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A Journey of 2,300 Miles Starts with Cooperation
Candace Karu is the lifestyle commentator and favorite foodie for Cabot Creamery Cooperative. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and at candacekaru.com. She lives and bikes in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
Inspiration is not always easy to come by in today’s busy world, but recently two people have inspired me, and thousands of others, by making the trip of a lifetime – on bicycles.
On July 7, Myron and Cathy Skott of Alpharetta, Georgia finished a journey of 57 days and 2,318 miles riding along the East Coast Greenway. This intrepid couple undertook the trip as part of the 2012 Cabot Community Tour, a trek up the Greenway to celebrate and spotlight community, volunteers and cooperatives.
The Skotts, along with fellow rider Bob Spiegelmen, began their trip on May 12 in Miami, where they set out on their journey carrying a message of gratitude for volunteers in the towns and cities along their northerly route. The Skotts were riding on behalf of the farm family owners of the Cabot Creamery Cooperative, a dairy cooperative founded in Vermont in 1919. They were also spreading the cooperative message as part of the celebration of the International Year of Cooperatives in 2012.
The Skotts are no strangers to distance biking. In 2004, Myron was among the ﬁrst group of riders to bicycle the East Coast Greenway from start to finish. When Cathy retired from teaching in 2008, the couple celebrated with a tour from New Jersey to Florida. Since then, they’ve taken several month-long 1,000+ mile tours across the country, including Bike Ride Across Georgia (BRAG), the Erie Canal in New York state and along the Mississippi River. During the fall of 2010, they biked 1,826 miles from Seattle to San Diego.
Although I kept in touch with Myron and Cathy during the tour via cell phone, email and Twitter, I got to meet them for the first time at the culmination of the Tour in Portland, Maine. The Celebrate Portland Festival was held on July 7, a day designated by the United Nations as the International Day of Cooperatives. Thirty-one co-ops, volunteer and community organizations set up on the grounds of Payson Park for a day of family fun – with live music, hula hooping, face painting, lobster rolls, a bike rodeo and even two baby cows.
A huge crowd gathered and a band played as Myron, Cathy and Bob, along with an escort of more than 60 riders, completed their journey and rode into the park. It was a truly inspiring sight to see these riders complete their incredible journey to the cheers and applause of the crowd.
“We had an amazing time. It was an honor to represent the Cabot farmers and to be a part of the Community Tour,” said Myron. “We’re a little tired but we’d do it all over again if we have the chance!” Cathy agreed and added, “We met so many wonderful people all along the way and we enjoyed riding the East Coast Greenway – it’s truly a great trail and we look forward to seeing more of it as new sections are added every day.”
Whether you bike 2,300 miles or volunteer at your local food co-op, it’s easy to find ways to make your community a better place to live. The Points of Light website is a great place to begin. And if you want to know more about cooperatives check out the National Cooperative Business Association.