WASHINGTON - Every community has its holiday traditions. For some residents in Reston, Va., the Thanksgiving holiday starts with an early morning bike ride.
Jim Cullen, one of the organizers of the Reston Thanksgiving Day Family Bike Ride, says the event was born out of necessity.
"About seven years ago, my wife went off running for three hours and left me stranded with three kids," he says.
Cullen and fellow cyclist Steve Gurney now lead the 10-mile event that stops at Reston Town Center. The two participate in the bike ride with their families no matter the temperature outside.
"We're teaching our kids that you've got to get up and get out and do this regardless of what the weather is. Sometimes they complain, but we get ‘em out anyway."
"Sometimes we complain too," Curren jokingly adds.
Eleven-year-old Evie Leary doesn't need convincing to join the ride, though she confesses the best part of the experience is the final stop at Starbucks for coffee.
When it's cold, Evie's solution is to wear two jackets. "We just layer up, and we still do it," she says. "It's fun."
Gurney says anyone can participate in the event.
"Every year it gets bigger and bigger, and the more people that are out there, the better it is," he says.
When it was over and time to head home, the riders saddled up and headed off for their holiday meals.
Adam Austin, a Reston resident, went on a 40-mile bike ride. He's a regular bike commuter, but on weekends and holidays, it's all about fun, he says.
The long rides can also mitigate the damage done at the holiday dinner table.
"That's an added benefit - getting out and getting exercise in before you stuff your face," Austin says.
He adds that he actually celebrated with a holiday dinner a day early, on Wednesday.
"So I'm working off what I had last night, and I'm going to have round two tonight," he says. "So today's ride was pretty important."
(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)
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