A new start, scenic course, and finish festival highlight the 12th annual ride, set to take off from the Historic Hanover County Courthouse on September 15th.
By: Nan Turner
This month bike lovers have a chance to celebrate the early days of fall by participating in a ride with a historical twist. On September 15th the Hanover Habitat for Humanity, along with the Richmond Area Bicycle Association (RABA), will present the 12th annual Heart of Virginia Bike Festival.
The Festival features Century (101 miles), Metric Century (62 miles), Short (31 miles) and Family Rides (10 miles). Although the ride has previously taken place at the YMCA, the location has been switched to the Historic Hanover County Courthouse.
And the backdrop isn’t the only thing changing. According to Century Director Matthew Bizzarri, participants and attendees alike are in for quite the revamp.
“It’s an entirely new route. It’s more scenic and it has expanded,” Bizzarri said. “Parking is in one location, before we’ve had several, and there is a group start. The most exciting thing is we’ll have the Yorktown Fife and Drum Corps to play the National Anthem.”
Bizzarri said this year’s event will look more like a festival with live music, entertainment, a country barbeque lunch, and fun for individuals of all ages.
While previously shorter courses had been offered, this is the first year a family course is being added.
“At this point we’re trying to see what people do and don’t want, and it’s somewhat of a challenge,” Bizzarri said. “We’d love to get feedback after this event.”
The event isn’t just attracting attention locally; currently there are around 200 registered participants from out of town, with 14 of those coming from out of state.
“For families it’s a great opportunity for parents to get out there and do something fun with their kids and lead by example,” Bizzarri said. “For young riders and teen riders it gives them a chance to meet up with some more experienced riders that could maybe give them some pointers. It’s also a challenge for some of our experienced riders; you can get together with friends you’ve ridden with in the past.”
In addition to being a great way to spend a Saturday, the Bike Festival is also bringing light to more than one worthy organization.
“It brings a community eye to Hanover Habitat for Humanity because they need help financially, so this is a good way for them to market themselves,” Bizzarri said. “RABA is trying to become part of the bigger picture in the Richmond area. It’s a great way to work with both groups and help people have a great ride, and maybe we’ll even get some people signed up for the club, or see some new faces at the next build.”
For more information on the event and to register, visit the 2012 Heart of Virginia Bike Festival online at http://www.heartofvabikefestival.org/index.htm.