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Midland church's bicycle club offer opportunity for fellowship

| Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
Members of St. Blaise Church bicycle group (from left) Greg Kalamasz of Hookstown Kristin Holmes of Industry, Joe Sitko of Industry, Bernadette Thorwart of Glassport, Bud and Roberta Kalamasz of Freedom and their sons, Travis, 11, Gordon, 14, Andrew, 12, Victor Kovalesky of Industry, Cindy Kalamasz of Hookstown and Sue Kovalesky of Industry. gather at the Midland church before heading to Lisbon, Ohio, for a ride on Saturday, April 19, 2014.

Greg Kalamasz said he felt a calling to form a bicycle riding group at the Roman Catholic church he attends in Midland.

The St. Blaise Bicycle Club is in its second year and has grown to 18 members, including some who hadn't been on bicycles in years. So far, about 10 people participate regularly.

Ten rides are scheduled through September. The first was last weekend along the Little Beaver Creek Greenway Trail in Ohio. The next will be May 3 on the Wheeling Heritage Trail System in West Virginia.

“It's a passion I have,” said Kalamasz, 53, of Greene Township, Beaver County, who began cycling six years ago.

Rides typically are 20 to 30 miles, round trip, and are mostly on trails built along former railroad lines. The pace usually is less than 10 miles per hour.

Riders stop for lunch or dinner when they are done.

Kalamasz's brother and sister-in-law, Gordon “Bud” Kalamasz, 42, and Roberta, 38, of Freedom, ride with their three sons.

“It's great family time,” said Roberta Kalamasz, noting that the club has given her a reason to exercise.

Gordon Kalamasz Jr., 14, said he likes that riding has strengthened his legs for track and wrestling.

Andrew Kalamasz, 13, said he enjoys spotting wildlife.

“We've seen some eagles,” he said.

And Travis Kalamasz, 12, said he has fun riding through tunnels and stopping for ice cream.

St. Blaise pastoral council secretary Karen Granito said the club fits the core values of the church.

“We've been encouraging members to share their different gifts, and Greg has been very good at doing that,” Granito said.

The church's pastor, the Rev. Michael Yaksick, likes the fellowship the club provides.

“This group is a real blessing,” he said. “The members help create and strengthen bonds of friendship and community within our parish family.”

Sue Kovalesky, 71, of Industry said she and her husband, Victor, 77, enjoy being outdoors.

“You meet up with people,” she said. “(Strangers) say how nice it is the church has a club.”

Kalamasz considers cycling a perfect pastime. “I like everything about it, the rides, the wildlife and most of all, meeting so many great folks,” he said.

Anyone can join the bicycle club. Membership is free. Participants must provide their own bicycles and transportation, and are required to wear safety helmets. Children younger than 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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