A word from Sumter Cycling: three rides to be offered at Plains Peanut Festival

Published 2:59 pm Wednesday, September 20, 2017

For the first time, the Plains Peanut Festival is scheduled to include bicycle rides that showcase the beauty and history of the Sumter County area. Sumter Cycling, along with the River Valley Regional Commission, the Sam Shortline Excursion Train, and the National Park Service are hosting this event.
Three diffrerent rides will be available for cyclists of all skill levels.
As a special bonus, participants riding from Georgia Veterans State Park or from Americus will get to ride the vintage SAM Short line train back to their vehicles.
Riders will just bring their bikes on board when the train departs Plains around 2:00 p.m. (Note that the regular price the terrific train ride is $36, so this is quite a deal.)
All levels of cyclists are welcomed and encouraged to join us. You may have been out of your exercise routine during the recent storm, so now is a great opportunity to get back on track and enjoy some fun and fellowship with other riders.
The Big One is a 45-mile bike ride starting at Georgia Veterans State Park (Lake Blackshear), then traversing the beautiful Georgia countryside through Americus and on to historic Plains.
The roads will be marked, a support vehicle will be provided, and there will be a rest stop in Americus at the future home of the new Americus Train Depot.
Participants will arrive in Plains by 11:00 to hear President Carter’s speech that kicks off the parade down main street. Riders will also receive a ticket for the famous peanut butter ice cream.
Following the parade, riders can spend time at the festival and then take the SAM Short line train all the way back to their vehicles at GA Veterans State Park.
All activities are included in the price of registration.
Check in is between 7:00-7:30 on the morning of the event. The ride begins at 7:30 at GA Veterans State Park Depot (2459 US Highway 280 W, Cordele, Ga. The registration fee is $39.
A shorter ride is also available for interested cyclists.
The Americus-Plains Special is a 14-mile course which begins at the future home of the Americus Train Depot. The roads will be marked and a support vehicle will be provided for emergencies.
Riders will make the journey from Americus to Plains and will have the opportunity to enjoy the same festivities in Plains before taking the SAM Shortline back to their vehicles in Americus.
Check in time for the Americus-Plains special is between 8:30-9:00 on the morning of the event. The ride begins at 9:00 a.m. at the intersection of Jackson and Finn Streets in Americus (Future home of Americus Train Depot)
Registration for the Americus-Plains Special is $29.
Cyclists who would like to explore Plains on the day of the festival are invited to participate in the Plains Historic Loop.
What better way to celebrate the festival than by biking between the historic Jimmy Carter National sites?  Enjoy this 15-mile loop through the beautiful fields as you travel between the historic high school and the boyhood farm.
This ride is perfect for the double-daring who would like to do the 5K run in the morning and then ride 15 miles at 9:15. Keep up a quick pace and you can still be back to Plains for the 10:00 5K award ceremony or take a leisurely ride and still arrive in time for the 11:00 parade. Participants will receive a ticket for free peanut butter ice cream. (Note: SAM Short line train ride is not included with this ride option.)
Check in time for the Plains Historic Loop is between 8:30-9:15 on the morning of the event.
The ride begins at 9:15 a.am. at the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site (high school), 300 N Bond St. Plains, Ga.
Register for all biking options at www.sumtercycling.org.
For the full schedule of events for the Peanut Festival, visit the website at http://plainsgeorgia.com/events/#festival.

Sumter Cycling is a local cycling advocacy group that promotes active lifestyles in the Americus and Sumter County area.