Eight Enjoyable Bicycle Tours
By Dan Sheridan
Originally Published in Marion Star June 21, 2009
More than 600 bicyclists from seven states kicked off the summer cycling season in Marion County by participating in the Hot Tamale Bicycle Tour on June 6th. Riders enjoyed a warm and sunny day as they followed quiet country roads northeast along the Olentangy River valley before returning to Waldo.
Fr. Jim Klima, former pastor of Marion St. Mary Catholic Church, who rode the 62 mile route, said “It was outstanding in all respects. Not only was the weather great, but the route was great, the cookies were great, the camaraderie, everything about it. The ride was a 10+ in all ways.”
Robert Blevins of Marion said “The Hot Tamale was my first group ride but won’t be my last. I had a wonderful time, and met some great people too. I did the full 62 miles and the route was well marked. All the people who helped were outstanding. I will be back next year.”
Now that the Hot Tamale Tour is over, it’s a good time to explore some of Ohio’s upcoming bicycle tours. These tours typically offer a scenic marked route, a map, snacks, support vehicles, and camaraderie with other riders. Some rides also have t-shirts for sale and a limited number of patches.
The Upper Sandusky Family Bicycle tour, on July 11 is a favorite of many Marion cyclists. The ride offers distances of 9, 17, 25, 32, 50, and 62 miles, with the longer routes stopping at a covered bridge and Indian Mill State Park. Riders are treated to shredded chicken sandwiches upon their return.
The Greene Trails Classic (July 16 through 19) is a gentle introduction to multi-day bicycle touring. Riders camp at a park located next to the county fairgrounds, and ride in a different direction each day on the area’s beautiful recreational trails. Since the trips are “out and back,” riders can opt for a shorter distance.
The Morning Glory Ride, on Sunday, August 2, is described as “an annual early morning bicycle ride that takes 2,000 cyclists on a sunrise tour of Cincinnati’s beautiful neighborhoods and parks, capping it off with breakfast by the Ohio River.” Riders start at 4:30 a.m. for a 17 mile ride or 5:30 a.m. for a 10 mile journey.
Scoops 4 Stephanie (http://www.scoops4stephanie.com/) on Saturday, August 22, is a fundraiser for the Stephanie K. Lust scholarship fund, a Marion Community Foundation scholarship. This ride starts in Waldo, and will visit dairy bars in up to four towns, depending on the distance selected (16, 30, or 40 miles).
The Best Wurst Bicycle Ride, also on August 22, is part of the Bucyrus Bratwurst Festival. Riders have a choice of 12, 32, or 64 miles.
Marion General Hospital’s Popcorn Ride, on Saturday, September 12, offers 25 and 62 mile rides, starting at McKinley Park in Marion. The ride is at a beautiful time of the year, as summer fades into autumn and the soybean fields turn golden. Like the Hot Tamale, this ride attracts cyclists from all over Ohio and from surrounding states.
The Hancock Horizontal Hundred is on Sunday, September 13. The ride starts in Findlay, and offers routes of 36, 64, and 100 miles. Many cyclists combine this tour with the Popcorn Ride to make a weekend getaway.
The Fall-N-Leaf Ride on Sunday, October 11 is a beautiful fall foliage tour in Richland and Knox Counties, with 37 and 65 miles routes. The hills in this area make the ride both challenging and beautiful.
The Ohio Bicycle Events Calendar (http://www.ohiocycling.info/obec.html) is a good resource for riders who are looking for a bicycle tour. Contact information for the above rides is listed in the calendar, unless it is listed in the article.
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