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Laura Kessel is managing editor of The News-Herald in Willoughby. She writes a weekly column and shares her thoughts here.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Many miles to entry fee for Police Unity Tour

Many of the riders in the Police Unity Tour admit struggling to collect the required $1,750 fee to take part in the 300-mile ride.
Mentor resident Mike Rae gets creative.
He sells books and other trinkets on eBay, and recently started offering to perform weddings and vow renewal ceremonies. He previously became an ordained minister to perform the wedding ceremony for the daughter of a good friend.
Peter Bennett, an attorney from the Isle of Man in England, also got creative, because he said he found it difficult to get friends to support what for him is a foreign charity.
Bennett said he took advantage of his aging vehicle, and the fact that he gets mileage reimbursement for drives he takes as part of his job inspecting prosecutors back home.
“Over the past year, I did quite a bit of work away from home on inspections, and I got paid mileage when I used my own car. Now, my car is worth about 50 pence,” Bennett said with a chuckle, explaining that equates to about 75 cents in American dollars. “It’s worth nothing. I take the petrol (also known as gas) money out of the mileage, and put the rest aside for this.”
Bennett, according to Rae, is among the better riders in PUT, which surprised him.
Rae said he discovered Bennett after the Brit wrote to members of the Cleveland Cycling Club, hoping to find organized rides he could take part in during a trip to Ohio three years ago.
When he first saw him, though, Rae was a little worried about his new friend’s participation because he is heavier than cyclists most Americans see taking part in road races. They met in person for the first time at an Ohio Turnpike rest stop before heading together to New Jersey to take part in the 2010 PUT ride.
“Peter gets out, and he was bigger than (his current size), and I go ‘Oh he’s gonna be the laughingstock of the event,’ because you’ve got officers with (huge arms), and he ends up being one of the best bikers in the whole darn thing, because his dad was an international bike champion from Europe,” Rae said. “So he’s been biking since he was a little kid, and the guy is great.
“He is always within the top 30 to 40 people from the truck, and when you’ve got about 700 people, that’s pretty top 10 percent, easy.”
By Laura Kessel
Twitter: @Lauranh


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