On February 15, twenty seven community-minded individuals completed a Bikeathon to raise much needed funds for the High Banks (Bahama Palm Shores) Fire House. The ride began at the High Banks Fire House at 9 a.m. and riders began arriving at the finish line at Sandy Point just a little over two hours later. Within the next 45 minutes all of the riders had finished.
This was not a race, but purely a friendly ride in support of a very worthy cause.
Twenty one energetic riders completed the full course of 30 miles while six riders chose to ride a 10 mile course. Four children participated. The youngest, Daniel Kelly, 9, and his 10 year old friend, Robert Lightbourne, rode ten miles while 12 year old Jonathan Strachan chose to ride all the way making him the youngest to finish the entire course.
When asked how he felt at the end of the ride he admitted that he had found it to be a long way and was tired. Completing a ride of thirty miles was an especially noteworthy accomplishment for Jonathan who does not even own a bike and had borrowed one for the day.
While the majority of riders were from Bahama Palm Shores, three Marsh Harbour residents joined the ride and also a few from various areas of South Abaco.
The idea of a community bike ride began in 2012 when two friends decide to challenge themselves to a 19 mile bike ride from BPS to Pine Woods Nursery, Marsh Harbour. The following year they decided to raise their challenge to 30 miles from BPS to Sandy Point and were joined by one other lady. In 2014 two more ladies joined the ride and when 2015 came around they had the idea to invite as many as people as possible to join them and make it a fundraising event.
This year was not only the first time the ride had been a fundraiser but also the first time men had joined in the event.
A large crowd of excited friends and well-wishers, including several South Abaco local government representatives, were at the finish line to greet each biker as they came in with cheers, pats on the back, fresh orange slices and a cooling beverage.
Three young children from Sandy Point joined in the fun forming a charming welcoming committee holding up a colourful banner which they had made themselves. Once all the riders had reached the finish line, the bicycles were placed on the trucks of persons who had volunteered to transport them back to the firehouse while the riders and friends went on to Nancy’s Seaside Rrestaurant at Sandy Point to enjoy a very welcome lunch.
The organizers would like to thank their many corporate sponsors and especially Scotiabank which was their main sponsor. Each of the riders had their own sponsor sheets. The organizers were very gratified by the amount of money raised from this event.
The High Banks Volunteer Fire Service, for which the funds were raised, was established in 2008 as a much needed service in the area. June 2014 was a time of very active bushfires in the area of Bahama Palm Shores/Casuarina Point which kept the fire department very busy for two entire weeks. Wear and tear on the 1985 fire truck caused the need for the replacement of four rear tires, a major refurbishment of the 1800 gallon tank and repairs to the hydraulic brake system. A booster reel was also added.
Much of the work was done gratis by the fire crew but repairs still cost $5000 and gas is a costly and ongoing vital commodity.
Their next fundraiser will be an Art and Craft Show to be held at the BPS Firehouse on March 13 from 6pm to 8pm. This promises to be a delightful event as there are many very talented residents in the settlement. This will be the third year that Bahama Palm Shores has put on an Art and Craft show and according to the organizer, this year’s will be even bigger and better with several new additions such as locally decorated, fancy flip flops. They are inviting any other artists and crafters from South Abaco to join them and interested persons may contact the organizer at email@example.com.