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Tour members, Boy Scouts and Fredericksburg Cyclists Club members took part in the ride along Lee Drive.
The Cabot Creamery Cooperative's 2,300-mile bike tour includes stops and free events in Fredericksburg and other communities.
BY SCOTT SHENK
Myron Skott had been feeling the itch to repeat
When he found out he could do it as part of Cabot Creamery Cooperative's community tour, the Georgia man figured it was time for a second trip--2,300 miles up the East Coast from Florida to Maine.
"Cabot is a good bunch of folks," Skott said of the farmer-owned Vermont business that is sponsoring the tour, which includes the bike ride and free events in mostly small communities like Fredericksburg.
"They're a community-oriented company," he said, adding that cooperatives and volunteerism are important to him and his wife, Cathy, who is taking the tour alongside him.
Fredericksburg was one of eight stops during the bike tour. The free segment was held at Old Mill Park Saturday and included numerous events, live music and booths manned by Cabot employees as well as local groups such as the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, historical societies, artists and several nonprofits.
"The idea was to really celebrate communities," said Cabot's Diana Meehan at Old Mill Park on the hot Saturday afternoon.
She noted that 2012 is the year of the cooperative and explained that Cabot's events are geared to promote cooperatives, communities and volunteerism.
Saturday was a "day off" of the bike tour for the 63-year-old Skott, his wife and their friend Basil Campbell, who is along for part of the tour. So far they have logged 1,314 miles on the Greenway.
But they still had to take a short ride from the Town Place Suites in Spotsylvania to Old Mill Park.
They were joined by several area Boy Scouts and members of the Fredericksburg Cyclists Club.
At about 10:30 a.m., Myron Skott hopped onto his low-riding recumbent bicycle and led the group out of the hotel parking lot.
En route to Old Mill Park, the cyclists rode along Lee Drive through the Fredericksburg battlefield, the subject of a recent uproar after the National Park Service covered the smooth pavement with gravel.
The gravel was an attempt to slow drivers in cars, but local bicyclists claimed that it was unsafe.
The park service has since swept away much of the loose gravel, so the trip wasn't too bad, the riders said.
Skott rode along Lee Drive during his 2004 trip. He said it was a pretty bumpy ride back then.
On Saturday, he said the road wasn't so bad.
"If it had not been brushed, it would have been a major problem," he said after arriving at Old Mill Park. "That kind of gravel is a hazard to cyclists anywhere."
Beth Gentry, a Fredericksburg Cyclists Club member who rode with the group Saturday, said Lee Drive "is much better" than it was.
The biggest issue, she said, was that the park service didn't involve local cyclists in their plans.
"I hope it was a learning experience," she said.
Either way, it turned out OK, she said, noting that since the gravel fracas the club has gotten more than two-dozen new members.
As for the Skotts, they hit the road again today and plan to wrap up the ride in Portland, Maine, on July 7, which is the International Day of the Cooperative.
Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436
The Greenway is a 3,000-mile trail system from the Maine-Canada border to Key West.
The East Coast Greenway Alliance was formed in 1991. To date, about 25 percent of the trail has been completed.
Riders who travel the Greenway take a combination of the trail and mostly secondary roads.
According to the alliance website, when the "traffic free" pathway is completed it will link major cities along the East Coast, "incorporating waterfront esplanades, park paths, abandoned railroad corridors, canal towpaths and pathways along highway corridors."