Riders chart course

Published 12:30 am Sunday, October 3, 2010

Vicksburg’s rolling hills and winding roads proved to be a challenge for riders in the first Bricks and Spokes cycling event, which joined annual fall festivities downtown Saturday.

The ride, which featured 10-, 30- and 50-mile courses that began in downtown Vicksburg and wound through the city and county, left riders from age 3 to mid-60s wanting more.

“We’ll be back next year,” said cyclist James Moore of Ridgeland, “I guarantee it.”

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Moore, who rides his bike a few times a week, took the 10-mile route with his wife, Janelle, and their two daughters, Sierra, 6, and Serenity, 3, in tow.

“We always do something like this as a family,” he said. “The hills weren’t my favorite. It wasn’t easy, but it was a good course.”

Asked if she enjoyed the ride, Sierra, said, “It was a 100 (percent) fun.”

Sunny skies and mild temperatures provided the perfect fall backdrop for the inaugural event that drew 82 cyclists.

“Everybody enjoyed it, and it was successful,” said Kim Hopkins, executive director of Vicksburg Main Street, which organized Bricks and Spokes. “A lot of cyclists from Vicksburg have said they were waiting for a bike ride to come here.”

Two of those are 63-year-old Mary Ellen Flowers and her riding partner, Patsy Humble, 56.

“We did a bike and spinning class to prepare for this,” Flowers said. “Patsy and I ride together, and it helps to have a partner.”

Two Salt Lake City men who happened to be in Mississippi for a wedding this weekend decided to sign up for the ride.

“We rode our bikes from Clinton to Vicksburg,” said 32-year-old Jake Stevens who peddled the 30-mile route with his father, Gary Stevens, and cousin-in-law Jason Jones of Clinton. “We had to borrow a bike and a helmet for my dad.”

The trio finished the course in about two hours.

“I didn’t have any of my riding clothes,” Gary Stevens said. “The first half of the ride was OK, but the second half was pretty fun because it was a challenge.

Ashton and Renee Page of New Orleans tackled the 50-mile route on a bicycle built for two.

“Tandem is famous for getting your relationship where it’s going real quick,” said Ashton Page, 54. “So whether it’s going up or down, it’s going real quick. You have to have a lot of communication and cooperation to make it on a tandem.”

Renee, 53, said the couple has been riding in tandem for the last seven years

The 50-mile route led cyclists along North Washington Street to U.S. 61 North, then to Redwood, Oak Ridge, Tucker and Freetown roads before finishing where they started, downtown. The 30-mile ride followed the same route, eliminating Tucker Road and half of Freetown. The 10-mile route wound along North Washington to U.S. 61 North, where riders turned around and headed back to the starting point.

Tanner Germany, 9, of Ridgeland, who rode with his father, Donald, on the 10-mile route, said the area around Margaret’s Grocery on North Washington was his favorite: “I just liked how open it was.”

“We rode side-by-side the entire time,” his father said.

Plans are already in the works for a second Bricks and Spokes, Hopkins said: “We learned so much this year that we’ll be ready for next year.”