Cyclists pedal for a better Buzzards Bay

Oct 2, 2022

Cyclists took to the streets despite wet and windy conditions on Sunday morning, Oct. 2 as the 16th-annual Buzzards Bay Coalition Watershed Ride got underway.

The fundraiser supports the work of the coalition and had raised over $315,000 of the organization’s $425,000 goal at the time of the race.

Though the ride planned to offer 100-mile, 75-mile, and 35-mile route options all ending at Woods Hole, the harsh winds ultimately made the Bourne Bridge impassible to the cyclists and pedestrians.

As a result, event organizers made the decision to cut the ride short, placing the finish line at what would have otherwise been the lunch stop, East Over Farm in Rochester.

The change cut about 35 miles off of the total distance, eliminating the 35-mile route option and leaving the other routes at 65 and 40 miles, respectively.

Despite the abbreviated routes, plenty of riders still made the trek, including some Dartmouth residents who spoke about the annual event before Sunday’s ride.

Leslie Knowles has been participating in the Watershed Ride since it began — a 16-year streak.

She said she loves biking in the Southcoast because the inclines are never too steep and the scenery always keeps her going.

“I’ve been biking around Buzzards Bay for the past 40+ years and am always grateful for the incredible beauty… as well as flat terrain,” she said. “The views of our beautiful bay, the endless wonder of miles of stone walls, and the relative safety of our roads keeps me peddling.”

Knowles said she was dedicating her ride this year to her late friend who first encouraged her to participate in the inaugural event.

“In 2007, my friend Tom Gidwitz challenged me to ride 75 miles around the bay to support the important work of the Coalition and we rode together for many years,” she said. “This year, I join Team ‘Tom Tom Club’ in honor and in memory of my friend and [Buzzards Bay Coalition] leader.”

Another Dartmouth rider, Jean Pitcairn, said the rides always help remind her of the beauty of the area.

“It is really awesome to travel through so many communities and realize how fortunate we are to live in such a beautiful area,” she said. “As the ride takes us by the water, the cranberry bogs, the woods and fields, you realize how lucky we are to have access to so much natural beauty.”

She added that the good cause, and the supportive community around it, help her power through the long ride.

“I ride to help preserve the open spaces, clean water and natural beauty of our amazing communities,” she said. “Also the support of the many volunteers, riders and spectators make me motivated to return for fun and community.”