Cyclists Complete Bikathon to Benefit Cosmic Ray Division
By Mari Gasparyan
The Bike for Hope for Armenia group of cyclists rode in a Bike-a-thon in Armenia from June 3-7 to support the scientists of the Cosmic Ray Division (CRD) of the Yerevan Physics Institute. Riders from the United States were joined by the junior riders from the Armenian Cycling Olympic Preparatory Sports School under the leadership of Mr. Albert Soloyan.
Fourteen years ago, the annual Bike for Hope for Armenia rides were founded by Mr. Vatche Soghomonian, who celebrated his 80th birthday on the ride this year. In the past these rides have supported the Armenian Technology Group projects in agriculture, the Armenia Fund projects and for the last 4 years, the CRD.
This year’s ride was organized in collaboration with the Support Committee for Armenia's Cosmic Ray Division (SCACRD) in the US and the Armenian Cycling Olympic Preparatory Sports School in Armenia. The riders from the US included Mr. Vatche Soghomonian from Fresno, Prof. Adrian Parsegian from U. of Massachusetts, Michael Kludjian from Los Angeles, 17-year-old Eddy Barsoumian and Anahid Yeremian from the San Francisco Bay Area. They were joined by 10 Junior riders from the Armenian Cycling Olympic Preparatory Sports School. Three generations of cyclists, ranging in age from 13 to 80, took to the roads of Northern Armenia.
Some of the cyclists at camp in Sevan
The ride titled Spectacular Armenia Ride covered about 400 km of grueling terrain in 5 days. The director of the Armenian Cycling Olympic Preparatory Sports School, Mr. Albert Soloyan, and his assistant and coach of the Junior team, Mr. Boyadjian, each one driving a sag-van, skillfully and safely led the group throughout the ride. Inspecting bicycles, repairing tires, and replenishing water bottles in the evening was as much a part of the experience as making noodles over the camp fire.
Homenetmen scouts in Republic Square, wishing cyclists a safe trip
Prior to starting the ride at Yerevan’s Republic Square, a contingent of Armenian Scouts wished the riders a safe journey and inspired them by singing the Homenetmen anthem. Starting in Yerevan, the riders continued to Aparan taking a moment to admire the Tuf Stone Alphabet on the slopes of Mt. aragats, then on to Vanadzor, the picturesque hills of Dilijan and Ijevan, passing by Lake Sevan, and returning to Yerevan’s Republic Square. Among those welcoming back the cyclists were the scientists, staff, and the head of the CRD and director of the Yerevan Physics Institute, Prof. Ashot Chilingarian, together with friends and reporters from the local news media. The Armenian Police skillfully and seamlessly escorted the riders through the congested streets of Yerevan at the start and at the end of the ride.
Director of Yerevan Physics Institute and its Cosmic Ray Division, Prof. Ashot Chilinaryan on the left and the Director of the Armenian Cycling Olympic Preparatory Sports School, Mr. Albert Soloyan on the right pledging mutual cooperation for the future of Armenian youth.
CRD scientists, students, and interns at Republic Square welcoming back the cyclists.
The bike-a-thon succeeded in raising awareness of the important work the scientists of the Cosmic Ray Division are doing and raised some funds for it. As importantly, two heroes whose work in Armenia is bringing hope to many youth, Prof. Ashot Chilingarian in science and Mr. Albert Soloyan for talented cyclists, established bonds and pledged to continue to collaborate with each other. Both groups are intensely committed to excellence and to representing Armenia in the most favorable light in the world arena. Armenian cyclists routinely bring home a medals from World competitions while the CRD scientists routinely establish themselves at the best in the world of ground based cosmic ray research.
Vatche Soghominan Celebrating his 80th birthday at CRD’s Nor Ambert Research station after the bike-a-thon.
At the conclusion of the Spectacular Armenia Ride, the cyclists joined the CRD staff and supporters, at CRD’s Nor Amberd Research Station on Mt. Aragats. There they celebrated the end of the 2013 ride, the scientists’ and cyclists’ accomplishments, and Vache Soghomonian's 80th birthday.
News for next year’s ride will be forthcoming in September. Keep a look out for it on www.crdfriends.org and join them.
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