Bike ride honors local man

CHAMPION – More than 200 friends and family of Larry Furniss gathered this past weekend to ride their bikes along the Greenway Bike Trail to both raise awareness for bike safety and funds to continue to improve and make the trail safe for riders.

The three-hour Larry Furniss Memorial Bike Ride began at the Sunside Trailhead off Route 305 in Champion with riders traveling north to Housel Craft Road or as far north as they want.

Joanne Gilbert, sister of Furniss, said the fourth annual ride is to raise awareness for bike safety with all proceeds raised going to the Western Reserve Bike Path for the safety of the trail.

On July 20, 2010, Furniss, 58, was traveling on his bike on the Greenway when he was struck by a car while crossing Housel Craft Road.

”Each year family and friends take part in this event, which was Larry’s favorite sport,” said Bryant Furniss, Larry’s son.

He said the event raised $1,000 the first year and between $1,500 and $2,000 in the second and third years.

Bryant and his sister, Christina, said the money raised will be used for clearing and trimming of plant and vegetation growth so bicyclists and motorists can see each other, as well as for the posting of bike safety signs.

“We want the signs to be noticed by motorists so they’re aware of bicyclists in the area,” Bryant said.

Donations from the event came from Thumm’s Bike Shop, which donated a bike that was raffled, and Blessed Sacrament Parish in Warren.

Bryant and Christina said their father loved to ride his bike almost every day when he was able.

The family also takes part in the annual Ride for Silence that remembers all who have died while riding their bikes.

The team all wore neon-colored shirts in unity as they traveled along the trail.

Bryant said they aim to always have the ride in July since their father’s birthday was July 5 and he died July 20.