Mount Airy New Year's Day bike ride gets biggest turnout yet amid warm weather, no rain

While some were recuperating after New Year’s Eve festivities, a group of almost 200 participated in Mount Airy Bicycle’s 27th annual “I’ve Ridden Every Day This Year” bike ride on Jan. 1, 2019.

With mileage routes for all experience levels — from 6 to 42 miles — cyclists from Baltimore, Carroll and Howard counties, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania gathered in the afternoon amid mid-50-degree weather.


“I think it’s the unprecedented weather,” Mount Airy Bicycle owner Larry Black said. “People were sure it was going to rain, it’s been the wettest Maryland weather in history, but they were happy it didn’t.”

He also said social media makes it easier to get the word out, as for some it was their first ride.


Kathryn Moran, 53, of Clarksville, was bundled and geared up waiting for her first “I’ve Ridden Every Day This Year” ride.

The new year was greeted Tuesday morning with mild temperatures throughout the Baltimore region — 59 degrees was recorded at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport at 8 a.m., and highs for the day were expected to reach 61 degrees.

She’s been riding on and off for a long time, she said, but now that her daughter is in college she is ready to ramp up her cycling to ride with her son.

“I want to start again,” Moran said. “My son’s a bike racer and this ride is a good way, for whatever pace you’re at.

“And you can say you’ve ridden every day of the year,” she said.


Another first-timer, Ellicott City resident Chris Hurst, said the weather is what brought him out.

“This is the first time I’ve been out [for this ride],” said Hurst, 68. “Today’s unseasonably warm, albeit windy. January in the 50s is uncommon.”

Even though he’s never participated in the New Year’s Day event, he said he has been riding often since purchasing his bike at Mount Airy Bicycle 18 years ago.

Others have been participating in the ride for years.

Team New Forest, comprised of British cyclists and a mostly British crew, reached Mount Airy on Friday, June 22, after enduring more than 3,000 miles of America's toughest terrain during extreme-endurance cycling event Race Across America.

Preparing for his 10th year, Baltimore City resident Bob Gomon, 67, said he found the Mount Airy tradition through a fellow bicycle commuter.

“I commute to work in Baltimore, at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center,” he said.

Although he’s only been riding with Black and Mount Airy Bicycle for 10 years, he said, he’s been riding a 10-speed bike with toe clips since 1963.

“I got it when I was 12,” Gomon said. “That’s the first bike I ever bought for myself.”

There was also a group representing Bike MS — a fundraising cycling series benefiting those living with multiple sclerosis — hoping to spread word about their Chesapeake Challenge this summer.

“Larry does Bike MS, all the supporting gear, promoting the Bike MS challenge,” said Mike Tomlin, 41. “It’s for all skill levels, and I’m one of the small fraction of participants with MS.”

Garrett Eckard, of Westminster, had always wanted a bicycle, but at 15-years-old, it just hadn’t worked out for him. Born with spinal bifida, a condition where the spinal cord doesn’t form correctly, he’s unable to pedal a bicycle with his legs and must use a wheelchair.

The Frederick resident, who was diagnosed with MS in 2007, said he started cycling in 2009.

“It’s really good to help the patients get out, get active,” Tomlin said. “I want to say it saved my life.

“When I ride, I feel better,” he said. “I have a speech impediment, but when I exercise I feel clearer.”

And that’s what Black said he was hoping to share on New Year’s Day — the good feeling cycling produces.

“It’s a great way, because it’s a new start,” he said after completing his 12-mile ride. “It’s a great way to ride off whatever you did last night, or this morning.

“You’re never the oldest, never the most out of shape, and there’s always someone who has a bike that’s not as good as yours,” Black said.

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