SUNRISE SUMMIT — Before Steve Rinker departs on his 4th Cannonball Run — an antique motorcycle race across the United States— he stopped at Romney Middle School last week to speak to students and show them his bike.
This time, Rinker will ride along with his 2 sons Jared and Justin. His wife, Hampshire County School Board member Dee Dee, will man the support vehicle. They will depart from Portland, Maine on Sept. 6, and travel to Oregon.
While the students at RMS won’t be on the bike with him, of course, they will follow along with the Rinkers virtually on a blog that will chronicle the bike’s trip across the USA.
“These kids have a great imagination,” Rinker said back in November when his latest bike got off the ground. “We try and make them understand that all us Cannonball riders mostly start out the same.” That is, with a pile of parts that have been assembled from swap meets and other enthusiasts like Steve from all around the world.
This year’s bike is a 1928 Indian Scout. Students were given the opportunity to draw a logo and out of 120 submissions they picked a close up view of the famous West Virginia Mountaineer’s head drawn by Zoe Arnold. The students also helped Rinker pick a name for his bike. They settled on “The Pride Runner.”
As the students follow along Rinker’s journey, they are absorbing a ton of valuable educational information. Lessons about goal setting and the highs and lows that come with that, as well as starting and finishing a project will be prevalent, as will how Rinker problem solves on a daily basis when it comes to the bike’s maintenance on the road.
“You take all these parts and put it together and it’s a labor of love,” Rinker said. “When it’s done and you start it for the first time there is a sense of pride.” o