Sumter Cycling; promoting biking in county

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Imagine a bike path that connects Georgia Southwestern State University to downtown Americus, then to Muckalee Creek Park and on to the Sumter County Recreational Facilities. Imagine kids safely biking to school. Imagine Sumter County as a destination for cyclists across the country, because Americus has been named a Bicycle Friendly Community. Sumter Cycling invites you to envision biking the way that we do – safe, accessible, and fun for all.
Sumter Cycling seeks to promote each of these elements by planning bicycling events, promoting bicycle tourism, leading group bike rides, and educating the public. Led by a diverse Board of Directors, Sumter Cycling’s mission is accomplished by sub-teams that are charged with carrying out the organization’s mission. Those teams continuously work to lead monthly group bike rides in the community, engage local leaders in a plan to develop well marked and maintained streets and sidewalks for bicycles and pedestrians, educate the public on bicycle safety and organize large group rides that attract visitors from across the country.
Recently, Sumter Cycling worked with the National Parks Service in Sumter County and the River Valley Regional Commission to organize a 104-mile weekend bike ride that brought around 40 cyclists to the Sumter County area. The “Find Your Park Ride,” connected Florence Marina State Park to the Jimmy Carter National Historic Sites, Georgia Veterans State Park, the Andersonville National Historic Site via a bike route that was developed by Sumter Cycling Board member George Ellis.
In addition to the “Find Your Park Ride,” Sumter Cycling is organizing two other major cycling events within the next year. Its annual Tour de Farm ride will this year be held in Columbus in partnership with the local Columbus bicycling group and will tour organic farms in the Harris County area.   That ride will be held Oct. 30-Nov. 1. In the spring, Sumter Cycling will lead its annual “Prison to Peanuts” ride, a Saturday event that will connect bike riders to both Andersonville and Plains with routes of various distances that all begin in Americus. The “Prison to Peanuts” ride offers short distances of about 10 miles for new riders and longer distances, up to 100 miles, for more experienced riders.
Bike to Work day, held every May, is another event that Sumter Cycling and the RVRC team-up on to help inform the general public about the benefits and fun that go along with bicycle riding.
Anyone of any skill-level is invited to attend Sumter Cycling’s rides, and those interested are encouraged to follow Sumter Cycling’s Facebook Group Page to find out more information. Sumter Cycling also maintains an Instagram and Twitter feed, so look for the handle @sumtercycling to learn about old and new events organized by the organization.
Finally, the board encourages the general public to join them at their monthly meetings, held the first Tuesday of every month at 12 p.m. in the second floor conference center at the River Valley Regional Commission on 228 West Lamar St., or during its annual meeting held in the fall.  (Date and location for this year’s annual meeting is “to-be-determined”).
Going forward, Sumter Cycling’s education sub-team will be submitting monthly articles to the Americus Times-Recorder to help inform and engage local cyclists. Look for more bicycle-related information filling these pages in the coming months.
Please visit to view a version of this article that includes Sumter Cycling’s  schedule of upcoming  events.
For more information, visit our Facebook group page, or contact Mia Anderson at 706-256-2901.
– Submitted by Sumter Cycling