By LIBBY CLUETT
After a hiatus last year, the Crazy Kicker Bicycle Ride is returning for its 10th year Saturday, with distances of 22, 37, 50, 65 (100 kilometers) and 100 miles.
Since the routes are all on Palo Pinto County roads, they are full of hills, hills and more hills, as well as lake and river views.
The three longest routes include what cyclists know as “Cherry Pie Hill” – the winding incline up Farm-to-Market Road 4, between Lone Camp and Palo Pinto. When riders summit the hill and arrive in Palo Pinto, whether they are riding the 22-mile round trip from Mineral Wells or the century ride, they all cherish the rest stop with home-made cookies, fruit and other replenishing goods.
All rides start from West City Park at 8:30 a.m., near the American Legion building.
The first 400 registrants receive a T-shirt and, afterwards, all riders can chow on hot dogs at West City Park.
The ride includes many volunteers and support crews, including sag support, escorts and five rest stops – all with homemade cookies. In fact, Ride Director Lyn Butcher said this is the only ride that features homemade cookies at the rest stops “and the bike riders love them.”
For several reasons the ride didn’t take place last year, but Butcher said Kiwanis is hoping for record attendance this year. She added that the Mineral Wells Area Chamber of Commerce and Moore & Moore Attorneys are this year’s top sponsors.
“This once-a-year ride is the major fundraiser for the Mineral Wells Kiwanis Club.,” she explained. “All funds go straight to helping students of Palo Pinto County.”
Drivers need to be aware that many cyclists will be on the roads Saturday morning, with routes extending to Graford, Possum Kingdom Lake, Palo Pinto, Lake Palo Pinto, Lone Camp and areas in between.
In advance Butcher said, “Thanks to every for driving safely and giving the riders plenty of space when passing. Be aware that your side-view mirror might clip a rider if not careful.”
She said the U.S. Highway 180 bridge over the Brazos River “will have extra cones and signs to remind all drivers to be particularly cautious there.”
Riders who want to register can come by Holiday Hills Country Club on Friday night, 5-8 p.m., and enjoy a spaghetti dinner – free for registered riders and $5 for others. Riders can also register Saturday 6:30-8:30 a.m., at West City Park.
Butcher anyone wishing to volunteer can contact Butcher or co-directors Dianna Leggett or Gary Lovell.