ROSWELL, Ga. — Bike owners and cyclists in and around Roswell won’t have to wait much longer for the Roswell Cycling Festival, which will soon hit the streets April 22-30.
The annual event, now in its 16th year, boasts cycling rides and races all nine days for all levels of cyclist. The event kicks off from 8:30-11 a.m., April 22 with a 15-mile recreational bicycle ride from Roswell Area Park.
Unique this year is the Bike and Beverage Tour on Friday, April 28, which will include four miles of cycling and hit four bars along the way.
This springtime tradition will culminate with one of its signature events, the Mayor’s Ride, on the last day of festivities. Mayor Jere Wood will lead the cyclists to start along a 43-mile route. To accommodate different abilities and schedules, the ride offers 6, 20, and 64-mile routes.
After the ride, cyclists will have a chance to enjoy a snack or lunch at a discounted price.
“What we’ve done this year after getting some feedback from local businesses, is that rather than have a luncheon for cyclists like in previous years, the restaurants will be giving a discount program,” said Gary Long, organizer for the Mayor’s Ride. “We want those people to just eat and then leave, we’d rather get them to walk down and enjoy Canton Street.”
All of the participants in the Mayor’s Ride will receive coupons, discounts or other special offers from Canton Street restaurants, including The Big Ketch, Ceviche, Osteria Mattone and Roswell Provisions.
Parts of Canton, Green, Woodstock and Norcross Street, will be closed after the Mayor’s Ride for another of the festival’s signature events: the Historic Roswell Criterium & Craft Beer Tasting. The road closings will create a loop that professional and amateur cyclists can use to race.
The final races will pit pro riders head-to-head against one another for a chance to win $100,000.
“It’s very exciting to watch the races, particularly in the afternoon when the professionals race,” Long said. “It is a thrill and such a sight to see. They come around those corners at sometimes 35 miles per hour on a bicycle, and they will hit 40 miles an hour on the straightaway right here on Canton Street.”
Jonathan Skupin, executive director of Bike Roswell!, said the race alone brings in about 6,000 spectators to see about 600-700 registered cyclists ride.
During these festivities, participants and spectators can also enjoy samples of 10 different Terrapin beers at participating locations near the race.
The Cycling Festival is just one example of Roswell’s thriving cycling community.
“One of the things that distinguishes Roswell above other cities is that we are first bicycle friendly community in Georgia,” Mayor Wood said. “That brings people to Roswell, not just for events. A lot of people and businesses have moved here because they want to be in a bicycle friendly community.”
To learn more about the Roswell Cycling Festival, including full schedules and maps, and to register, visit bikeroswell.com.