The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

June 10, 2014

Despite heavy rains, MS Bike Tour 150 was a soggy success

CONNEAUT — Despite heavy rain and rumbles of thunder, hundreds of bicyclists involved in a multiple sclerosis fundraiser safely made their way to the finish line at Conneaut’s Township Park on Sunday, said Conneaut Police Chief Charles Burlingham.

Rain that began late morning made highways slick, but none of the riders had any spills or mishaps as they pedaled through town, Burlingham said. More than 1,100 people registered to ride in the two-day MS Bike Tour 150 event that began Saturday morning in Zelienople, Pa., organizers told the chief.

After an opening leg that began beneath blue skies and warm temperatures, things turned much wetter as Day Two began in Meadville, Pa. Forecasts of stormy weather held true, and riders entered Conneaut via Furnace Road amid raindrops.

Police controlled traffic at several key intersections in downtown Conneaut to ensure no problems. Some traffic signals were put on a blinking mode that gave cyclists priority at crossroads.

Officers were notified by tour officials that all riders had entered the downtown district by 1:30 p.m., and most of the traffic control checkpoints were discontinued at that time, Burlingham said.

One day earlier, Conneaut’s downtown was filled with people participating in the ninth annual Sock Hop. A classic car show, food vendors and music at different stages  filled the streets — as did a horde of fun-seekers.

“You couldn’t walk down the streets, it was so crowded,” said Darlyene Brisley, Sock Hop coordinator. “This one was good.”

The Hop was biggest yet, attracting vehicles from as far away as Pennsylvania, New York — and Canada, Brisley said. “We had to keep pushing (the show) onto other streets,” she said.

Food vendors reported a brisk business, Brisley said. “They were happy,” she said.

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