Ride the foothills

Dancing Bear Bicycle Bash offers ride with a little speed

The Dancing Bear Bicycle Bash is more of a tour or ride than a race, just don’t tell the lead group.

“Its not a race. It is a ride, but the lead group always ends up racing it,” Dancing Bear managing partner Matt Alexander said with a laugh.

The sixth Dancing Bear Bicycle Bash drew 131 riders for tours of the area with cyclists covering anywhere from 30 to 60 miles, depending on how far the rider wanted to go.

The bash, which happens twice a year at Dancing Bear, also is a fundraiser for the Jeff Roth Cycling Foundation.

“It was fantastic,” Alexander said of the Sept. 5-7 event. “Each year they get better, and we keep saying how we’re going to get better and somehow we do.”

Alexander, also an avid bicyclist, said what he enjoyed about the Sept. 5 - 7 event was that several groups of riders formed.

“There seemed to be several groups of riders able to ride together. It makes it more enjoyable out on the road. It worked out nicely for the riders,” he said.

Alexander said something else he realized was that local riders need to register early if they want to participate. “It has become a popular regional event,” he said.

Alexander said he was very pleased with how the event has grown over the years since it started in 2006. “We’re very pleased with that. Our first ride brought 60, and we’ve more than doubled that. We’re pleased with the growth, and we’re continuing to do this twice a year,” he said. “We’re also helping the Jeff Roth Foundation, so that’s an added benefit.”

The Bike Bash includes a guided 35-mile ride in the Foothills of the Smokies; mountain biking opportunities; 30, 50 and 60 mile road ride options; bike games and demonstrations and additional riding choices.

Alexander also teamed up with Tim and Sharon Patterson, directors of one of the most popular tandem rallies in the country, to create a tandem opportunity. Event organizers say their goal is to continue to introduce cyclists of all skill levels to the extraordinary riding opportunities in this area and to pair that with a memorable vacation experience.

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