This past Friday could have been just like any other day on the Local Motion bike ferry: busy, breezy, and beautiful. Except this day was different, one lucky cyclist would earn the title of 5,000th rider for the 2016 season.
At eight o’clock sharp the Bike Ferry set sail transporting a group of 120 riders across The Cut for the annual "Ray’s Ride’" a ride organized by and for family and friends to celebrate and remember Ray Sullivan and Ray McCarthy. With the day off to an exciting start, Captain Brian Zabel and Deckhand Frank Malaki eagerly awaited the arrival of the 5,000th ferry rider.
As the day progressed many came close to landing the title, but in the end, there could only be one. By two o’clock, Mr. Joe Lugu arrived at the Bike Ferry, unaware of the award he was about to receive. Hailing all the way from California, Joe earned the title of Mr. 5,000 on Friday with his wife Jean. The two had traveled to Burlington in their RV from just outside Sacramento on a trip across the continent. Enjoying a leisurely ride along the water, on bikes rented from Local Motion’s very own trailside center, Joe was delighted to receive the title of 5,000th rider of the season! Captain Brian treated Joe, Jean and an enthusiastic group of Quebecois to a leisurely crossing of The Cut and time to enjoy the accolades, in addition to a free ride that day and a Season’s Pass for 2017. Joe joked that while $5,000 would have been nice, being Mr. 5,000 was just as good.
Although there could only be one 5,000th rider, every day on the ferry brings out new riders and long-time friends. One rider who just missed the 5,000 mark was Sally Ober, a cyclist traveling from Lincoln, VT. Sally was visiting the Bike Ferry for the first time. On her return trip, she raved about how the day had exceeded her expectations, including lunch in the Champlain Islands and a visit to Snow Farm Winery. Like many first time riders, Sally had never realized how clearly the Island Line Trail is signposted and with its well-maintained surface, it is an easy place for everyone to ride all the way through Burlington, Colchester, and South Hero. She loved the different parks along the path and the glorious mountains surrounding her, she remarked,“Lake Champlain is the real gem”.
For the Island Line ferry crew, Friday was yet another gorgeous day spent surrounded by the lake, mountains, and the smiling faces of riders and walkers enjoying the view from the middle of the lake. Now the countdown begins for the 10,000th rider of the season. It could be you.