'Wheels and Wings' Bike Ride Moved to May 25
By WestKyStar Staff
LACENTER, KY - The Ballard County "Wheels and Wings" bike ride originally scheduled for May 4 was moved to May 25 because of bad weather.
Previously known as "Ride for the Refuge", the event will offer four routes this year, including a 15-, 30-, 60- and 100-miler. All starts and finishes have been moved to Ballard County Preschool, 455 Olive Street in LaCenter. Registration will begin at 7 am for an 8 am start, and support vehicles will be available until 3 pm.
A new drawing prize of a Raleigh Route 3.0 bicycle for riders has been added, and there’s also an early registration prize of a bike chain bracelet.
Riders still will get a chance to win a stationary trainer, a three-month membership to Go Performance and Fitness, or gift certificates from Road ID at the county’s third annual bicycle tour.
Early registration has been extended to May 20, with discounted fees for all routes of $15 for individuals and $25 for families. New this year, children 12 and under may ride for free with a registered adult. All early registrants will be entered into a drawing for the bracelet, made by Bill Newby of astarbedazzledjewelry.com of Indianapolis.
After May 20 and on ride day, the regular fee of $20 for individuals and $35 for families will apply. A limited number of souvenir t-shirts will be available for purchase on ride day for $10 each.
Like the previous two events, the ride is sponsored by Ballard County’s COMPASS Coalition, the Purchase District Health Department and Ballard County Community Education. Other sponsors who have provided support or prizes for the race include the Ballard County Extension Homemakers, the 4-H Council, Bike World, Thomas Law Office and Buffalo Wild Wings.
The Ballard County Road Department helped committee members mark the routes, and the Ballard County Sheriff’s Office will assist with critical highway crossings on the morning of the ride. Since the routes make a circuit of most of Ballard County, residents in the county are asked to please keep dogs penned or leashed from 8 am to 3 pm that day. Routes will be marked with signs on May 24, and may be viewed now on the Ballard County Wheels and Wings Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Ballard-County-Wheels-and-Wings/204914856199877.
BCCE Director Julie Thomas said this marks the event’s first century (100-mile) ride.
Thomas said, “We’re very excited. In addition to the new routes, the committee has worked hard to bring some new things to the table this year.”
Any proceeds from this event will be used to hold additional fitness activities in Ballard County. Thomas said $500 from the first two rides has been donated to buy bicycle safety equipment for children who attend Kids’ Day at the Ballard County Fair on July 20.
She reminded potential participants that this is not a race, but a ride. “You don’t have to be a big-time cyclist to come out and join us,” she said.
The 15- and 30-mile routes are fairly flat. Both start out Hazelwood Road and go through Oscar; the 15 turns east on Turner Landing Road, then back into LaCenter on Bandana Road. The 30 follows the same beginning, but continues from Oscar to Monkey’s Eyebrow and Bandana, then back to LaCenter.
The 60- and 100-mile routes go south across U.S. 60 and west to Wickliffe, before turning north to Barlow, farther north to Monkey’s Eyebrow, then going on into McCracken County to the Heath area before returning to Bandana and LaCenter.
Each route will have rest areas with food, drink and toilets (one on the 15-mile route, approximately every 12-15 miles on the longer routes). Drivers in follow vehicles will rotate through the routes to assist in case of mechanical difficulties, offering emergency food or drink and to pick up any rider looking for a rescue.
Thomas said that even riders fairly new to the sport could complete the 15-mile route. “If you can ride a bike for 7 or 8 miles, you can stop, take a break, and do the other 7 or 8. There’s no rigid itinerary, so riders can choose the pace and route best suited to their abilities,” Thomas said.
Links to registration brochures and route maps can be found by searching Facebook for Ballard County Wheels and Wings, or going to the school’s website at www.ballard.kyschools.us, and looking for “Community Education” under the Departments tab.
From a safety standpoint, lines of sight on those roads are long, and traffic is light. There are wide expanses of almost-empty state roads bordered by green fields and pastures, small lakes, and some of the largest cypress tree stands in Western Kentucky.
For more information, visit the Facebook or school district webpage, or contact Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 270-983-0261.