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The crocuses are up with the daffodils close behind, frogs have been playing dodge- the- cars on rainy nights, and yes, the golf season has begun- at least for now.

Here is a listing of some local public courses that are up and running or close to it:

Canaan Country Club in North Canaan, CT is open but walking-only, no carts yet.

Fairview Farm Golf Course in Harwinton, CT  is open for business with carts.

Undermountain Golf Course in Copake, NY  is open with carts in the rough-only.

Green Woods Country Club in Winsted, CT promises to be open in “a week or so” – they are rolling greens and raking up winter debris.

Stonybrook Golf Course in Milton, CT should be open by this weekend.

Quarry View Golf Course in Canaan, CT is open with carts. The driving range is open too.

The Links at Union Vale are open with carts (cart paths only).

The Hotchkiss School Golf Course typically opens by April 15th, but can open as early as April 1st under favorable conditions, according to their website. I’d say this might be that kind of year.

Neither the Egremont Country Club in South Egremont, MA  nor Winding Brook Country Club in Valatie, NY are open yet, but stay tuned –  they’ll be opening “soon”.

So there you have it Golfers. Plenty of open options to dispel all of that pent up demand.

Just stretch first, OK?

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I was wrong

I was wrong.

I’ve said it many times – for non-profits,  volunteers are second in importance only to donations- money first, volunteers second.

Saturday, Development Manager for the Alzheimer’s Association- CT Chapter Tina Hogan set me straight.

” I couldn’t accomplish anything without volunteers,” she said, ” They are more important than anything”. She made her point by listing a dozen tasks that volunteers perform- office volunteers, community representatives, graphic/web design, community educators, special events, and more. “The Walk to End Alzheimer’s takes 50 to 100 volunteers alone” Tina told me.

And that was why Tina and her crew were at the Falls Village Inn this past Saturday- for the Alzheimer’s Association Leap into Action Volunteer Kickoff to recruit help for a busy upcoming season of activities and beyond. And they were successful – 25 folks came and signed up to help!

Some of them no doubt will be lending a hand for The Longest Day (June 21st) and The Walk to End Alzheimer’s which will be held for the first time at Lime Rock Park in October. LRP has chosen the Alzheimer’s Association as its signature charity this year.

You will be able to find the details of both events on

Evidence shows that people want to help out charities, both through donations and volunteerism, but often don’t know where to start. Here’s how: email and offer your services. They can use all skill sets. Or contact another local charity whose mission is dear to your heart. They can all use the help.


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Winsted Plunge Gone

By unpopular demand, the Winsted Penguin Plunge 2020, which had been scheduled for March 7th, has been canceled.

This would have been the 17th year of an event that has raised over $1.1 million for Special Olympics Connecticut. In recent history,  the Plunge raised $90,000 per year- and now it’s gone.

“Due to a low number of registrants” was the website reason for pulling the plug.

That’s the bad news.

But apparently some of the team participants from past years, high school, grade school, scouts, first responder teams, the ones who raised the big bucks, chose to sign up with other Connecticut Plunges instead. The money for CT Special Olympics didn’t disappear, it just shifted.

And that’s the good news.

Polar Plunges and other fundraising events in Connecticut support 12,000 to 13,000 Special Olympic athletes in the state with training and equipment in 26 different year-round sports. Special Olympics remains one of the most beloved and popular charities in the nation and beyond.

So if you had been planning to do the Plunge again in Winsted this year, you can still satisfy your cold water cravings at six other CT Plunge locations over the next few weeks. You can find them here:

And if you are particularly masochistic you can take part in the Pittsfield Super Plunge March 28th and 29th ( This one supports Special Olympics Massachusetts). There you can jump into icy water once every hour for 24 straight hours. Now that’s dedication!

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Official Concern

Last week was Officials vs Cancer, a program of the International Association of Accredited Basketball Officials. Refs at all school levels were asked to donate 25% of their reffing fees to the American Cancer Society, and they raised big bucks. They always do.

But see how that plays against another ref- related program this month- “Support your Local Ref”, a program to show some respect for our sports officials in Connecticut.

Because while officials (specifically basketball refs) have been showing their love with their fight against cancer, officials in general  haven’t been feeling the love at all.

You see the “Support your Local Ref ” program was initiated because the sports official community in Connecticut is in crisis- there are not enough refs to go around. And that is because 50% of all newly trained officials never return for a second season.


Verbal abuse, particularly by parents and other fans.

It’s that bad.

Six decades ago when I played Little League baseball, there was a bleacher behind home plate.  The parents and fans were so abusive to the umpire, the bleacher was moved to deep center field where the expletives were harder to hear.

Little has changed, it seems.

In the sports world, no participants  are more roundly maligned than the officials, right? They play the no-win position of angering one side or the other, no matter their call.

Their gaffs, which can influence a game’s outcome,  often ring louder in the media than any player’s mistake. Post game air time is used to debate solutions for “bad calls”, real or perceived.

It shouldn’t have to be said, but I guess it does – behind the black and white stripes, these are people , just like us. They do their jobs as best they can, just like us. With generous hearts they raise funds against disease and other causes, just like us. And because of us their numbers are dwindling.

So while the world of professional sports continues to ask the question “What do we do with the officials?”,  here on our elementary and high school athletic fields we should be asking “What would we do without them?”

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Human Dog Sled Race

To further bolster its kennel of competitors, SWSA is looking for a few good men and women to join the exciting Human Dog Sled Race on Friday evening, February 7, 2020 of Jumpfest 2020 weekend. Teams of six (five pulling and one riding) using sleds of your own design, compete for trophies in men’s, women’s and mixed categories as well as a people’s choice award for best costume/sled. The event is professionally announced.

Sleds can be as simple as an inner tube or as elaborate as an imitation fire truck.

Competition is fierce for a year’s worth of bragging rights for the winners, and fun is had by all.

If you have five friends or coworkers who are at least 18 years old and have at least a  moderate level of fitness (you will be running in snow over a .3 mile course), then contact us at info@ to get rules and other info.

Keep in mind that there is an element of risk involved.

Friday night of Jumpfest is a great time! An eighth of a mile of Luminarias guide you to the site, two roaring bonfires to keep you toasty, food and beverages for sale and target ski jumping and the Human Dog Sled Races are all held under the lights! Come join us!

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Here’s to a Hopeful New Year

For my final blog of 2019 I have listed the charities that have found their way into It is a long scroll, but I hope you will take the moment to roll it. You will see the massive national and international charities that tackle diseases like Alzheimer’s, breast cancer and autism, but also tiny ones you’ve likely never heard of. They operate under the radar easing the miseries of the hungry, homeless and troubled. They put back together the lives of children broken by sexual and domestic violence. This is quiet work. We don’t learn the names of the people helped, nor should we.

Please read the list to the bottom because I believe you will begin to understand the essence of what sportingAcause is about. Hope.

Police Activities League (Torrington)


Regional Food Bank of NENY

Youth Mission Outreach (Poughkeepsie)

Brain Injury Association of MA

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (MA, NY CT)

Angels of Light (Hudson Valley)

Morris Elementary School PTO (MA)

Barkhamsted Elementary School

Arts Education at Olana Partnership

Bantam Lake Protective Association

Great Barrington Rotary Club

Berkshire Community College Nursing Program

Berkshire South Teen Outreach Nutrition Program

Alzheimer’s Association (MA, NY CT)

Litchfield Community Center

Bethlehem Fuel Bank

Berkshire County ARC

Camp Jewell YMCA

Burlington Community Fund

New Marlborough Cultural Council

Camphill Village

Action For Alex

Nick Biancucci Memorial Basketball Courts

Water or People

Cornwall Consolidated School

Berkshire County Kids Place

Connecticut Resource Conservation and Development

Lee High School Scholarship Fund

Dover Plains High School Scholarship Fund

United Way of Dutchess-Orange Counties

Upton Lake Christian School

Falls Village Volunteer Fire Dept.

St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital

People’s Pantry (Great Barrington)

Indian Mountain School

Housatonic Youth Service Bureau

Michael J. Fox Foundation

Northern Dutchess Hospital Foundation

Ferncliff Forest Preserve

Free To Run

Make a Friend Be a Friend

Gilbert School Athletics

Junior Women’s Club of Litchfield Hills

Glenholme School

Goshen CT charities

Gould Farm

Porchlight VNA

Panichi Family Center for Communications and Learning

Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association

American Legion Post 178

Millerton Fire/Rescue Squad

EXTRAS (Salisbury)

Salisbury Central School 8th Grade

Right to Dream

Amenia Fire/Rescue Squad

Wassaic Fire Dept

High Watch Recovery Center Scholarship Fund

Litchfield Area Veterans

Running for Rescues

Volunteers in Medicine, Berkshires

Upper Housatonic Heritage Area

Relay for Life- American Cancer Society (MA, NY, CT)

Harwinton Handicap-Accessible Trail Fund

Eagle Santa Toy Fund

Litchfield Parks and Recreation

Berkshire United Way

Kent Food Bank

Julia’s Wings

Special Olympics, MA

Lee, MA High School Cross Country Program

Lenox, MA High School Cross Country Booster Club

Lenox Dale Fire Co.

Litchfield Youth Athletics

Scholarships for Litchfield, Wamogo and Forman Schools

Hartford Marathon Foundation

CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (Trail Maintenance)

Making Strides, Litchfield County

Brain Injury Association, NY

Dana Faber Cancer Institute

Miles For Hope Breast Cancer Foundation

Camp Moe Scholarships

Millbrook Early Childhood Education Center

MTM Scholarship Fund

Norfolk Land Trust

Norfolk Volunteer Fire Dept.

Norfolk Rails to Trails

Great Mountain Forest


Matt Herring Foundation

Peach Hill Park

Berkshire Medical Center Programs

Brodie Park

Morris Recreation Dept.

The Little Guild of St Francis

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

United Nations Association Adopt-A- Future

Great Barrington Land Conservancy

Culinary Institute of America Scholarship Fund

Northwestern Regional School District 7

Sandy Beach Restoration Fund

Bethlehem Food Pantry

CJ First Candle

Sharon Daycare Center

Sharon Recreation Center


Sparrow’s Nest

St Mary’s School

Pine Plains recreation

Moments House

Autism Connections

Torrington Trails Network

Cancer Care Fund of Litchfield Hills

United Way of Dutchess County

Boy Scout Troop 114, Valatie, NY

Ichabod Crane Central School BackPack Program

Family Services Domestic Violence (Poughkeepsie)

Camp Wa Wa Segowea Scholarships

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, Berkshire and Litchfield Counties

Prime Time House

Torrington Area Parkinson’s Support Group

National MS Society, MA, NY and CT


ALS Association

Parks and Recreation Wamogo Scholarship Fund

Sandisfield Library and Community Center

Massachusetts Audubon

Berkshire Humane

Adopt- A – Family

Amenia Fire Co.

Amenia Lion’s Club Scholarship Fund

Ancrum Fire Co.

Susan B. Anthony Project


Community Kitchen of Torrington

McCall Foundation

Open Door of Winsted

Canaan VFW Scholarship Fund

Taconic Scholarship Fund

Charlie Ormsby Children’s Golf Clinic


Columbia-Greene Community Foundation

Sheffield Kiwanis Club

Fairview Hospital Med-Surg Unit

College Possible

Boy’s and Girl’s Club, Berkshires

Millbrook Community Pre-School

EPIC Youth Empowerment Program

Grace Latino Outreach Program

Food For Life Pantry

Church Alliance Senior Housing

Harwinton Youth Sports Association

Hearts of the Father Outreach

Immaculate Conception Church of St. Martin of Tours Parish

Isaiah Lamb Fund

Canaan Exchange Club Scholarship Fund

Kara Zinke Emergency Fund

Kent Volunteer Fire Dept.

Knights of Columbus Scholarship Fund

Food Pantries of Woodbury, Watertown and Salisbury

Litchfield Sports Booster Club

Canaan Fire Co.

Maplebrook School Scholarship Fund

Oliver Wolcott Technical High School Scholarship Fund

Help Hope Live Northeast Transplant Fund

Possum Queen Foundation

Salisbury Central School

Salisbury Winter Sports Association

Salisbury Youth Hockey

Sharon Fire Dept.

Region One Athletic Fund

Stockbridge and Lenox Libraries

Torrington Area Families for Autism

St. Anthony of Padau and Our Lady of Grace Churches Scholarship Fund

Litchfield Sports Booster Club

Great Barrington Rotary Club Scholarship Fund

Roeliff Jensen Community Library

Thomas J. Berlinghoff Memorial Fund

Torrington Lion’s Club Scholarship Fund

All Hands Volunteers

Pearson School Playground

Sabin Institute

Torrington Youth Service Bureau

Hurricane Relief, Virgin Islands

Tanzanian Children’s Fund

Mekele School for the Blind

Northwest United Way

Jane Lloyd Fund

Salisbury Volunteer Ambulance Service

American Cancer Society

Bantam Lake Projects

Helping Hands FILAM Fund

Norfolk Curling Club

Sunday in the County Food Drive

CT Children’s Medical Center

Habitat For Humanity, Dutchess County

NWCT Rod and Gun Club

St. Peter/St. Francis School

Accelerate Brain Cancer Research

CT Brain Cancer Alliance

Musella Foundation for Brain Tumor Research

Special Olympics, CT

Housatonic Valley Regional High School Basketball Programs

Kenneth Krom Scholarship Fund

Mt. Everett High School Booster Club

Sharon Parks and Recreation

Litchfield High School Senior Class

New Hartford Land Trust

Sharon Fire Dept.

John Rice Scholarship Fund

Keri Perotti Scholarship Fund

Hudson River Housing

Donate Life

Corner Food Pantry

Karen DuCotey Fund for Kids

Burlington Parks and Recreation

St Paul’s Children’s Center

Be As You Wear

ALS Therapy Development Institute

Playground Golf Foundation

HVRHS Golf Team

Ryan McElroy Foundation

Lustgarten Foundation (for pancreatic cancer research)

Villa Veritas Foundation

Goshen Stampede Foundation

Premier Cares Foundation

Cerebral Palsy of Ulster County

Local VFW’s and American Legions

Torrington Child Care Center

Friends of Moe

Cornwall Food and Fuel

Falls Village Day Care

Food Banks of Region 1 towns

Project Playground

Torrington Parks and Recreation

Berkshire Rattlers

Center for Compassion

Salisbury Association

Sheffield Volunteer Hose Company

Sharon Hospital Bike Rodeo for Kids

Christopher Unsworth Scholarship Foundation

Refugee and Immigration Center for Education and Legal Services


Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation

Guiding Eyes for the Blind

Louison House

Women’s Support Services

Lake Waramaug Task Force

Washington Volunteer Ambulance

Washington Volunteer Fire Co.

State Police Explorers Post (Litchfield)

Steep Rock Association

Families United in Newtown

Fidelco Guide Dogs

Hospital For Special Care

Bike New York

Bike Walk Connecticut

Community Development Corp of South Berkshire

Cornwall Food and Fuel

Lakeville Pony Club

Church World Service

Happy 2020!

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Ideas for Another Kind of Gift


Tis the giving season, is it not? If you’ve already completed your shopping list for the usual suspects and have a few bucks left over to spread additional cheer, here are some gift ideas of the non- profit kind.

Love animals? The Little Guild in West Cornwall, CT rescues homeless dogs and cats and finds loving homes for them. A donation of $25 will buy a one-day supply of food for all of their animals; $50 vaccinates one animal for a year or helps pay the cost to spay a cat ($150) or neuter a dog ($300). Or maybe adopt a pet…

Who isn’t moved by the notion of a child at risk? Berkshire County Kids Place in Pittsfield, MA picks up the pieces of children damaged by sexual and domestic violence and makes them whole. When a child comes in for a therapy session they get a snack first. $10 buys all of the kids snacks for a week. $50 covers most of a private therapy session for a child. Usually it takes 12 – 24 sessions per child.

Continuing the focus on children, Brooker Memorial in Torrington, CT provides early learning, child care, pediatric dental care and child therapy for youngsters in need. $25 will buy a week’s supply of healthy snacks for 10 kids or dental screening for one child. $50 will provide one month of art supplies for two classrooms or a dental cleaning for one child.

Adopt-a-Family in Millerton, NY cares about the young ones too. Headquartered at Moore & More Printing ( 518 789-4508), Stacey Moore and her large band of helpers provide clothing and toys (non-electronic) to some 300 kids up to age 13. Each child gets a winter coat, boots and three toys. A $50 or $100  donation will put a big dent in that per child cost.

Hunger may be our greatest scourge. Gratefully, there are many non- profits dedicated to feeding our residents-in-need. One of them is the Sunday In The Country Food Drive They are based in Millerton, NY, but they serve 18 towns throughout the Tri-State area. They provide Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners to over 300 families. A $25 gift will provide a family of six with a complete holiday dinner including a 14-16 pound turkey.

Special Olympics is one of the most beloved of international charities. It allows children and adults with intellectual challenges to participate in and succeed in 26 different sports throughout the year. And the “United Sports” program partners challenged athletes with non-challenged high schoolers to compete together. Everyone wins. a $30 donation buys a basketball. If you care to give on the installment plan, $15 a month funds year round sports activities for three athletes. Each state manages its own programs. Connecticut; Massachusetts and New York .  A $65 donation will earn you a Special Olympics tree ornament.

Robin Hood Radio’s home is in Sharon, CT, and it serves the Tri-State region. It is an NPR station providing local and national news and entertainment as well as providing  public service announcements about non-profit activities throughout the year. Robin Hood Radio is a non-profit that needs our support. A $25 or $50 donation would help pay for stringers who report local news or help support an emergency fund take care of equipment failures, among many other expenses.

The Jane Lloyd Fund provides financial help for cancer patients in the Northwest Corner by paying their living expenses while they concentrate on healing. A $50 donation could cover a tank of gas to drive to treatments, or pay for part of an electric bill or a piece of a mortgage payment. No donation is too small.

Housatonic Youth Service Bureau (HYSB) . Counselors at HYSB offer free counseling to youngsters in Region 1 in Connecticut addressing a broad array of emotional needs from depression and anxiety to avoiding school, and support children and families coping with personal or economic crises, emotional or physical neglect, trauma, substance abuse and more. A $50 donation to HYSB will pay for one counseling session.

The Salisbury Winter Sports Association (SWSA) in Salisbury Connecticut has been teaching youngsters to ski – cross country, downhill and jumping for 94 years. They provide skiing scholarships for four area grade school downhill programs and maintain  20, 30 and 70 meter jumps at their Satre Hill facilities as well as host the annual Eastern Ski Jumping Championships. A $50 donation to SWSA will fund two hours of landing hill snow grooming or travel expenses for a SWSA jumper to compete at other eastern hills.

These are just 10 of the 300 or so charities found on the pages of, all of which are doing heroic work to improve lives in our part of the world. Please remember them when gift-giving this holiday season.

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Fundraiser Dos and Don’ts

I hesitate to write this blog. People hate to be told or even advised about what they should do. I know. I’m one of them.

But write it I must,  because after two years of searching websites and social media pages for information and writing up over 400 sports-related fundraising events around this Tri-State area,  I’ve made some observations and come to some conclusions that you may find helpful.

So here is my list of Dos and Don’ts when you are organizing or promoting your event whether it is sports-related or not.

1  This should be an easy one – Decide on an event name and stick with it. I’ve seen the names of events vary so much across media that they are barely recognizable as the same event. This usually happens if more than one person is involved in promoting the event. Sometimes the name just morphs from year to year.

If there is a word like “Jogfest” in the title, make certain it is always used- it is a key word that readers will use to recognize your event.

Also, you don’t have to tell the whole story in the title. The longest event title on is eleven words – too long. Make it descriptive but brief.

2  When posting your event, especially on social media pages,  please, please write the date including the year and include the town/city and state in the lead sentence. Many is the time I’ve clicked through three-plus times to find the race is in Nebraska or the golf tournament notice was from 2012. And keep your website information current too. I swear some folks haven’t reviewed their non-profit sites in years!

3  Every event must have a contact- “For more information about XYZ  Golf Tournament call/email so-and-so”. But make very, very sure that contact person addresses all inquiries. Because, believe it or not, 10% of the inquiries that I’ve made go unanswered. Let me put that another way – one out of ten times that I seek information about an event, no one gets back to me.

That, my friends, is inexcusable.

4  If you have a successful, established, multi-year event, do not change the date. You will lose loyal patrons. If your event  has always been on the third Saturday in July, leave it there, or you will be sorry.

5  And finally (Yay) – If you are planning a new event for your non- profit, good for you! But think seriously about the date . Ideally, you should schedule your event on a date when not much else is going on. For example, do not plan your event during September. Weekends during the 9th month are already overflowing with fundraisers. Before you pick a date, check out to get a sense of when the event traffic is lighter.

So there. Had enough instruction for one blog? I thought so.

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

With half of October gone, the bright colors of autumn are on full display- reds, oranges, yellows and… pink ?

Yes, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, when the whole country seems to turn pink in support.

And, with many companies with brands you know well supporting the fight against  breast cancer, it’s confusing to know how much is being donated and to whom.

Consider these national and world wide brands and their pink programs:

Ralph Lauren –  gives 25% of the proceeds from its Pink Pony line of T shirts, (but 100% of the purchase price of the “Live Love” T shirt) to Pink Pony Fund which supports an international network of charities.

IT Cosmetics – for each item of a select cosmetic line sold, IT donates one to Look Good Feel Better which helps women with appearance-related issues.

Olay – gives 100% of proceeds for each sale of pink Olay Regenerist Whip to Bright Pink, an awareness charity for breast and ovarian cancers.

Macy’s – gives a portion of sales from The Pink Shop line to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Gap – donates 10% of select bras sales to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, up to a maximum of $100,000.

Ford Motor Co. – gives 100% of net proceeds from the sale of its scarves and other accessory items to support transportation needs of breast cancer sufferers.

And on and on –  so many cause-marketing programs with varying charities and donation percentages.

Confused?  Me too!

So if you are looking for a way to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month in a most meaningful way, here is an idea.

Make a pledge to someone who is taking part in the Making Strides of Litchfield County  Walk Against Breast Cancer. It’s happening at White Memorial Conservation Center this Sunday, October 20th (find details below).

Walk members have been collecting donations from folks like you to give directly to the American Cancer Society and its fight against breast cancer.

Or better yet – join the Walk yourself – bring a donation, take a stroll, for the very best of causes.

271,000 people will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.

41,760 women will die of breast cancer in the US this year.

1 in 8 women are affected by breast cancer in their lifetime.

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Cars vs Bicycles

It must be said- cars and bicycles hate each other.

Despite state laws declaring them both “vehicles” and directing them to obey the same rules of the road, the two forms of travel are incompatible.

The major problem, of course, is they move at very different speeds.

When a car traveling at 45 mph comes up behind a bicycle riding at 15 mph, with oncoming traffic, the car must slow until the oncoming traffic clears then move into the left hand lane, pass the bicycle and then return to the right lane, giving the cyclist ample room in the process.

But you know what really happens, don’t you. More often than not, the impatient driver “shoots the gap” between oncoming car and slowpoke bicycle, engineering a close – call scenario. And if there is a mishap, it’s almost always the cyclist who loses.

There have been several bicycle rides and races on the sportingAcause calendar so far this year with more to come.  With more cyclists on the roadways, often in groups, it is imperative that everyone knows how to behave.

Car and truck drivers-

Bicycles have the same right to the road as you- that means they have access to the right hand side of the right hand lane, so don’t pass them unless it’s safe to.


Don’t overstep your “right to the road” privilege . If you have an adequate shoulder to ride on, use it.

Otherwise stay as far to the right as possible. Oh, and it is not OK to ride two or three abreast, taking up two thirds of the lane just so you can chat. And your responsibilities as a ‘vehicle’ include stopping at stop signs and red lights, signaling  turns  etc.

And finally to the cyclists- remember that your adversary ,the driver, is surrounded by two tons of metal while you are riding on a few pounds of tubing and little bits of rubber. Should the worst happen and your bicycle interacts with a car or truck, it will be small consolation that you were “in the right” if you’ve become road kill.

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