The Ballard County Wheels and Wings bike ride will be held May 23. In an effort to get more beginners and families interested in bicycling, organizers have planned a free 5-mile family ride this year, in addition to the longer paid routes. If riders want a shirt, or the early registration discount on paid rides, that deadline is May 8.
Sponsors this year are the Purchase District Health Department, Ballard Telephone, Coffee Memorial Animal Clinic, First Community Bank, Powell’s Service and Muffler Center, John Roland’s Shelter Insurance Agency, and Thomas Law Office. “Our thanks to all of our sponsors, who see this kind of activity as a growing benefit to the community we share,” said Ballard County Community Education Director Julie Thomas.
The “Wheels and Wings” name is a nod to the county’s waterfowl and wildlife heritage. A duck’s head is incorporated in the logo, and organizers are making barbecued wings a signature item for the post-ride fuel-up.
Like last year, the committee will offer a $150 cash prize to the group that hosts the best rest stop, including decorations, entertainment and extra food items. “At other rides, you’ll see different groups at different stops. It boosts their awareness, and really helps support the event. We wanted to offer the prize so non-profit groups could use it for their projects, too,” Thomas said.
“Because of cyclists’ nutritional needs, especially on the longer rides, the committee will help these groups get ready. To qualify for the prize competition, they’ll need to send at least one person the day before the race to help us prepare the snacks we’ll all serve,” Thomas said. The committee will provide all necessary food (sandwich makings, fruit, hydration); rest stop volunteers will come to Ballard Memorial High School to help with prep after lunch on Friday, May 22, and then will be able to take the food back with them to serve the next day.
Several community groups already have signed up to staff some of the rest stop, but slots are open. People from the Ballard Extension Homemakers, the Boy Scouts, and the Ballard Bottoms Tourism Council will be there. If your non-profit group is interested in staffing a rest stop, please contact Thomas at 270-665-8400. Stops are located at Lovelaceville United Methodist Church, Providence Baptist Church, the Wickliffe city park and Barlow First Baptist Church.
The ride’s purpose has been to offer additional fitness/recreation opportunities to county residents. The committee was able to make its first donation back to the community this past summer. Almost $500 was used to purchase bicycling safety equipment for all the youngsters who attended the bike events at Kids’ Day at the Ballard County Fair. Children were given helmets if they did not have one, or their choice of lights or other items if they already had a helmet.
For prospective riders:
The 5-mile family route is free, and will go out of the preschool, down Hazelwood Road and back. Families or beginners simply need to show up on ride day and fill out a registration form.
The other routes cover nearly all of the Ballard County, including areas from LaCenter to Wickliffe to Oscar to Monkey’s Eyebrow. Cost for this year’s ride is the same as last: $15 for early registration (through May 8), or $20 on the day of the ride. New tech-fabric shirts also are offered for $20 and will be available for presale only (a very small number will be on hand the day of the ride). Children 12 and under may ride free with a registered adult, and there are discounts for families.
For more information, or to volunteer, search Facebook for Ballard County Wheels and Wings, or visit the school district’s webpage at www.ballard.kyschools.us, and look for “Community Education” under the “Departments” tab, or contact Thomas at Thomas at 665-8400, ext. 2011, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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