Bike-a-thon benefits charity

The 27th annual Kiwanis Bike-a-thon took place on Saturday 31 January. In spite of some dark and threatening clouds on the horizon, 95 cyclists took to the road in an attempt to raise funds for the Kiwanis Club of Grand Cayman’s various projects.

The event, which started way back in 1982, featured riders of all ages and abilities. Starting out at the Blow Holes near East End, the 20 mile course took participants back to George Town and the finish at Smith Cove.

Ottmar Weber, one of the stalwarts of the event, took part for the 25th time this year. In recognition of his long standing support, and the more than $40,000 that he has raised over the years, the organisers presented Weber with a special yellow jersey at the start of the ride. In cycling, a yellow jersey traditionally denotes the leader of a race and therefore represents a fitting tribute to Weber’s enduring support.

Although the Bike-a-thon is a fundraiser and not a race, it is often said that a race is what you get when you put to cyclists together. Therefore, even though the event was run on a friendly basis, the pace at the front soon became exceedingly hot.

A select group of cyclists formed at the front of the race as the pace began to take its toll on those not quite as fit. Around the Agricultural Pavilion in Savannah, Jerome Ameline rode off the front of the peloton, proving too strong for anyone to follow. Around Spotts landing, Steve Evans and Mitchell Smith attacked the field and set off in pursuit of Ameline. Although the two worked together well and managed to close in on Ameline, they could not bring him back into the fold. Ameline soloed to victory well clear of his pursuers and was followed home by Smith and Evans, with the rest of the fractured field crossing the line well behind.

‘Jerome just basically time trialed off the front and away from the peloton,’ said Evans, clearly in awe of Ameline’s performance.

The president of the Cayman Islands Cycling Association, Gary Clarke, had nothing but praise for the event.

‘The Cycling Association has always been happy to support such an event as it not only benefits its cause but also helps to bring cycling awareness,’ says Clarke.

‘From the looks of things the CICA spring classics in May will be very exciting.’

Proceeds from this year’s edition of the event will go towards the stocking of the ‘Library on Wheels’. The 14-foot trailer that will be used as the library has already been purchased and once it is fully stocked with books it will make stops throughout the districts to loan as well as give way books to the youth of Cayman.

Another of the ongoing projects of the Kiwanis Club of Grand Cayman is the ‘Buy a Kid Breakfast’ programme, which helps pay for breakfast for many students who enter school without having had a good breakfast at home. The programme is already in its third year.

The ‘BUG’ programme is also very popular, with elementary school students receiving small reminder gifts throughout the year to help ‘Bring Up their Grades’. The students who participate are rewarded with an ice cream and bouncy castle party at the end of the course.

The Kiwanis Club meets every Wednesday at 12:30pm for lunch at the Britannia Golf Club Restaurant. For more information call Kiwanis Club president Ms Karen Barnett at 327-7946 or visit www.kiwanis.ky.

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