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Bicyclists promote adoption with ride across state
Oct 16, 2006 12:00 am
Bike enthusiasts throughout the state – including Ashley Clemons, daughter of Randall and Peggy Clemons of Lebanon – have joined forces in an attempt to raise awareness about the importance of adoption and the growing number of children who are awaiting a family.
The bikers have teamed up with the Tennessee Department of Children's Services and created The Adoption Tour as part of the state's Adoption Support and Preservation (ASAP) program. The tour is a 433-mile bike trek across the state from Memphis to Knoxville. The kick off began Oct. 9 when 30 cyclists left Memphis for the first leg which ended in Jackson.
The third day of the tour saw the group pull into Lebanon.
"We had 40 riders today," Clemons said.
Clemons got involved with the tour, now in its second year, when the adoption agency she works for decided to sponsor the event. Clemons works for the Knoxville-based agency Harmony.
"I started training in April to prepare myself," Clemons said after arriving at the Country Inn & Suites in Lebanon for a rest stop.
The small odometer attached to the front of her bike ticked away the miles she has traveled since the first day of the ride in Memphis. The current total was 225 for the three day trek.
"So far I've done all but about 35 miles," she said. She plans to see the journey through to the finish line in Knoxville on Friday.
The aim of the ride seems to be spreading as local cyclists in the various cities swelled the ranks of the dedicated participants during each leg. Clemons noted there were only five riders in the inaugural event. This year the number climbed to 16 fully committed riders plus others who journeyed for single legs.
"The Adoption Tour has grown tremendously and the Tennessee Department of Children's Services has provided excellent support and welcome enthusiasm. It's heartening to see so many people who care about the future of these children," Pam Wolf, executive director of Harmony, said in a press release.
"There's been a lot of families that have come out," Clemons said. "If we get one child adopted through our efforts, it will be a success."
There were four adoptions finalized before the team left Memphis, and another three children are scheduled to find permanent homes at the completion of the ride in Knoxville.
The riders began the fourth leg of the tour at 8:30 a.m. today which will take them more than 88 miles over the Cumberland Plateau to Crossville. The final leg of the ride is scheduled to arrive in Knoxville at 4 p.m. Friday.
Staff Writer Kimberly Jordan can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 16 or by e-mail at email@example.com.