Oct. 1 local bike ride to benefit environmental group

Published 9:49 am Friday, September 16, 2016

Even without coal mining in their back yards, North Carolina residents and some of the state’s waterways pay a heavy price for our use of coal. Mountaintop removal coal mining and other surface mining for coal, produces air and water pollution, strips valuable forests, and buries headwater streams.

 Some 20,000 Americans die prematurely each year, from residing too close to coal-burning power plants. Others drink water contaminated by coal ash (coal combustion waste), which contains toxic heavy metals and radioactive material.

Bicycling enthusiasts are invited to an October 1 ride to benefit Citizens Coal Council, a group that helps protect the health of people in communities affected by the cycle of coal.

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 The ride, headquartered at Harmon Field (off Harmon Field Road, between U.S. Highway 176 and Route 108, Tryon) features up to five round trips from that site, west on U.S. Highway 176, to Ozone drive, Saluda. Each round trip is approximately 13 miles, with some 1,000 feet of elevation gain in the last four miles to Saluda. The ride is free to all participants, but donations to CCC are encouraged.

 Clip in is at 8 a.m. (rain date is Sunday, Oct. 2, also at 8 a.m.). Riders are asked to arrive around 7:30, to make sure their equipment is operating properly, and to sign waiver forms to protect the Town of Tryon, Citizens Coal Council, and the ride organizer (Mark Schmerling).

Riders may donate a flat amount, or be sponsored for a certain donation per round trip. Non-riders may also donate to Citizens Coal Council, and are encouraged to attend. Tax-deductible donations, made out to Citizens Coal Council, may be brought to the ride, or mailed to Citizens Coal Council, 125 West Pike Street, Suite 2, Canonsburg, PA 15317 (724-338-4629).

The ride’s staging area will be along the through driveway between the tennis courts and Tryon Arts and Crafts. Water, endurance snacks and supplements will be available at no charge. CCC handouts will be available. CCC advocates for strong enforcement of laws to protect streams and people.

– article submitted by Mark Schmerling