Smyrna bicycle club members riding across state — twice

SMYRNA — Registration for the The White Clay Bicycle Club’s 32nd Annual Delaware DoubleCross ends at 9 a.m. today for a ride that leads cyclists from Smyrna to Woodland Beach, then Millington, MD and back. Interested participants will muster at Smyrna High School, where the ride starts and ends. There’s no “mass start” — bikers can begin as soon as 7 a.m., but the official start isn’t until 8 a.m.

The ride is what’s called a metric century ride — 1,000 kilometers or about 62 miles — laid out in the rough shape of a figure eight. It’ll take riders through Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, Leipsic, Millington Wildlife Demonstration Area and the Blackiston Wildlife Area with rest stops along the way.

“We’ll have about three rest stops with food and drinks for riders to catch their breath and refuel,” said the bicycle club president John “JW” Haupt. “The club stocks the stops with things like granola, oranges, watermelon and different fruits. We also have Gatorade and water to refill bottles. There’s always peanut butter and jelly sandwiches too which is popular for cyclists because it’s not too heavy on your stomach.”

The club has marked the cycling route three ways — physical markers, turn by turn direction sheets and downloadable GPS coordinates. The directions and GPS downloads will be available during registration at Smyrna High School.

“We usually use chalk paint to mark the routes, which DelDOT allows,” said Mr. Haupt. “Recently we’ve switched over to biodegradable adhesive route arrows on the roads, they’re really bright and easy to see. If there are any last minute route changes — for instance if a tree falls down or something — the road markers will be updated right away, but not the sheets or GPS. So the road markers are the most reliable.”

White Clay Bicycle Club members started their annual Delaware DoubleCross bike ride in Middletown in 2014. The DoubleCross is what’s called a metric century ride — 1,000 kilometers or about 62 miles — and makes its way across the state twice. (Submitted photo)

Day-of registration will cost participants $30 — cash or checks only. The White Clay Bicycle Club holds four riding events yearly in the region to raise funds for its operation and to donate to cycling-related non-profits and their initiatives. Riders of all experience levels are welcome.

“We usually have half club members, half non-club members show up and completely inexperienced riders participate right alongside people who bike every day,” said Mr. Haupt. “The route makes a stopover back at Smyrna High School after the first 31 miles, so if a rider can’t make the full 62, it’s easy for them to stop halfway.”

He noted that the route will take a cyclist riding at a moderate pace, enjoying the rest stops briefly along the way about 5 hours total to complete the route. SAG (support and gear) vehicles will also be available to riders starting at 8 a.m.

“We’ll have people in cars standing by so if you get a flat and don’t have what you need to replace it, they can come out and help,” said Mr. Haupt. “They’ll also help if someone gets too hot, exhausted or falls and gets injured.”

The 32nd Annual Delaware DoubleCross bike ride starts at Smyrna High School this year. The route is laid out in a rough figure eight shape that will take riders through Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, Leipsic, Millington Wildlife Demonstration Area and the Blackiston Wildlife Area with rest stops along the way. Submitted (RideWithGPS.com)

Mr. Haupt noted that the bicycle club has been selecting a route that crosses Delaware twice for 32 years straight. The club has been active since 1973. Since he started as president in 2008, this is only the club’s second time starting in Smyrna.

“We did it last year in Smyrna and it went really well,” he said. “The club has always selected somewhere around the middle of the state though were it’s not as wide so it’s still possible to cross it twice in one day. We’ve started in Middletown several times. We had somewhere around 250 to 300 cyclists show up and we’re expecting pretty close to the same this year if the weather holds.”

As of Friday afternoon, forecasts indicated high 70s to mid-80s, thunderstorms and a 77 percent chance of precipitation.

“Some cyclists who’ve been coming to every single ride for years will probably come no matter what the weather is,” said Mr. Haupt.

For more information, visit whiteclaybicycleclub.org/events/doublecross/ or email doublecross@whiteclaybicycleclub.org.

Reach staff writer Ian Gronau at igronau@newszap.com

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment