Cyclists from the Knoxville area will gather tomorrow for the sixth annual Neighborhood Bike Ride.
The ride, which takes an 11-mile tour through Mechanicsville, Lonsdale, Oakwood/Lincoln Park and Old North Knoxville, seeks to promote bicycling as a form of transportation, according to Tina Rosling, one of the event’s founders.
“(The) route...could actually be a commuter route...It raises people’s confidence (about commuting) to ride in a big group like that,” Rosling said.
She also said that the ride will show cyclists safe roads to ride on downtown.
Kelley Segars, Knoxville’s senior transportation planner, said the ride offers more than just knowledge of bike paths downtown.
“It offers a lot of different things. For people who already bike a lot...it’s an opportunity to come out and be with a group of fellow cyclists...For someone who doesn’t bike a lot...it’s a way to show them that it really is easy.”
Director of Public Service Bob Whetsel said that the ride is great exercise and that participating in an event like this provides a different perspective of Knoxville.
“If you enjoy cycling, (when) you get out on the roads with a couple hundred people, (it’s) a different experience than going by yourself,” he said. “You’ll (also) get to see different parts of town than you’ve probably never gotten to see before.”
This year’s ride, expected to draw as many as 300 people, will go along with the theme of the movie “North by Northwest.” Keeping with this theme, the exact details of the route will not be revealed until the day of the ride.
Rosling said riders have come with different types of bikes in the past, even bringing tricycles or bicycles built for two.
“Anybody who wants to get out and pedal can participate. We certainly don’t gear it to one type of person,” Rosling said.
Segars said cyclists are required to wear helmets for safety reasons. She also said it is recommended that bikes have at least seven gears to help cyclists ride the many hills along the route. Children attending the event should be street-safe. Non-participating children are welcome if they are in bike carriers.
The ride will be held Saturday morning at 9 in Market Square and is free to everyone. Participants must provide their own breakfast, but they will be given free pizza from Tomato Head at the conclusion of the ride.
Segars said participants are not required to sign up for this event, but are encouraged to do so by this afternoon on their Web site, http://www.knoxtrans.org.
The Neighborhood Bike Ride is sponsored by the Knoxville Regional Bicycle Program and the City of Knoxville.