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Bikes and BBQ

Party on the river for the river

As rivers twist and wind through Chesapeake Country, so do cyclists raising money to help them.
    The third annual Ride for the Rivers brings dozens of bike enthusiasts to Discovery Village in Shady Side this year to raise funds for the West/Rhode Riverkeeper. Riders choose from three courses, a 10-mile family fun ride, a 40-mile ride or the challenging 100-kilometer (60-mile) route traversing southern Anne Arundel and northern Calvert counties.
    The routes travel as far south as North Beach, circling back up to southern Anne Arundel and crossing miles of rolling farmland.
    “In some places, you are cruising right by the water,” says Riverkeeper Jeff Holland.
    Holland was surprised years ago to discover how passionate cyclists are for the rivers. “The first year we had this event,” he says, “We had 60 bikers. Last year we had 120. With the ride over a week away, we have over 100 already signed up.”
    Cyclists pay to ride and can swell their donation with by-the-mile pledges at registration. The rider with the largest donation wins a weekend in a waterfront home on the Rhode River.
    Like your effort, all your money helps Riverkeeper programs.
    “You don’t have to bike to participate,” Holland adds. The Muddy Bottom BBQ party starts at noon to fill bellies with what Holland claims is the best fried fish and fried chicken we’ve ever tasted.
    “These folks from Galesville Community Center are putting the menu together, and I just salivate thinking about how good it’s going to be.”
    In addition to mouth-watering food, the party serves up local beer and local music, thanks to Celtic musician, Maggie Sansone of Shady Side.
    “All of this is to keep our waters fishable, swimmable, crab-able, kayak-able and wonderful,” Holland says.
    “This event combines the rural character of our watershed and the incredible natural beauty of the county. What better way to celebrate it than with a riverside barbecue and a taste of the flavor for what makes this place so special and why these rivers are so worth protecting.”

Saturday, May 14. Registration 7am, ride 8am, BBQ noon-3pm, Discovery Village, Shady Side, $50 distance riders, $30 family-fun ride, $25 BBQ only (12 and under free), rsvp: www.westrhoderiverkeeper.org.