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Cycling for Charity

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues
Blues players know a lot about teamwork.

A player doesn't typically score a goal without an assist or two from his teammates. And those goals wouldn't matter much if their goaltender didn't make timely saves for the team.

But on Saturday morning, Blues forward B.J. Crombeen and goaltender Ty Conklin learned a different sort of that involves two people balancing and pedaling together to ride a tandem bicycle.

Both players helped kick off Tour De Unite at Francis Park in South St. Louis on Saturday morning, an event designed to raise money for the Delta Gamma Center for Children with Visual Impairments, the Disabled Athlete Sports Association and the Recreation Council of Greater St. Louis.

"Just coming here, seeing the kids and how much fun they have when they get on the bike...obviously, they have a tough time being able to do everything," said Crombeen. "To be able to do something like this with them, to see their faces and the enjoyment they get of out of it, it's a lot of fun for us."

Both players began the event riding a tandem bicycle with a child from the Delta Gamma Center.

"It's a great event that supports great causes and great people," said Conklin. "It's a pleasure for us to do this. It's not something we're forced to do. It's something we want to do."

Tour De Unite is designed to bring more awareness to children with visual disabilities.

The Delta Gamma Center was established by Washington University alumni in 1951. Located on Big Bend near I-64, the facility offers early education and therapy services for young children who are either blind or visually impaired. Support ranges from preparing the child for preschool and helping families learn how to care for them.

Executive Director Debbie Naucke said she was thrilled to have Crombeen and Conklin to help kick off the weekend's event.

"They are awesome and a lot of fun," she said. "I think they're good cyclists, too. They're giving a face to this event that's making it very exciting for everybody to be a part of. We're thrilled to have them."

Added Crombeen, "We get the chance to do a tandem bike ride with some visually impaired young kids. It’s something we’ve learned quite a bit about lately, and it’s not a widespread or well known disability. It's been a lot of fun raising some money for a good cause."
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