MISSOULA, MT (BRAIN)—Adventure Cycling Association, North America's largest cycling membership organization, has announced the winners of its 2011 Bicycle Travel Awards, which include Donn Olson (Dalbo, Minnesota), Kevin Cashman of Apogee Adventures (Brunswick, Maine), Jim Peter and Jim’s Bicycle Shop (Cincinnati, Ohio), and Leslie Wills (Grand Haven, Michigan).
"Our awards are an opportunity to recognize some of the amazing people, organizations, and businesses that make a difference for bicycle touring, and cycling in general," said Amy Corbin, awards committee chair. "These folks do so much to make America a better, friendlier, and more connected country."
The 2011 June Curry Trail Angel Award goes to Donn Olson of Dalbo, Minnesota. By creating the "Bicycle Bunkhouse" on the Northern Tier Bicycle Route, he has given bicycle tourists a warm, comfortable, inviting place to rest on their tour. The Bicycle Bunkhouse has become a highly desirable stop for cyclists on the road. As one nominator shared, for some riders the bunkhouse is "the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow." In addition to all of the amenities that they offer, Donn and his wife, Sherry, are friendly, exuberant hosts who go out of their way to take care of their visitors, even hitching up their trailer to rescue cyclists stranded in a storm. As another nominator said, "Donn Olson is the epitome of a gracious host and has made Dalbo a destination that cyclists can look forward to."
The June Curry Trail Angel Award is named in honor of June Curry, the famous Cookie Lady of Afton, Virginia, who has been assisting cyclists on the TransAmerica Trail since 1976. In this spirit, the Trail Angel award honors a generous individual or group encountered during a bicycle tour that makes the bicycle traveler’s journey easier, or in some cases, even possible, by helping the cyclist through an act of goodwill.
The recipient of the 2011 Pacesetter Award is Kevin Cashman of Apogee Adventures. Founded over a decade ago with the goal of creating engaging and challenging tours for high school aged kids, the company now offers dozens of tours around the world. These trips provide youth with experiences that teach them the importance of hard work, persistence, and dedication, as well as shaping how they see themselves in the world. As one nominator, a former participant and leader, noted, "I was impressed with his emphasis on totally supporting the leaders while, at the same time, encouraging the campers to reach their fullest potential."
By incorporating community service into many of the trips, Apogee Adventures offers a well-rounded experience to a younger demographic, inspiring tomorrow’s bicycle tourists to see their world in a whole new way.
The Pacesetter Award is named in honor of Charlie Pace from Columbus, Ohio, who has devoted over 40 years to creating and supporting bicycle travel opportunities. This award recognizes individuals, groups, businesses, and organizations that have consistently demonstrated extraordinary commitment, dedication, and service to the advancement of Adventure Cycling’s mission of inspiring others to travel by bicycle.
The recipient of the 2011 Sam Braxton Bike Shop Award is Jim Peters and Jim’s Bicycle Shop in Cincinnati, OH. In addition to being on the front lines of all things cycling in their community, Peters and his staff make it a priority to encourage their customers to become bicycle tourists. By providing guidance and training for new touring cyclists, they create a supportive atmosphere for jumping into bike travel. Plus, they maintain a bank of loaner travel cases and go to great lengths to accommodate special logistical requests. One nominator emphasized that the staff at Jim’s Bicycle Shop truly go out of their way "all to help someone have a great touring experience."
The Sam Braxton Bike Shop Award is named in honor of the inaugural winner, the Braxton Bike Shop. In addition to servicing the repair needs of hundreds of long-distance riders, Sam Braxton hand built beautiful custom touring and expedition bikes and wheels designed for the rigors of loaded touring. His wife Shirley offered gracious hospitality that made the shop complete. This award honors bike shops throughout the nation that go out of their way to provide unique services to bicycle travelers. A long-standing commitment to providing touring equipment and gear, skilled mechanics, and great services are hallmarks of the winning bicycle shop.
The 2011 Volunteer of the Year Award goes to Leslie Wills of Grand Haven, Michigan. By volunteering dozens of hours, Leslie made it possible to gain all of the necessary support for the designation of U.S. Bike Route 35 in Michigan. Her countless phone calls, emails, and steadfast attendance at meetings helped to get resolutions of support from 15 local agencies. Adventure Cycling’s Special Projects Director Ginny Sullivan said, "We would not have been able to complete the work in this timeframe without Leslie’s time, energy, and clear devotion to Adventure Cycling and the goals of the U.S. Bicycle Route System project."
The Volunteer of the Year award recognizes individuals who have donated their time, skills, and passion to Adventure Cycling Association and our mission of inspiring people to travel by bicycle for fun, fitness, and self-discovery.