Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sosebee Cycling Park

Last Saturday I went riding one of my favorite routes, the Beautiful Backroads Century (or BBC). I've been on this route many times before. The scenery is wonderful and there are very few cars. The route is used for the annual ride of the same name: a ride that I was able to participate in last year but was unable to do this year.

For this ride, however, rather than begin at the traditional Anheuser-Busch brewery starting point, I decided to check out a new feature in the area called the Sosebee Cycling Park. What is a cycling park? It is a place specifically designed to be the starting point of a bicycle ride. There is room for parking, there are facilities, water, a picnic area, and lots of shade. The park is also conveniently placed right along the BBC route and provides easy access to all the wonderful roads in the area. The park isn't as close to the freeway as the brewery, but it is still easy to reach. It is located at 465 Simpson Road in White, GA, at the corner of Simpson and Cassville Pine Logging Roads.

My original plan was to join a group of other riders who were leaving the park at 9. But family obligations made that impossible. I pulled in to the parking lot around 9:40 and saw that there was already a good turnout. Word spreads fast and this park is quite popular. I was the only one arriving so late, but was able to get myself and my cycle ready fairly quickly. I brought both sets of riding gloves, anticipating that I would have to start with the winter gloves and switch mid-ride. But by the time I was ready to start, the weather was warm enough that I just pocketed the thicker gloves. The starting ramp was a short walk from my car, and soon I was pedaling down the road in the crisp morning air.

It was great to be riding, and the weather was perfect. Beautiful scenery, empty roads, sunshine, and lots of wind on my face. Wait a minute. Wind? Who ordered up all this wind. This wasn't part of the plan. As the first big gusts hit my face I exclaimed:
"This is just like RAGBRAI, and not in a good way!"
Not too far in to the ride I caught a glimpse of riders ahead, so I hurried to catch up. It was a group of 4 riders who had started at the brewery and were doing the same route. Since we were all going the same way I tagged along for the company. At one of the stops we talked a bit and I discovered that at least one of them is a fan of this blog! So a big hello and thank you to Tom, Ron, Bill, and David. I sure hope I got your names right.

I stuck with Ron for the rest of the trip. He and I seem to have about the same pace. I like to think of it as "stately". It's the kind of pace where you can enjoy the scenery and take the opportunity to spend more time on the bike. Yes we were a bit behind the rest of the group, but that just means we had more fun.

The name "beautiful" is no exaggeration. The route is surrounded by open fields with ponds and great vistas. Trees provide shade along many of the roads. Riders pass by quiet neighborhoods and quaint churches, farms and farm animals, small towns and roadside stands. I really love the BBC route.

After 41 miles we returned to Sosebee Park. Ron stopped with me to get some water. He still had a few miles to go, but I was done. What a wonderful park. Thank you to the folks that made it happen, and I left you a little something in the donation box!

No comments: