BUSY WEEKEND: More than 200 cyclists join in Bricks, Spokes

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 4, 2015

Cyclists ride alongside a train on the Old U.S. 80 bridge Saturday morning during the sixth annual Bricks and Spokes bicycle ride.

Cyclists ride alongside a train on the Old U.S. 80 bridge Saturday morning during the sixth annual Bricks and Spokes bicycle ride.

Decked out in the purple and gold of LSU, John Myers of Monroe, Louisiana, made the final preparations to his bicycle before joining the crowd of riders for Vicksburg Main Street’s sixth Bricks and Spokes bicycle ride.

“I saw an ad and decided it would be something fun to do,” he said.

Myers was one of the 209 cyclists who ignored the overcast skies, cool 61-degree temperature and stiff northerly breeze to travel one of four routes ranging from 10, 30, 50 and 62 miles, taking them across the Mississippi River on Old U.S. 80 bridge and through Vicksburg and Warren County.

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Water and aid stations were placed along the routes, and motorcycle riders patrolled the routes to offer emergency assistance. A meal of red beans and rice or sausage dogs greeted the cyclists as they returned.

“I’m planning to take the 62-mile route,” Myers, who has been cycling for 10 years, said. “We’ll see what happens.”

Myers was riding a 10-speed racing bike, one of a variation of several forms of two-wheel transportation that included terrain and trail bikes and recumbent bikes, where the rider lies almost parallel to the ground and reach out with their legs to propel themselves.

And he wasn’t the only rider sporting school colors.

Wayne and Amy Bowling from Kosciusko were decked in shirts displaying a huge, bright-orange “T” for the University of Tennessee. Together, the couple will have ridden a total of 3,000 miles on bicycles this year, Wayne Bowling, who was making his third ride here, said.

“We’re originally from Middle Tennessee,” he said. “I like riding here because the terrain reminds me of the gentle rolling hills of Tennessee. It’s a very scenic ride.”

Amy Bowling was making her first Bricks and Spokes.

“I’m looking forward to doing it,” she said, adding the couple were taking the 62-mile ride. “We’re going to go through it together.”

For Clinton residents and first-timers Johnny Donaldson and his wife Stacey, 10 miles was the max.

“I just started riding in July,” Johnny said. “I saw something about this and I thought it would be interesting to do the 10-mile together.”

“I had a bike and rode it occasionally,” Stacey said. “When he found out I wanted to ride, he bought me a new bike. I’m OK with doing this.”

Another couple making the 62-mile trip were Frank Jarman and Becky Adams, both of Madison, came wearing cycling gear with antennae sprouting form the tops of their helmets, and braided multicolored rope dangling from their helmets’ rear.

“We figured if we were going to ride, we were going to be noticed,” said Jarman, who was wearing a shirt displaying a flying pig. We had some zip ties, and we figured why waste a few zip ties. That explains the antennae.”

“We’re Team Ergon,” Adams said, explaining the couple ride with a cycling team from Ergon Refinery. “We’re going to ride in the Mississippi 150 (bike race) next week, and we’re getting in shape.

“I’m a cyclist and a triathlete, so this fun,” she said. “We spent the night here and gave some of your money back.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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