. But Lucas has been a fan for years. He and his wife host bicycle tourists through the nonprofit Warmshowers.org. They are seeing an increasing number of people who know of the route — especially young people from Europe and Asia. The visitors like hitting the highlights of the East Coast by bike, he says, from New York City to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
We have a small number of East Coast River Relay jerseys still available. Check them out
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