Bicyclists to go the distance for kids

August 21, 1994|By Shirley Leung | Shirley Leung,Sun Staff Writer

Chris Kelly has never bicycled long distances, but tomorrow he will ride 100 miles across eight mountains in Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties. By Thursday, he will be in St. Michaels after riding 400 miles across the state.

"Everyone's doing it for the kids," said the 25-year-old Bel Air man, one of eight riders who volunteered for the trip to raise money for the Maryland Association of Resources for Families and Youth (MARFY).

"I'm more nervous than anything else," Mr. Kelly said. "I think my body can do it. It's just coming over the mind part."

The second annual tour, which is called The 5 for KIDS project because it lasts five days and has five stops, officially begins today with a reception in Garrett County. The cyclists will ride from Salem in Garrett County to SanMar in Washington County tomorrow; to Baltimore City Hall for another reception Tuesday; to the State House in Annapolis on Wednesday; and to St. Michaels on Thursday.

Along the way, the cyclists will stay overnight at group homes and one hotel.

The bike ride, one of many MARFY fund-raisers, brought in about $25,000 with five riders last year. This year, the organization hopes to raise $40,000 -- and more public awareness.

"We want to let people know there are people working for solutions to problems," said Wallace E. Brengle Jr., president of MARFY, which has 61 affiliate agencies.

The cyclists, who come from MARFY, have a broad range of bicycling experience and are soliciting donors for their grueling trek. The money they collect will be distributed among the agencies.

Mr. Kelly, a social worker at the Family-centered Association for Counseling, Educational and Therapeutic Services (FACETS) in Fallston, has collected more than $1,000 in pledges through the organization. FACETS officials hope eventually to get $3,000 in donations from Mr. Kelly's effort.

Mr. Brengle, who also is FACETS' executive director, said the local program costs $2 million to operate, with financial support largely from state social agencies and the United Way.

In addition to the group home, built in 1978, FACETS provides foster care, outpatient mental health and in-home services for families and children in northeastern Maryland.

Mr. Kelly has been in training since March, riding 20 to 30 miles three times a week. He rides Route 22 to Aberdeen, Route 23 to Jarrettsville and Route 24 through Rocks State Park. He rides from his Bel Air home to work some days, and on weekends he tries to ride up to 60 miles.

Though he is not a veteran cyclist, Mr. Kelly has long been an athlete. He wrestled as an undergraduate at Loyola College and is an aerobics instructor at the Quest Fitness Center in Abingdon's Constant Friendship Shopping Center. He also has participated in two biathlons.

Before training for the tour, Mr. Kelly didn't have a sport bike; he rode in the biathlons on borrowed ones. But he spent about $500 on a new racing bike and equipment for the event.

"We're all supposed to say our prayers for sunny days and a light wind," Mr. Kelly said of his pending trip. "The first and second days are going to be the kickers."

Donations can be sent to MARFY, P.O. Box 220, Arnold, Md. 21012 or for information, call (410) 974-4901. Donations can be earmarked for FACETS Inc.

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