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Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013 03:28 pm

A magical ride

Bike Club’s 41st ‘Century’ Sept. 8 includes something for everybody

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Derek Ewing leads riders out for the 2011 Capital City Century.
PHOTO BY NAOMI GREENE

It happens every year on one of the first crisp days that hint of autumn: bicycle riders from near and far converge on Springfield only to disburse into the corn-filled countryside pedaling and eating their way around a 100-mile course or, in most cases, a smaller portion of the course. On Sunday, Sept. 8, the Springfield Bicycle Club will again present the Capital City Century, one of central Illinois’ longest running cycling events, annually attracting around 800 riders. There will be cyclists of every stripe: lycra-clad road warriors, denim-bottomed casual bikers, moms and dads pulling their offspring in bicycle trailers. The SBC has hosted this all-day pedaling party for the last 40-odd years as its main fundraiser for the club’s efforts to help Springfield become a more bicycle friendly community.

For this year’s ride there is a change of venue from the now closed Lake Springfield Beach House to the Knights of Columbus Council 364 at 2200 S. Meadowbrook Road (at West Iles Avenue). Also new this year is the option of a 10-mile Family Ride that promises to be something special.

The CCC is an event for everyone with a bike. Mapped cycling routes of various lengths up to 100 miles give riders the choice of an easy hour or two in the saddle or a five- or six-hour athletic challenge. The terrain is flat to gently rolling, with rest stops every 20 miles or so that provide water, food and restroom facilities. SAG (Support Aid Group) wagons patrol the routes to help riders with mechanical problems or give a lift back to the start to those who are “sagging” from taking on too many miles.

After the ride, the “Post Pedal’n” Party features live music, a fish-fry, brats, side dishes, dessert and drinks. All of this, from the homemade cookies to the cleanup, is accomplished by a small army of volunteers from the Springfield Bicycle Club, the Sangamon Valley Radio Club, staff from area bike shops and local service organizations.

Magician and cyclist Jim Percy provides entertainment for the new 10-mile Family Ride.
PHOTO COURTESY SPRINGFIELD BICYCLE CLUB
This year’s CCC adds a 10-mile Family Ride to its route map, led by magician and avid cyclist Jim Percy. This easy ride on the nearby Sangamon Valley Trail starts at 10 a.m. at the K of C, with a short one-mile bicycle jaunt to the trailhead. Jim is well-known in the Springfield community as an entertainer for children’s parties, but he has also performed for Hope Institute, Springfield Park District, area schools and other organizations. He and his family will be presenting a Magic Percy party, with magic tricks, balloon shaping, Face Painting with Kyra and other fun activities for the kids after the ride.

As if all the Sunday activities aren’t enough, a Historic Sites Bicycle Tour is planned for Saturday, Sept. 7. Visitors from out of town will especially appreciate the chance to see several Lincoln-related and Springfield historic sites. Last year the Theesfeld family from upstate Illinois came to Springfield to ride the CCC. Father Mark Theesfeld commented, “This was the first organized biking event that my family has ever attended … the fact that my wife and kids could ride Saturday and I could ride with my son on Sunday was very nice.” This easy neighborhood-style ride starts at the Capitol Complex Visitors Center, 425 S. College, just west of the State Capitol.

For more information or to register for the Capital City Century at a discount, visit www.spfldcycling.org/ccc. Registration is also available the day of the event at the non-discounted price.

Cyd LaBonte is co-owner of Bicycle Doctor, along with her husband, Robert LaBonte. She can be reached at 670-0761 or go to www.springfieldbicycledoctor.com

Also from Cyd LaBonte

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