500 cyclists take to the greenway

Into the Brandywine Valley rode the 500. More than 500 bicyclists took advantage of a warm and sunny autumn morning to Bike the Brandywine courtesy of the Brandywine Conservancy.

It was the fourth annual Bike the Brandywine event, designed to raise awareness for the conservancy’s clean water programs and to fund specific projects. Conservancy Executive Director Ellen Ferretti said last year’s event raised money for a rain garden but no decision has yet been made for a project this year.

Stretching out after the ride.

Four routes took riders through areas of the conservancy’s Brandywine Creek Greenway. The length of the routes varied from 25 miles to 80 miles. One of the routes, called the Metric Century, was a 100-kilometer, or 62- mile, course that filled the gap between the 50- and 80-mile courses. The 80-mile course took riders up to Honey Brook and back.

All rides began and ended at the Chadds Ford Historical Society property on Creek Road. Some of the cyclists started out as early as 6 a.m. but everyone was back by noon, with most returning about 11 a.m..

This was the first year for Denette Kellogg, of Pottstown, taking part in Bike the Brandywine.

“This is really nice,” she said. “It’s a beautiful venue. Some of the roads are tough but [motorists] were respectful.”

Faye Morin and Patty Carney take a happy break after riding the 25-mile course.

For Faye Morin of Birmingham, it was her second time taking part. “I love, love, love it. I love it because it’s for a good cause. There’s too much building going on. We have to preserve open space for our children.,” she said.

Patty Carney, Morin’s friend who just moved out of Birmingham, said “How can you not appreciate the beauty of doing this ride? If you can’t enjoy life doing this ride, you can’t enjoy life.”

For Conal Mulreany, of Havertown, the 25-mile run was just right. “I loved it. The course was awesome with just enough hills to keep it interesting.”

Waiting for the cyclists after their ride were lunch, courtesy of the Brandywine River Museum cafeteria, and a chance to stretch out and work out some kinks that might have built up during the ride courtesy of Anchor Life and Fitness.

Also new this year was a used-bike drop off for the Unionville Community Bike Drive, run through the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District. Stuart Lindsay, a volunteer for the bike drive, said that organization repairs, cleans and refurbishes the bikes which are then given away to families in need during the holidays through Toys for Tots at the Kennett Food Cupboard. The drive was able to give away 140 bikes last year.

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About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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