by Carla Martin
Last summer, Bike Florida offered us the opportunity to make $2100 to put to good use on the trail or towards the trail extension by offering us the opportunity to work some of the rest stops for their recent week-long “Surf and Turf” event April 9-15th here in the Sarasota Area. The plan was for cyclists to start in Arcadia, ride to Sarasota, south to Venice, then Englewood, finally returning to Arcadia.
Being optimistic, we chose to do 7 rest stops in 2 days. Tuesday, April 12: Siesta Key Beach, Jungle Gardens, and Ken Thompson Park. On Wednesday, April 13: Blackburn Point Park, Venice Trail Depot, Maxine Barrett Park and Manasota Beach.
After only one email from Rita Miotti, Volunteer Coordinator, our wonderful volunteers answered our call and readily volunteered to work these positions. There was not a single no show for the event!
We started early in those mornings, lugging water and food, then had fun making PB&J sandwiches, cutting fruit and caring for enthusiastic cyclists until early afternoon. Then packed it all up before heading home. Rita reported that she received so many compliments on how helpful and friendly the volunteers were and the rest stop experience in general.
Tuesday evening, Max Corley presented our Power Point Talk about The Legacy Trail to an audience of about 100 riders in Robarts Arena. We also had an opportunity to have an info table during this event. Another one was held at the Venice Depot next morning after riders had the opportunity to experience riding The Trail first hand.
Along with having fun working together and chatting with cyclists, Bike Florida’s event provided our organization with a $2,100 donation as well as numerous new memberships and revenues from the sale of FLT logo items. We collected 276 new petition signatures, almost all from out of town. In addition, our involvement created incredible new excitement about The Legacy Trail!
Many Thanks again to Rita Miotti and our Wonderful Volunteers!