200 cyclists roll on for Bricks and Spokes ride through Vicksburg

Published 12:33 pm Saturday, October 1, 2022

Former Vicksburg residents Bill and Debbie Mendrop stood under a tree across the street from Washington Street Park Saturday and watched the rising sunlight from the front of the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad as they stood near their tandem bicycle and waited for the start of the 12th annual Bricks and Spokes ride.

“We grew up here, but now we live in Sugarland, Texas,” Bill said.

“We drove all the way here to ride,” Debbie said.

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Bill said he has ridden in Bricks and Spokes before, but this was the first time the couple made the ride in tandem and they were taking the 50-mile route.

“We’ve ridden bicycles together, but she had problems keeping up so we decided to try riding tandem,” Bill said. “We’ve been riding tandem since 2003; we’ve taken trips through Italy, Eastern Europe, all over the U.S.”

Across Washington Street, the Mendrops’ friends John and Jane Scott of Collierville, Tenn., were talking with another cyclist. Like the Mendrops, John grew up in Vicksburg. Saturday’s ride was the second time the Scotts rode a tandem bike.

“We’re going 50 miles, but we may cut some of it off because of the hills,” John said. “We had a personal best in Greenwood.”

The Mendrops and the Scotts were among an estimated 200 cyclists participating in the annual ride, which took cyclists on routes from10 to 62 miles, including two gravel routes — one of 30 miles and another of 45.

“Things have gone really good, especially with all the activities going on,” Vicksburg Main Street Program Executive Director Kim Hopkins said. “The cyclists have been having a great time riding on a beautiful day. This was a perfect day for cycling. Everyone’s had a good time.”

The sun was rising and the 48-degree temperature put a slight chill in the air as cyclists began checking in with ride officials and unloading their bicycles from their cars and pickups.

Hector Rodrigo and Marsha Shaw, both of Brandon, were each getting ready to make their third trip across the Old Highway 80 Bridge, which is part of all the Bricks and Spokes rides. Alyssa Silverman, a Bricks and Spokes veteran from Jackson, was planning to take the 45-mile gravel route — “I hope.”

Another Bricks and Spokes veteran, David Hartman of Brandon, a Penn State alumnus who has lived in the Jackson area for 37 years, was taking the 62-mile route.

Vicksburg resident Morgan Gates, a Bricks and Spokes rookie, was getting a good luck kiss from his wife Gwen.

“I’m going 10 miles,” he said. “This is my first time; I’ve only been riding since February so I’m going to keep it on the low side. Next year I might go longer.”

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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