Bike enthusiasts from all over Maryland converged on Leonardtown Sunday for the start of this year's Cycle Across Maryland tour.
The tour, nicknamed Shore to Shore '94, covers 330 miles and visits seven towns. Riders will stream through Leonardtown, Largo, Millersville, Centreville, Salisbury, Crisfield and Berlin.
Included in this sea of wheels and legs is Eldersburg resident Larry Martin. This is Mr. Martin's second year participating in a tour; he biked from Cambridge to Towson last summer.
Mr. Martin and his group of six co-workers have spent many months preparing themselves for the week-long event. In addition to other treks, the friends have ridden the famous C & O Canal trail from Cumberland to Harper's Ferry.
Cycling 15 to 67 miles a day throughout Carroll County is a habit for him, says Mr. Martin, who took up cycling as exercise after he quit smoking.
Shore to Shore '94 includes about 1,800 riders of all ages. The cyclists ride an average of 55 to 60 miles per day, with Thursday known as 100-mile day. On that day, riders will have the option of biking either 70 miles or pushing themselves for the 100-mile challenge.
Mr. Martin and his friends say they are ready.
As the riders travel from town to town, they are supported by a caravan of trucks hauling their tents, clothing and other necessary supplies. Separate vehicles known as the Trek Wrench Force carry bicycle tools and spare parts in the event of breakdowns along the way.
Each town on the tour route has designated host sites, most often a school or college campus. Dinner, the opportunity for a good night's rest and breakfast the next day are provided for the riders at each site.
Each host site also does its best to make the evening rest enjoyable for the cyclists. Most provide some type of entertainment, music or meals. Last year, riders celebrated Christmas in July, held talent contests and attended a beach party.
Other tour events are the best decorated helmet contest and the teen challenge.
Troubled teens are sponsored by individuals or businesses and are challenged to spend the week riding the entire tour. When they complete the ride, they are given bikes and gear for their efforts.
Tomorrow brings the exciting Chesapeake Bay Bridge crossing. Look closely as the riders zoom past. You may catch a glimpse of Vice President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper. They are expected to join the bridge crossing.
While most of us think of summer as a time to kick back and relax, some local music students are hard at work.
The 18 instrumental music students have spent the past week and the beginning of this week attending a summer band camp at Liberty High School.
The camp is sponsored by the Freedom Area Recreation Council and is directed by David Smith.
Mr. Smith teaches instrumental music at Mayfield Woods Middle School in Howard County. He spends his summers giving private music lessons and conducting this growing band camp.
Students entering the fifth through 12th grades are eligible to participate. This is the camp's second year, and Mr. Smith said he is pleased with the modest increase in students.
Besides improving their musical abilities, campers can meet others who share their musical interests.
According to Mr. Smith, the camp is not all work. The kids have a break in the middle of the three-hour session to play a game of softball or kickball and to socialize.
The students will end their camp experience with a concert at Piney Run Park tomorrow, beginning at 7:15 p.m.
The concert is free to the public.
Baltimore Oriole fans are invited to the grand opening of Play 'N Around in Eldersburg on Saturday. Mike Devereaux, the Orioles' center fielder, will be on hand from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. to sign autographs for those with a paid admission.
The Oriole Bird mascot is expected to make an afternoon appearance.
Play 'N Around is in the Freedom Village Shopping Center on Liberty Road in Eldersburg.