Monday, May 7, 2012

Fourth Annual Mayor’s Bike Ride celebrates Bike Month

Wake Fulp, Mayor Bowers, Rob Issem with Bike Month Awards.

There was some trepidation Saturday morning as light rain fell as cyclists began to gather at the Bennington Park parking lot to celebrate Bike Month. The threat of rain did not deter the hardy avid cyclists many of whom brought their children.

Decorated spoke cards were waiting for kid’s bikes – a priority for youngsters dating back decades when wanting a little “varoom” while in motion. Artist Katherine Devine helped decorate helmets and bikes.

Bike Hero Award recipient Rob Issem with wife Lisa

Mayor David Bowers and RIDE Solutions Program Director Jeremy Holmes presented the Bike Hero award plaque to Rob Issem for his personal dedication and passion for cycling.

Issem is a racer for East Coaster Bicycles and a competitive mountain biker. He is also a cyclo-cross competitor – a form of racing that requires endurance and sharp bike-handling skills while maneuvering steep hills and obstacles. He started STARBOMB that takes place on or close to a full moon. They start at the top of Mill Mountain and race down on children’s bikes while usually in costume.

“He is really and advocate and activist and is always trying to get more bike racks at establishments and make people aware of the cycling community,” said his wife Lisa. Issem just started Bike Sherpas Touring Co. It offers backcountry mountain bike guided tours of regional trail systems and road cycling tours.

Wake Fulp was the recipient of the Extraordinary Bicycle Professional Award. This award is given to an employee in the public or private sector who has shown leadership by encouraging the use of bicycling as a transportation alternative.

Katherine Devine decorates Rob Issem's bike.

Fulp is a sales manager for East Coasters Bicycles has been a cyclist all his life and in the bicycle industry for 12 years as a professional he said. In addition he instigated the Junior Cycling program – a junior bike and race team. “We conduct weekly rides … any kids are welcome to come especially to the mountain bike based team,” he said. They meet at Carvins Cove and Mill Mountain.

Fulp’s main role at East Coasters is to fit bikes to riders. “I help adjust people to their bicycles or the bicycles to them.” The goal is to make the bike comfortable for the cyclist by determining how they will use it – from touring, commuting to racing or mountain biking. “All those people have different fit needs.” He even takes past injuries into consideration.

Bowers recognized Dr. Stuart Tousman with the Virginia Asthma Coalition. It is also Asthma Awareness Month. As an asthmatic and biker himself he “encourages people to exercise.” Dr. Tousman advocated for making Asthma Month a part of Bike Month.

Last month The League of American Bicyclists  designated Roanoke as a bicycle friendly community at the bronze level said Bowers.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Local Events

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