* * * 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 25, 1998 by Richard Dickon the editor. It is on page 6 in "The Best of Belleville". The article has been modified a bit. NOTE Belleville Times is no longer under Orechio Publication. North Jersey Newspaper now owns Belleville Times.
"Big Mike rides"
* This week, I begin a new weekly column dedicated to the many residents, teachers, administrators and public officials helping bring out the best in this township.
* For far too long, there has been a negative cloud hanging over Belleville, which some have attributed, at least in part, to media coverage. While it is true that negative stories must be reported, it is the continuing goal of this column to take the time to, as a singing bear once sang, "accentuate the positive."
* I will start by revisiting an old friend,"Big Mike" Dowd of Belleville in a Multiple Sclerosis Bike Tour. Fresh off of a bike tour on May 16 and 17, "Big Mike" puts his total for 1998 at a whopping $2,092.00!
* Having begun 1998's tour season with a new Cannondale T-700 bike, donated by an anonymous benefactor, Mike detailed his exploits in the 170 mile "Coast the Coast" MS-170 Bike Tour that May weekend.
* For the first time, Mike was partnered with Lorenzo Salvadore, who lives on his street. On the Saturday, he was foiled by a rising draw bridge, but got to hobnob with WNBC news weekend weatherman Vince Cellini.
* Other constant companions on the road are the occasional aching knee and extreme heat, both of whom accompanied Mike on Saturday.
* Cooler weather on Sunday morning eased the ride for awhile, but soon the duo were stalled by a line of thunderstorm because they had not packed rain coats.
* In his travels, Mike met Bob McGough from Silver Lake (my apologies for stepping into Marie Burke's territory), who hurt a rib from the day before. Decided not to bike in this weather. Another young couple who had dropped out shared their rain gear, and the two were able to wait out a half hour's worth of storm.
* After stopping to make friends with some cows, picking up a tail wind and feeling better, Mike beat his 1996 finish by a half our, and Lorenzo finished the trip, earning Mike's congratulations for raising $500.00 himself for MS.
* As always, "Big Mike" has spongers to thank, and so they will be: the Law Offices of Rovert Giordano; Algieri's Pizza; Sunsational Tan; Happy Daze, Rossmore Pharmacy; a group of Belleville High School teachers; School #7 PTA; Not Just Coffee; Mayor Mario Drozdz and the Municipal Council; Belleville Knights of Columbus #835; Frade's Deli; Cabrina's Italian Food in Nutley; Bradley Tire; Belleville Elks #1123; a few nice people from the Silver Lake Civic Association during Blossomfest '98; FMBA #29; friends in the Belleville Recreation Department; Michael Freda Orthodontics and his partner; Mike's Roscommon House; Mike's mother and her friends at ADP in Parsippany, the stores that let Mike put the pledges bottles on the counters, and all his friends, in Belleville and throughout the state.
* All of you get the recognition for helping a lot of people with MS and helping researchers find better ways to deal with the disease . . .