A few years ago the only cycling I did was the occasional trip down one of the bicycle paths along the Red River in Shreveport-Bossier City.
Until something caught my eye about the Heart of Hope LifeCycle in the countryside around Keithville. Perhaps it was the tug of helping a faith-based maternity home while riding my bike or perhaps it was the challenge of riding 26 miles.
For whatever reason, I forced myself out of my comfort zone and onto that 26-mile ride, one of the milder rides in the tour.
I finished. Surprisingly I was not pooped but invigorated.
So if you have ever considered one of those bicycle tours, but have been afraid to try, there are two good opportunities coming up in Bossier Parish in October. Notice, they are called tours, not races!
– Oct. 7 Seize the Road benefiting the Epilepsy Foundation of Louisiana. The tour starts at the Bossier Parish Courthouse in Benton and goes north along several roads, including Old Plain Dealing Road. You’ll ride along rolling hills, horse farms, rural churches, the town of Plain Dealing (some routes).
A few pictures from last year’s Seize the Road
- Oct 21 Miracle Tour (formerly Run With the Nuns) benefitting Children’s Miracle Network and Christus Health Shreveport-Bossier. This ride starts in Haughton and follows rural roads of Bossier and Webster parishes, scenic areas near Lake Bistineau.
A couple of things you might see on the Miracle Tour
Before I did my first ride, I drove the route first in my car so I could become a bit familiar with the terrain, especially any hills. I’ve signed up for these events alone and with a group. (I highly recommend a buddy, although both times I’ve started solo, I’ve found someone to ride with along the way).
As for the Heart of Hope, mark your calendar for the first Saturday in June. For even more tours covering a bigger geographic area and time frame, wheelbrothers.com is a great resource for Texas (and beyond) rides. Another October ride nearby: The Tour de Fire Ant Oct. 14 in Marshall.
The nice thing about these rides is that you can ride on some rural highways with a bit more security. Law enforcement is usually monitoring the ride and controls traffic at those first busy intersections. Routes are well-marked, and there are refreshments to pick you up so you can continue the ride. SAG wagons are available to literally pick you up if you can’t finish (which happened to me a few years ago when I was unprepared for the Tour de Fire Ant).
Next month, the air likely will be crisp — ideal cycling weather. And there’s something for everyone – milder routes of 12 and 26 miles for Seize the Road and 27 for Miracle Tour. Miracle Tour even has a five-mile Family Fun Ride. And, you can opt for a longer rides ranging from 41 to 70 miles.
In either case, there’s a post-ride celebration, which means plenty of good food. With all of that exercise you’ll have a good excuse to plop down in front of the TV for an afternoon of college football.
Here are links for each event. You can also access the routes to find the one best for you.