Cyclists of Athens will be riding gravel roads, taking in the beauty of the county this weekend.
On Saturday at 10 a.m., Team Athens Cycling Club is hosting the 2018 Tour of Athens Gravel Edition. Cyclists can choose either a 30-mile trail or a 50-mile trail. There will also be food and beer from Eclipse Company Store.
“It’s a nice change because you get out to places where there’s not much traffic and it’s somewhere new,” David Rohrer, the president of Team Athens Cycling Club, said.
Rohrer himself enjoys riding on gravel because there are a lot of pretty roads in Athens to bike down.
Cycling on gravel is becoming more popular, Rohrer said. People are looking for a different biking experience rather than traditionally biking on paved roads or dirt paths.
Because the paths they will be taking during the tour are different than what most people have ridden, setting up bikes with the right tires is important, Rohrer said.
“(People should) put wider tires on a road bike or put something skinnier and less aggressive on mountain bike tires,” Rohrer said.
There are two different lengths to ride to bring more people out to bike, Rohrer said. Not everyone will want to take three or four hours to ride.
“We were trying to tailor it to a wider variety of skill level,” Rohrer said.
Occasional challenges will be set up throughout the trails. Everyone will be tracked on how fast they ride up a certain hill or area and be able to see how well they did. The winners will be given a special prize and get to have bragging rights, Rohrer said.
“It’s just a way for people to keep track of how fast they are riding a segment and compete against one another,” Rohrer said.
Rohrer wants the event to grow from this year and bring in more people from different regions.
“Eventually we’d like to see people from all over Ohio and neighboring states to come out and ride and see this area,” Rohrer said. “We are trying to showcase some of our parks and natural resources in our area.”
Clayton Ritchie, a sophomore studying computer science, said cycling around Athens to enjoy the scenery seems fun.
“I’m from the area so I’ve seen a lot of it,” Ritchie said. “If you are new to town and were interested in seeing new things, (the tour) would be great.”