Remember to wear red next Friday, Feb. 1. It is the 10th Annual National Wear Red Day and 10th Year of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Day. Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States, killing more women each year than all cancers combined. Because the symptoms of heart disease are different in women than in men, its seriousness was underestimated for decades. This special day calls attention to the fight against heart disease in women.
February is American Heart Month and Women’s Heart Month. On Thursday, Feb. 7, To Your Health of Western Mountains Senior College (WMSC) is presenting “Good Strong Heart: Women and Heart Disease” from 4:30 to 6 p.m., at the West Parish Congregational Church on Church Street in Bethel. The speaker is Dr. Daniel van Buren, the Director of Cardiovascular Medicine of the New England Heart Institute at Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin, N.H. Dr. van Buren will discuss the prevention of heart disease, how to recognize the symptoms, and how to get a screening for heart disease. To Your Health is sponsored by the WMSC as a community service with the collaboration of Bethel Family Health Center and MSAD 44/Continuing Education. The public is invited to attend and admission is free.
Fresh snow last week covered most of the ice along trails and in the woods, making great snowshoeing conditions. On Saturday I snowshoed along the trails near the old mill yard on Route 26 just south of Telstar. Below the railroad tracks are logging roads and snowmobile trails that lead to Bethel, Greenwood, and beyond. I met a group of five snowshoers who had broken a fresh trail running southward parallel to the railroad tracks. They told me they had met two snowmobilers, two cross-country skiers, and one person on a mountain bike.
I hadn’t thought much about winter use of a mountain bike, but then I remembered James Michener’s historical novel, “Alaska,” in which one of his characters bicycles 1,000 miles along the frozen Yukon River to cash in on the gold rush. Although Michener’s character is fictitious, he based the story on the real bicycle trip of Max Hirschberg in 1900. Hirschberg wrote an article about his trek for “Alaska Magazine” during the late 1950s. During the gold rush, it seems that “Klondike Bicycles” were used by would-be miners to transport themselves and freight along the frozen rivers. Some of the bicycles weighed as much as fifty pounds. Since air-inflated tires froze, these bicycles had solid rubber tires one-and-a- half inches in diameter. Bicyclists wrapped the handlebars in rawhide to avoid getting frostbite from the freezing metal. Is it possible that bicycling could become a popular winter sport here?
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