Eighty riders from across the state gathered in Dawsonville early last Saturday to take a 60 mile ride through Dawson County.
The Dawson County Chamber of Commerce kicked off its inaugural ‘Shine Pedalers Metric bike ride. The Office of Tourism partnered with Northstar Bicycle to make the event happen.
"The guys at Northstar chose the route and we at the Office of Tourism Development planned the event and helped to market it," said Christie Haynes, chamber president. "Northstar mentioned that they would really like to see a ride in Dawson County that helped showcase our community and that would help bring awareness to the existence of the cycling community in north Georgia."
Cyclists participated in a 100 kilometer ride and a 50 kilometer ride, or about 62 and 31 miles, respectively.
County Commissioner Gary Pichon was among the 80 to turn out for the ride.
"This is a great time to do a ride," he said. "If you look at the holes in the bike riding schedules around the state, most of the rides are done in April, May and June and some in July. Then they pick up again in the fall around September or October."
Pichon has been riding for about 20 years and used to do about 10 rides a year, he said.
Other riders, such as Bently Howard, a native of White County, were there for the exercise.
"I went to the doctor for my annual physical and he said I needed to get active. I had a bicycle at the house, so I got it out and tried to start riding," he said. "This is my fourth full riding season. Now I sit around and look for bike rides. That's where I saw the advertisements for this."
The cyclists in both rides started from and finished at the Dawsonville Municipal Complex. Each route took riders through scenic Dawson County areas, such as the 50k going through Amicalola Falls State Park and the 100k going up Burnt Mountain.
"We asked for feedback from the cyclists and they all seemed to really enjoy the routes since we took them on a majority of low traffic roads that are well-paved," Haynes said. "The routes were also particularly difficult in comparison to some other metrics so many riders appreciated the challenge and enjoyed the beautiful scenery that was abundant throughout the ride."
Pichon said that while the ride was rough, he did enjoy it, with the ending being one of his favorite parts.
"It was a killer. It was the first time I've ridden in three or four years," he said. "I was glad to finish."
Haynes said that she was pleased about the turn out for the ride despite the chance of rain.
"We are extremely excited about how the ‘Shine Pedalers Metric went for the first year," she said. "We look forward to hosting it again next year and hope this will become an annual event that helps bring dedicated cyclists from across the southeast to Dawsonville."