Open roads for the YMCA’s cycling fundraiser

Jun 8, 2019

On June 8, the Dartmouth YMCA got pumped up for its first-ever “Bike for the Y” cycling fundraiser event.

The day started with blazing sunshine and a steady wind as 50 participants took off on three different routes.

They cycled alone or in groups, choosing between an 11-mile, 28-mile, or 40-mile cycle through South Dartmouth and Westport near Horseneck Beach.

As they came biking back in twos and threes to the YMCA on Gulf Road, organizers cheered for them, handing out free energy bars and orange t-shirts.

“I feel amazing,” said Dawn DiMarco after her 28-mile ride. “It was awesome to ride with a bunch of people — I’ve never done group rides before. I’m kind of new to biking. It was so much fun!”

She added that the weather was just right, in spite of the wind. “It wasn’t too hot, it wasn’t too cold. It was perfect.”

It seemed to be a familiar refrain among all those who cycled on the day, as many others spoke to the beautiful weather.

“It was gorgeous. What a perfect day for it,” said member of the volunteer organizing committee Dave Prentiss, who had completed a 40-mile cycle and was handing out T-shirts to those just finishing.

Participants were also able to handle a chain of hills without getting too tired. Prentiss said that there were “just the right amount” of hills.

“He challenged us, but he gave us some incredible views and beautiful roads,” he added, referring to fellow committee member and route designer Ted Shwartz.

“It went really well,” said Dartmouth YMCA executive director Maia Shwartz about the event, noting that it will become an annual fundraiser.

All of the proceeds on the day — around $3,500 according to Shwartz — went towards supporting the Y’s programs, including the Sharing the Harvest community farm and financial aid programs for the summer camp.

The funds were raised through a $50 registration fee for participants as well as contributions by local sponsors.

One of the sponsors, Velofix, also showed up to help participants on the day.

Owner Mike Lee sat in his van — a mobile bike repair shop — in the parking lot chatting to the cyclists. He was offering free bike repair to those who needed it during the event.

In the future, Shwartz said, they hope to include a bike safety workshop for kids with a short, 2-3 mile ride for the younger crowd.

“It speaks to our mission for healthy living, and it’s a good way to get the word out about what the Y does in a healthy way. And a way to potentially raise some money,” Shwartz said.

“It was tough,” said participant Claire Conroy after the 28-mile ride. “It was fun, but it was tough. Quite a headwind — but beautiful views.”

Conroy is from Bridgewater, so she didn’t really know the route — but she and cycling partner Jen Marchetti stopped to take a photo along the way.

“It was gorgeous. We stopped for a picture because it was pretty,” she said. “We don’t know where we were, but it was fun.”

The two also ride the Pan-Mass Challenge together, which is 168 miles over a weekend. “So this shouldn’t have been as hard as it was,” Conroy said with a laugh.

Marchetti added, “It was a lot of fun. And it was beautiful to look at!”

The pair were heading to another charity sports event after the cycle: a wiffle ball tournament. “It’s the theme of the day today,” Marchetti laughed.