Chuck Flynt and his wife Diane have done a lot of good in the places where they have lived and worked in North Carolina and Virginia over the years, and they've figured out interesting ways to make it fun, too. Chuck turned 74 this year, and as he has in recent years, he invited his friends to ride along with him on a birthday run up and down the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Chuck's offer was simple: For every mile you ride, we'll donate a dollar to the Jesse Peterman Memorial Library in Floyd. This year there were 22 riders. They seemed to enjoy it. Got a lot of exercise on a beautiful day. And wound up doing a good deed for readers and fans of the library in these hills.
And here's the amazing thing: Chuck rides a mile for every one of his birthdays. A number of his friends join him in that, but others are more suited to shorter rides. Diane aims for 40, she says — a good age and a good number.
The Flynts have ridden in a lot of places, and often invite new friends to the Blue Ridge to visit — and to ride. "We were especially happy that Larry Stark joined us from Denver and Jenny Turek from Marin County," Diane said in an e-mail Monday. "We met these two on our Spain Backroads trip and they made the trek to VA just for the birthday ride. We met two other bike riding couples from PA who will come next year, when we will avoid the Jewish holiday and leaf season both, somehow."
I popped by a parking lot near Mabry Mill on the Parkway Sunday morning to shoot some photos and see the long riders — the Big Dogs — off in their northern run up beyond Rakes Mill and back, a total of 28 miles. Later I dropped in on the mid-morning start of the southern leg down to Groundhog Mountain and on to Fancy Gap with the Lap Dogs and (Diane said she couldn't help it) the Puppy Dogs, who could ride the 26 miles to Ground Hog and back or the 46 miles to Fancy Gap and back.
In all the riders chalked up 1,195 miles, the most posted in the three years that Chuck has used his birthday ride to raise money for the library. In 2012, the Flynts donated $1,005 for the mileage ridden. Last year, the total was $707. It's beginning to build up nicely. "That adds up to $2970 wonderful, much-needed and appreciated dollars for the library," Cathy Whitten, library branch manager for the Jessie Peterman Library, emailed me this morning. "We are so grateful to all of you who ride and donate. It’s just the most delightful thing to us that you all would do this!