Great Barrington Gears Up For Another Berkshire BikeNFly
By Lisa Green
From just about any vantage point, Berkshires views are pretty gorgeous. On Saturday, Aug. 19, the Berkshire BikeNFly presents an opportunity to marvel at the mountains, forests, farmland and rivers from two perspectives: via bicycle or from the air, aloft in a plane, helicopter or hot air balloon.
What began as a fly-in at the Great Barrington airport to raise funds for the Great Barrington Rotary Club has grown to involve a day of bicycle riding, and a celebration of aviation and community spirit. This year’s event will begin with a ride of your choice — 20, 35 or 52 miles — that pedals off at 9 a.m., beginning and ending at the airport. The preregistration fee (by Aug. 18) is $40 and the first 100 riders to register receive a BikeNFly t-shirt.
It’s a popular ride; the bike event has grown each year says John Benedict, a co-chair (along with Richard Stanley and Mark DeCelle) of the 6th annual Great Barrington, Mass. event that’s become a destination for cyclists and those passionate about planes. The first year, about 80 cyclists showed up, and last year there were nearly 200. It draws people from all over and, with three different routes, Benedict insists anybody can do it (although, this being the Berkshires, you can’t get away from hills). Each course is well marked and color coded. The Boy Scouts are tasked with giving out food and water.
As riders make their way back, the airport comes to life with plane, helicopter and hot air balloon (tethered) rides, paragliding and remote-controlled plane demonstrations, plenty of food and craft vendors, and live music performances. Jeff Lenosky, a mountain biker known as the “Trail Boss” who holds the world record for bunny hopping (the cycling skill, not the dance) will perform two shows in which he exhibits his prowess.
Proceeds from the BikeNFly benefit a wide range of worthy Rotary charities, including elderly services, the Railroad Street Youth Project, the International Youth Exchange and scholarships.
And although it’s a local event on behalf of a local organization, about half of the participants, bicyclists and pilots alike, come from outside Berkshire County.
“We have one person who flies in with a fold-up bicycle in his plane,” says Benedict. “He’s a true bike-and-fly guy.”
Saturday, Aug. 19, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Great Barrington Airport, 71 Egremont Plain Rd., Great Barrington, MA
Ride begins at 9 a.m. Pre-register online.
Registration fee is $40 in advance; $50 day of event.