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AU Habit chapter co-sponsors annual Century Bicycle Tour Saturday, Oct. 2
9/17/10

The Alfred University chapter of Habitat for Humanity and Genesee Valley Habitat for Humanity are co-sponsoring the annual Alfred Century Bicycle Tour at 8 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 2 beginning at the Almond Municipal Building, 1 Marvin Lane (just off Main Street, Route 21), Almond.

This 100-mile, round-trip ride is run on lightly traveled, predominately flat paved roads. All proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity.

A registration form is available online at: http://www.bicycleman.com.... Registration is also available the day of the event beginning at 7 a.m. Cost is $20. Forms are also available at local bicycle shops or you may send check or money order for $20 payable to “AU Habitat for Humanity” together with name, address, and phone number to: Alfred Century Bicycle Tour, c/o AU Habitat for Humanity, 2219 PCC, Alfred, NY 14802. For further information or for registration forms, e-mail: snyderd@alfred.edu or call 607.871.2823.

The first Alfred Century Ride was run in 1895 when a group of bicycling enthusiasts decided to take the relatively flat trip to Olean and back. About 50 cyclists rode the same course in 1995, reviving the century tour on its 100th anniversary.

This year’s trip will be the 16th modern ride. The tour is thought to be the longest-running century ride on a century-old course and is one of the longest running century rides to have had recumbents (that places the rider in a laid-back reclining position) entered each year since 1995.

The ride will start from the Almond Municipal Building and runs through Scio, Friendship, and Cuba to Olean and back. The course will be marked at various locations for 25-mile, 50-mile and 100K (62-mile) rides for those who don’t want to pedal the full 100 miles. Food and drinks are available every 10 to 15 miles along the way from convenience stores and grocery stores.

Participants will wind through hillsides naturally adorned with colorful fall foliage, and rolling farmlands along tranquil streams on a course that in 1895 was described as “all in all, a first class run.”

When 10 Alfred Cycling Club “wheelmen” completed a century (100 miles) bicycle ride one Sunday in September 1895 little did they know they were setting a precedent for cyclists a century later. In 1895, before the automobile had woven its way into the America’s cultural fabric, bicycling was the rage — a popular sport, both with men and women.

The modern century bicycle ride got its start when Don “Bart” Bartalo, century re-enactment originator and co-organizer, was researching a history project on growing up in the Alfred area in 1895. He came across an 1895 Alfred Sun article that reported a “very successful” century ride held by the Alfred Cycling Club on Sunday, Sept. 22, 1895.

Bartalo came up with the idea of an historical re-enactment. He contacted Peter Stull, owner of The Bicycle Man, Alfred Station; Peter contacted David Snyder, editor of the Alfred Sun; and the rest is history.

Organizers said the purpose of the Alfred Century Bicycle Tour is to generate interest in the history of Alfred and Allegany County, to promote healthy recreation, and to raise funds for Habitat for Humanity.