Three Delaware cycling events set to roll this weekend

Some of the 2,000 cyclists set out from Legislative Mall during last year's Amish Country Bike Tour. (Delaware State News file photo)

Some of the 2,000 cyclists set out from Legislative Mall in Dover during last year’s Amish Country Bike Tour. (Delaware State News file photo)

DOVER — Dover residents should be prepared to see thousands of folks clad in brightly colored jerseys, cycling shorts and helmets doing their best to promote pedal power this weekend.

It might not be the Tour de Dover, but the area will play host to a trio of cycling events, each with its own unique twist.

On Saturday, Kent County Tourism will be holding its 30th annual Amish Country Bike Tour, while Bike MS will be raising money for multiple sclerosis with its two-day Bike to the Bay 2016 event and Special Olympics Delaware will host its annual regional Cycling Classic at the Air Mobility Command Museum at Dover Air Force Base.

“We’re going to be pretty busy,” said Dave Moses, owner of Dave’s Road Bikes Inc. on Forrest Avenue in Dover. “A lot of our cyclists are doing the Amish Tour and the MS ride — all three of the events, really.”

All of the events will touch different areas of Dover and points south and west at different times Saturday.

However, there are a couple of possible trouble spots.

The Amish Country Bike Tour and the Bike to the Bay will have a couple of overlapping intersections in Wyoming, according to John Doerfler from Kent County Tourism, who is the event manager for the Amish bike tour.

“This is an odd year since our event happens the same weekend as Bike to the Bay,” he said. “That’s not normally the case. We’ve been working with them and DelDOT to make sure there is no confusion or issue with the cyclists at those shared intersections. I don’t anticipate any real problems.”

Motorists should be prepared to share the road for Dover’s colossal day of cycling, which could attract nearly 4,000 riders combined.

A bike tour with tasty treats

This year’s Amish Country Bike Tour is hoping to attract more than 2,000 cyclists to participate in a relaxing ride through the farmland around Dover.

Last year’s event had more than 2,000 participants from 19 states and England.

Mr. Doerfler said the flat roads in and around Dover, as well as many bike lanes alongside roads, make it a perfect place for a bike ride.

“I think it’s a great family-friendly event that appeals to all types of skill levels,” Mr. Doerfler said. “We will have five-course choices [loops] to choose from, ranging from 15 miles to what we call our ‘Century Ride,’ which is 100 miles.”

In all, the Amish Country Bike Tour offers rides of 15, 25, 50, 62 and 100 miles, each of which starts and finishes at Legislative Mall in Dover. A mass start is scheduled for 8 a.m. but riders are welcome to ride the loops anytime from 7 until 10 a.m.

The day-of registration cost is $60 for adults and $30 for ages 5 through 16.

The lure of tasty treats adds to the event’s attraction.

Kent County Tourism has added some new features this year for riders to experience on Legislative Mall. Fifer Orchards’ donut truck will be on hand and Byler’s will have homemade pies available for purchase.

Cyclists can enjoy snacks and beverages along the way, including the famous “Pie Stop” at the Amish Schoolhouse, which features locally made baked goods. The bikers can also enjoy a barbecue meal from Where Pigs Fly afterward, which is included with the registration.

In addition, Sherry T. Wilkins Hypnotherapy LLC will be available to assist riders with massages before or after the ride.

“This is really a unique tour because you’re cycling with your neighbor,” said Mr. Doerfler. “It’s a community fun event.”

For more information, visit AmishCountryBikeTour.com.

Bike to the Bay fundraiser

The Bike MS: Bike to the Bay will hit the road on Saturday and Sunday and hopes to raise $1 million in the fight against multiple sclerosis. Participants had already raised $300,578.97 late last week for the ride.

Cyclists must be at least 12 years old and raise at least $300 for MS and pay a $75 registration fee in order to participate. More than 1,500 cyclists are expected for this year’s Bike to the Bay.

It markets itself as “more than a ride … an experience grounded in camaraderie and marked by passion, inspiration, determination and pure enjoyment.”

Like the Amish Tour, Bike to the Bay will offer different route options for all cycling abilities from 20 to 175 miles and winds through flat farmlands and rural towns in Kent and Sussex counties.

The 75- and 100-mile routes to the bay will start at Delaware Technical and Community College’s Terry Campus in Dover Saturday between 7:15 and 8 a.m. The 50-mile route will start at Lake Forest High School in Felton at 11 a.m.

The bike rides offer catered rest stops to participants every 12 miles, which is why cyclists often refer to the event as the “Buffet to the Bay.”

The finish line for each of the Bike to the Bay routes will be at the Delaware Seashore State Park South Inlet Lot at the Indian River Inlet in Rehoboth Beach.

The Bike to the Bay website says “At the end of the ride, you’ll roll past beautiful beaches, finishing on the bay to cheers and a band that will keep the party going. Much more than the ride of a lifetime, with each pedal stroke you’ll be helping us reach our goal – a world free of MS.”

For more information, visit bikepae.nationalmssociety.org.

Special Olympics Classic

The annual Special Olympics Delaware Cycling Classic rounds out next Saturday’s full slate of bicycling when more than 70 athletes from Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia will compete at the Dover Air Force Base Air Mobility Command Center.

The regional Cycling Classic will take place from 8:30 until 11:30 a.m. More than 150 military personnel are scheduled to volunteer when the event kicks off with its Opening Ceremony at 8:30 a.m.

Cyclists will compete in races of varying distances from 500 meters, 1 kilometer, 5k, 10k, 15k and 20k. The Cycling Classic culminates with an awards ceremony.

Dover Air Force Base began hosting the cycling event in 2009. It was held at the Lums Pond State Park campground prior to that.

“Cycling is a wonderful sport for our athletes because it’s a lifetime wellness activity they can do with family and friends even when they aren’t competing,” said Mark Wise, Special Olympics Delaware’s director of sports training.

“The support from Dover Air Base the past several years in terms of access to their facility for a great course to ride and the number of volunteers who come out is just amazing.”

For more information, visitsode.org/sports-competitions/cycling-classic.

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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