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Bike Around the Bay raises environmental awareness
More than 750 riders, ranging in age from nine to 85, pedaled around Galveston Bay October 12 and 13 during the sixth annual Bike Around the Bay, raising more than $310,000 for the Galveston Bay Foundation.
For the third year in a row, Shell was the title sponsor of the two-day cycling event. “This ride supports our efforts to preserve wetlands, protect natural habitat and enhance the water quality of the bay,” says Bob Stokes, Galveston Bay Foundation president. “We give riders a front-row seat to the bay during this ride and it helps in our education work and advocacy.”
For the first time in the event’s history, cyclists made a complete 180-mile loop around Galveston Bay, starting and ending in Mont Belvieu. Some of the most popular aspects of the ride included biking stretches along Bolivar Peninsula, crossing to Galveston on the ferry, riding down the seawall in Galveston and down Skyline drive atop the levee in Texas City, and crossing the Fred Hartman Bridge.
The view from the ride, which travels along the shoreline, is a key attraction for many riders. “There’s really no way you would really experience what Galveston Bay has to offer unless you’re on a bicycle,” says Senator Rodney Ellis, one of this year’s riders. “You get to see a lot of things that you really wouldn’t pay attention to if you’re in a car. It’s a real chance to get up close and personal with the bay.”
Ellis also credits Shell for its involvement with the ride. “You don’t realize what an important role energy companies, like Shell, play in protecting this bay. I appreciate Shell for doing it and hope they will continue to do so for many years to come.”
The two-day event provided many opportunities for volunteer involvement and volunteers in Shell’s trademark yellow and red shirts were out in force.
- More than 100 Shell and Motiva volunteers were on hand for the start and finish. They also staffed rest stops along the route and provided food and support at the first night’s stop at Moody Gardens in Galveston. They were assisted by about 30 ROTC students from Deer Park ISD, who turned out early Saturday morning to help unload more than 1,000 overnight bags, hang signage and flags and cheer riders as they crossed the finish line at Moody Gardens on the first day of the ride.
- Motorcycle riders from the Deer Park Shell on Wheels Motorcycle Group provided support on Sunday, helping with logistics, setting up the finish line and cheering in riders. “It was an opportunity to ride together to benefit our community and help as riders came across the finish line,” says Mark Byrd, Deer Park site general manager. “It was exciting to see the riders complete their journey around the bay, and even more exciting to see the large number of riders wearing the Shell Pecten on their jerseys.”
The scenery and excitement generated by the event is sure to convince others to take part in the bike ride next year. Says Shell on Wheels motorcyclist Chad Slater, “Seeing the first bike rider approaching the finish line was an emotional moment for me. It told a story of valor, goal setting and triumph despite how big the challenge is.
"The men and women who pedaled their way across the finish line are truly heroes,” he adds. "It was also gratifying to volunteer side by side with Mark Byrd who leads by example and has a genuine care for the community. I am already looking forward to serving the needs of this event next year and possibly riding…that’s pedaling, not throttling!”