Missoula, MT – Adventure Cycling Association has announced the winners of its 2013 Bicycle Travel Awards. “This was an inspiring year for our awards program, we received 66 outstanding nominations,” said Alison Riley, awards committee chair. “We couldn’t be more excited to present this year’s winners.”
The 2013 June Curry Trail Angel Award went to Meagan and Clark Baldwin and Carmina and Rodney Suter of Newton, Kansas. When a bad fall left Denise Blanchard and her husband stranded at the hospital in Wichita, Kansas, separated from their bicycles and gear, the Baldwins, who had hosted the Blanchards the previous night, picked them up at the hospital, found their bicycles and gear, and arranged for them to stay with the Suter family for two weeks while Denise recovered from her injuries. Denise Blanchard explained, “The Baldwins and the Suters opened their homes to us during my recovery. We will be forever grateful for their generosity and kindness. After the accident, we thought that our tour was over, but the fact that they did all they could to encourage and help us gave us confidence to continue the tour. Rodney Suter even gave us a lift to St. Louis, Missouri, after two weeks, so we could catch up on our schedule. I was able to get back on the bike and we continued our tour! These people are the kinds of trail angels that make a real difference for cyclists like us.”
The recipient of the 2013 Pacesetter Bicycle Travel Award was Chris Kegel of Hales Corners, Wisconsin. Chris has been a leader in bicycle advocacy over the course of the last 40 years. This year he organized a cross-country bike ride to celebrate his 60th birthday leading 12 riders, all over age 60, from Astoria, Oregon, to Portland, Maine, in 60 days. By supporting local cycling clubs and teams, offering event sponsorship and ride support, and serving on the boards of multiple cycling advocacy groups, Chris Kegel and his bike shop, Wheel & Sprocket, have created a bigger awareness of what is possible, accessible, and enjoyable by bike, and have done an amazing amount of work to advance cycling in the state of Wisconsin and nationwide. “Chris partners with Wisconsin Bike Federation, sponsoring many events and meeting with local, state, and national legislators to discuss the future of biking and how national and state funds should be allocated for biking,” said his nominator. “Chris has been instrumental in opening the once-closed John Muir Trail system in Southern Kettle Moraine State Forest for mountain bikers, and he has helped develop the Oak Leaf Trail system, one of the nation’s finest urban trail systems, for cyclists. By choosing to be involved with the future of biking for all, Chris Kegel has set a pace that will be used as a standard for bike advocates for generations to come.”
The recipient of the 2013 Braxton Bicycle Shop Award was Lizardhead Cyclery of Dolores, Colorado, for the incredible care and attention with which they serve their customers. Located on the Adventure Cycling Western Express Bicycle Route and Great Parks South Bicycle Route, Nicholas Jones’ shop, opened in 2012, is stocked with new and used parts and offers tremendous technical knowledge. Jones welcomes any and all touring cyclists, giving their repairs priority, spending all the time needed to fix up their bikes properly, and guaranteeing his work by promising to provide roadside service to cyclists, or pick up any stranded cyclists, between Dolores and the next town with a bike shop. Jones dispenses fine advice with regard to saddle sores, brakes, and bikes. “Nicholas took my bike and immediately got to work, first repairing my spoke, then diagnosing a bent axle and a broken brake caliper,” said Lizardhead Cyclery’s nominator. “He spent two hours working on my bike, dispensing free advice all along the way. He then charged me just $25, and immediately went to work helping two other cross-country touring cyclists.”
The 2013 Volunteer of the Year Award went to Bruce Porter of Austin, Texas. Porter’s work on the 2008 re-route of Adventure Cycling’s Southern Tier Bicycle Route made for a safer route between Austin and Bastrop. In 2012, Bruce contacted Adventure Cycling about another proposed Southern Tier re-route, offering a new route from Kerrville to Bastrop that takes cyclists through Austin. Porter provided all the information needed for making changes to the route. “Thanks to Bruce Porter’s help and initiative, the Southern Tier Section 4 map will soon have new routing between Kerrville and Bastrop, a 160-mile stretch,” said Routes and Mapping Director Carla Majernik. “The route will no longer go around Austin, with an alternate into the city, instead it will follow a bike path through the city. This new route will be safer and more pleasant for all concerned. It’s been a pleasure to work with Bruce. He’s been very responsive and thorough in his research.”
The Adventure Cycling Awards program began in 2003 as a way to recognize organizations and individuals who are doing extraordinary things in the name of bicycle travel. We are always on the lookout for bicycle-travel heroes. If you would like to know more about past winners and how to nominate someone, visit www.adventurecycling.org/awards.
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