More than 200 riders participate in annual Bricks and Spokes

Published 7:00 pm Saturday, September 29, 2018

It was a homecoming for Lauren Hall.

A professional cyclist, Hall, a Vicksburg native and St. Aloysius graduate, was in Vicksburg to participate in the ninth annual Bricks and Spokes Saturday, doing the 30-mile route with her 11-year-old nephew.

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They were among the estimated 250 riders who took off at 8 a.m. Saturday to ride either the 10-, 13-, 30-, 50- or 62-mile course with the 30-, 50- and 62-mile courses going through the Vicksburg National Military Park.

“We had 142 people preregister this year,” said Vicksburg Main Street director Kim Hopkins. “That’s more than we have ever had. Usually, we have about 80-88.”

Hall, who now lives in Colorado, said she started riding professionally for United Health Care nine years ago after getting the cycling bug. Saturday was her first experience with Bricks and Spokes. It was the same for professional cyclist Brad Huff of Missouri, who joined Hall for the ride. Huff was taking the 62-mile course.

Both said they had been able to ride through town and walked through the Military Park. Hall with her father, Tully Hall, and Huff with Parker Hall. Coming home, Hall said, has made her realize how special the Military Park is.

“It is a great place to walk or ride,” Huff said of the park, “There’s the historic sites and the traffic is slow, because everybody’s trying to take in the experience. It was amazing to see the people walking or cycling in the park.”

Bikes and riders of all styles

Riders assembled in the parking lot of BancorpSouth Bank and the city’s parking lot near the City Hall Annex under cloudy skies that soon separated to reveal the sun. The participants were a mix of serious riders decked out in cycling attire complete with special shoes, and the recreational cyclists in shorts and tennis shoes. The bicycles were a mix of trail bikes, racing and road bikes, including several recumbent bikes, where the riders sat back in an almost reclining position.

“I’ve had my bike for 17 years; it’s got about 3,000 miles on it. I like it,” said Larry Hendricks of Hazelhurst, who brought his recumbent bike for the ride. Saturday was his first Bricks and Spokes ride and he was doing the 10-mile course, “Although I’ll probably ride more than that.”

He said he came to Bricks and Spokes because he likes to take advantage of cycling events, adding he has also ridden in events in Greenwood and Clinton.

Jake Presley and his son, Grayson, 5, were here for the first time and taking 13-mile ride.

“The exciting part is going over the bridge,” Presley said. “That’s a great opportunity.”

Decked out in bright clothing, Lynn Rogers of Brandon and Lisa Thompson of Madison were also looking forward to the crossing the Mississippi River on the Old Highway 80 bridge. Both cyclists were Bricks and Spokes veterans.

“It’s cool,” Rogers said.

“It’s a photo opportunity,” Thompson said, “We stop on the bridge every time and take a picture.”

Thompson said she also liked the effort to combine the ride with National Bike Your Park Day, which encouraged cyclists to explore parks and public lands on bicycles.

“I think that will bring more people out,” she said.

John Collier of Brandon planned to add to his experience by filming his ride using a GoPro camera attached to the top of his helmet.

Saturday was Collier’s fourth Brick and Spokes. He said he also participates in Bluz Cruz in the spring.

He said the camera is part of a plan to make a film promoting Vicksburg and the bicycle ride.

“This is a historic city and this is a wonderful ride,” he said.

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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