Riderless bike taken to Old Glory
By Bob Weaver
Participants in the Sixth Annual Appalachian Bike Classic lowered their
bikes to the ground as words of memory were spoken of avid mountain biker
Sgt. Gene Vance, who was recently killed in Afghanistan.
On the loudspeaker, Jack Downs said "He gave much for all of us, so we
could be here today."
Vance had been a frequent participant in the Calhoun race.
A riderless bike was pushed up the green hillside of Calhoun County Park
and placed beside a giant American flag. Doing the honors, longtime biking
friends, Steve Thaxton and Mike Boyes.
Young and old riders, waiting for the race's starting gun, stood in silence
watching the distant flag, remembering Vance, who was described as a
"kind and gentle man."
Young and old quietly remember Sgt. Vance
Even the young shed tears as taps was played in his honor.
A few moments later, the competition began.