Monday afternoon, twenty cyclists rode over from Helen, Georgia, to lunch at Your Pie in Clarkesville. Their trip to Clarkesville was actually much longer than the day’s ride from Helen.
The group, members of Parkridge Cycling, a cycling club located outside Chicago, had traveled to Helen by vehicle, bringing their bicycles and spare parts with them. Some of them came from the Chicago area; some were from Minneapolis, Albuquerque and Pittsburg. One was even from Alpharetta, Georgia. They will ride the area throughout the rest of this week, covering as many as 70 miles each day and challenging rides along routes that will take them to Hog Pen Gap on the Richard Russell Scenic Highway and around Lake Burton to Clayton.
The annual spring trip began in 2005 when Mike Koepke, a cyclist from the Chicago area, invited his friend Joe DeYoung, another cyclist from Minneapolis, to make the trip with him to Helen to see the Tour de Georgia, a professional cycling event. Koepke shared, “We were impressed with the area, the good roads, and the mountain climbs.”
For the past sixteen years, they’ve returned, bringing with them 18-20 riders who use the week as a spring cycling and training event. DeYoung says the group keeps coming back because the people in the area are so gracious to them and the rides are challenging and fun.
You may see them on local highways in the area this week. They cycle in three groups, based on the speed and fitness of the riders. Be on the lookout and share the road.
If you’re interested in their cycling trips, check out their website.