* * * I have permission from the "Belleville Times" newspaper to copy word for word on my web page. The article you are about to read is from June 24, 1999 by Richard Dickon the editor. It is on page 16. The article has been modified a bit.
Dowd leads Belleville Trio
'Coast the Coast' to fight MS
* For many of us, the start of summer means relaxing weekend at the beach, with sand between our toes, a cold drink in our hand and our favorite tunes on the radio.
* For Belleville's "Big Mike" Dowd and his "Belleville Bunch," however, the end of May brings another fundraising adventure, replete with miles of peddling through heat and rainstorms.
* On May 22nd and 23rd, "Big Mike" rode once again in the MS-50/170 Bike Tour with four of his friends. For uninitiated, "Big Mike" is a 29-year-old cyclist who has lived but two years in the township. He has dedicated many long weekends in the last several years to raising money to fight the devasting effects of multiple sclerosis.
* This latest run was to team Mike with three Belleville officers, along with his best friend, Lorenzo, for the eigth annual "Coast the Coast" Bike Tour, which benefits the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, including its Mid-Jersey Chapter. Unfortunately, circumstances left the "Belleville Bunch" as a bunch of two, without the three officers.
* Close to 1,500 cyclist, up from 800 riders a year ago, and more than 300 volunteers took the roads in the event.
* Mike and his friend, Lorenzo did the two day, 170-mile course, which goes from Sandy Hook on the first day and ends up at the U.S. Coast Guard Station in Cape May on day two.
* Having raised $1,647 in May 1997 and $2,092.00 more in May 1998, he has set $2,000 as his 1999 goal. Unoffically, he has raised $1,803.00.
* Never wanted to give up on raising funds untill the last minute, Mike earned a "Coast the Coast" blue windbreaker for bringing in more than $300.00 on the day of the tour.
* On the first day, May 22nd, Mike and Lorenzo enjoyed sunny weather as they made their way through Seven President Park and the Asbury Park boardwalk area, then the Belmar Gazebo rest stop, where WNBC-4's weekend weatherman, Vince Cellini was once again there, and the two posed for a photo with Cellini.
* In the atfernoon, the day's feat took a toll, with Mike heading on to the next rest stop, Oyster Creek, while Lorenzo rested. This part of the trail, route 532, "felt like forever," Mike recalled, although it was in reality 8.2 miles.
* On Sunday, May 23rd, after a thunderstorm had pounded the school gym's roof, and flashed lighting, the rain found its way on to roads about two miles into the second day's ride, and didn't stop for three-and-a-half-hour, downpounring sp much that Mike had to adjust his bike rain jacket, and bikers were asked to walk across slick metal bridges during the deluge. Mike hopped across on one foot, to help break up the monotony, as the long, soggy day continued.
* In their travels, they once again met fellow Bellevillite Bob McGough, from the Silver Lake District, riding with his son and a few others.
* After finally reaching the finish line in Cape May, Mike enjoyed some good barbecue and read his comic books on the bus ride home.
* As always Mike has a long list of people to thank (see letters to the editor on page 6).
* Anyone wishing to take on a bike tour challenge can call (973) 667-2100 and leave their name and phone number.
* To keep up with Mike's progress, visit his website on the world wide web at http://pages.prodigy.com/airwaves. For the Mid-Jersey Chapter, the address is http://www.mjcms.org. The National MS URL is http://www.nmss.org. Call (732) 643-0010 for info on the Mid-Jersey Chpater bike tour.