Dover Post
  • Amish County Bike Tour rolls into Dover

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  • With help from the Delaware Sports Commission, Kent County is gearing up once again for the Amish Country Bike Tour, one of the longest-running and largest cycling events in the state.
    Now in its 27th year, the tour through Delaware’s Amish farmland is a good example of competitive cycling's growing presence in Delaware, said David Arthur, executive director of the Delaware Sports Commission.
    It’s also another example of a Delaware-based sporting event that is drawing participants from around the country, Arthur noted. “Year after year, competitive cycling has been gaining visibility and generating more excitement in Delaware," Arthur said, noting that the commission also supports the annual Wilmington Grand Prix cycling race.
    Arthur pointed out that the Amish tour offers something for cyclists of all levels, from casual to elite. That broader appeal has helped boost its popularity -- last year’s event drew more than 2,200 cyclists from 25 states, making it Delaware’s largest cycling event. “The secret has spread throughout the country, and abroad," Arthur added.
    This year’s Amish Country Bike Tour will be held on Saturday, Sept. 7 in historic downtown Dover.  Discounted registration rates are available through July 31. For the first time this year, Dover’s Fordham/Dominion Brewing Co. is scheduled to be on hand from noon to 3 p.m., offering free craft beer tastings to anyone 21 and older.
    Because they are run through the countryside and outside the confines of a particular sporting venue, cycling events hold a unique opportunity for promoting Delaware as a destination, Arthur said.
    “It’s great when these kinds of events can showcase our state’s assets. With the Wilmington Grand Prix, participants and spectators get a great chance to experience places like Winterthur and Hagley Museum. In the Amish Country Bike Tour, they get to see and feel the warm response and beautiful surroundings of our Amish community.”
    The Tour is structured to meet the needs of all ages and abilities. Five cycling routes include 15-, 25-, and 50-, 62- and 100-mile loops, all of which start and stop at Legislative Mall. Up to four food and rest stops are provided along with cyclist and mechanical support.
    “The 15-mile tour works well for those just getting into cycling or those with families,” said Lorraine Dion, Director of Special Events and Public Relations for Kent County Tourism, coordinator of the event.  “The 25, 50 and 62-mile loops suit emerging distance cyclists, and the 100-mile loop – a favorite of more than 300 cyclists annually – is a test of skill and endurance, yet because of Delaware’s flatness, is very achievable.”
    “Our cyclists asked us to open registration and start getting details out earlier,” Dion said.  “When spring rolls around, cyclists begin planning their vacations around cycling events, and the Amish Country Bike Tour is one of their favorites, citing locally baked pies, cycling along Delaware’s flat farm country and through Amish communities.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Rest stops include the Amish Schoolhouse, also known as the “famous pie stop,” where riders can sample locally-baked apple, cherry, blueberry and pumpkin pies from Byler's Country Store.  Additional food stops will include fruit, healthy snacks, sandwiches and beverages.
    Following the tour, cyclists are treated to a catered barbecue meal of pulled pork or chicken and all the trimmings. Vegetarian meals also will be provided.  Proceeds from this year’s bike tour will benefit the Central Delaware YMCA, the Amish Schoolhouse education program, three local participating churches and the Bike Tour fund. 
    The following is a breakdown of registration fees and dates:
    --Now-July 31:  $50/adults; $25 ages 5-16; under 5, free;
    --Aug. 1-Sept. 7:  $60/adults; $25 for 5-16; under 5, free
    Cyclists may download a registration form from the website at www.AmishCountryBikeTour.com and pay by mail, or register online at www.active.com/cycling/dover-de/amish-country-bike-tour-2013
    For more information, call 800-233-5368 or visit www.AmishCountryBikeTour.com.
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