By Sydney L. Murray
July 1, 2014
PREBLE COUNTY — For the 11th year, the Friends of Preble County 4-H organized a county-wide bike ride on Saturday, June 28, to raise money for their organization.
Curt Caplinger, president of Friends of 4-H, said many of the more than 100 bikers who turned out for this year’s Buckeye Bridge Ride were from the local area, but some came from as far away as West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Caplinger said the ride always takes place on the fourth Saturday in June, and is used as a fundraiser to helps the Friends of 4-H in their mission of 4-H youth education.
“We’re trying to help support the county’s tourism efforts and promote our covered bridges,” Caplinger said.
The ride consisted of four routes: 18 miles, 49 miles, 62 miles and 89 miles. Those participating in the 89-mile route also had the option to ride through the Hueston Woods State Park loop to make the route an even 100 miles.
Friends of 4-H began several years ago when Preble County was threatened with losing their 4-H extension office due to funding cuts. There are about 900 active members in Preble County 4-H.
“We just feel like it’s such a worthwhile program in terms of youth development and leadership,” Caplinger said.
Caplinger said both he and his wife participated in 4-H in Preble County when they were growing up.
Friends of 4-H historian Harold Niehaus said part of the 4-H mission is to stay healthy, and said this bike ride aids in that endeavor.
The race began and ended at the Preble County Fairgrounds. Caplinger said the race is a pleasure ride and not a competition, with bikers ranging from families with children to pretty serious riders. After the ride was over, the riders could return to the fairgrounds for lunch.
The ride began at 6 a.m. and had rest stops along the way.
Linda Tolly, who was participating in the 49-mile ride, was resting at one of the stops with her daughter, son-in-law and a friend.
Tolly has been biking for 40 years and said she would pull her daughter in a buggy when she was younger. This was her first ride with her daughter. They began the ride at 8 a.m.
Tolly raised her children in Preble County and said the ride through the county was beautiful.
“Preble County is the best place in the world to bicycle,” Tolly said. “This is a perfect day to bicycle.”