Young Rochester cyclist pedals for Buzzards Bay

By Georgia Sparling | Oct 03, 2016
Photo by: Tanner Harding Wendy and Emma Keller prepare for their 35-mile ride with the Buzzards Bay Coalition.

Rochester — Fresh off completing her first 35-mile ride with the Buzzards Bay Coalition, 15-year-old Emma Keeler is already planning to come back next year – with friends.

The Rochester resident and Falmouth Academy sophomore participated in the annual Watershed Ride on Sunday to raise money for the Coalition’s efforts to protect the bay.

“I thought it would be great to raise awareness at my school, then next year more and more people will think, ‘maybe I should do it.’”” said Keeler.

Her parents, Russ and Wendy Keeler, have done the ride for many years, and it inspired their daughter.

“I thought there must be something really nice about it if they kept doing it,” Keeler said.

Over the summer Keeler trained with her parents in the Rochester area as well as on the Falmouth bike path, but she never did the full 35 miles.

Keeler also had to prepare by raising funds for the ride. Every rider must raise $300, which she admitted was a tough part of the preparation.

“My dad’s really up front and blunt about asking people. I don’t like doing that,” Keeler said.

She did get up the gumption to announce her ride during a school assembly and put out a box so the school community could donate to her ride. Her dad also sent out an email asking family, friends and acquaintances to donate to his daughter's first ride.

“The health of this watershed is very important to us,” said Russ Keeler.

Their efforts paid off with Keeler raising $2,004 and coming in sixth place among individual fundraisers.

On Sunday, she finally took to the road for the Watershed Ride with her mom, cousin and uncle, while her dad did the 75-mile route.

Keeler said the ride went quickly, since she had family to chat with along the way.

Now that the ride is over, Keeler is working on her peers at Falmouth Academy to have their own team next fall.

Keeler wasn’t the only top fundraiser from the tri-town. Gary Johnson of Mattapoisett was the ninth highest fundraiser with $1,725 in donations.

Overall, more than 150 cyclists rode in the event, which ended with a party at Wood’s Hole and raised almost $100,000.

Team Girl Power sets out from East Over Farm in Rochester. (Photo by: Tanner Harding)
Emma Keeler wrote the names of her supporters on her helmet. (Photo by: Tanner Harding)
Team Girl Power dressed in tutus and colorful socks. (Photo by: Tanner Harding)
Gary Johnson of Mattapoisett approaches the finish line in Woods Hole, cheered on by fellow Mattapoisett resident Mike Huguenin. (Photo by: Buzzards Bay Coalition)
Cindie Aadland and Jenn Black, both of Rochester, ride past the Mattapoisett River on River Road. (Photo by: Buzzards Bay Coalition)
The Sail Bags team, comprised of tri-town members and Tabor Academy folks, was one of the top fundraising teams. (Photo by: Buzzards Bay Coalition)
Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.