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Amish Country Bike Tour to stagger start times, prompt social distancing

Riders must register by Sept. 1 to receive packet in mail

Delaware News Desk
Cyclists typically take off in a mass start during the Amish Country Bike Tour, like this race captured in 2018. This year, the start times will be staggered to protect people's health.

Clarification: Riders should only sign up for a time slot after they have registered. 

Bike Delaware volunteers have been busy finalizing the plans for this year’s Amish Bike Tour starting in Dover Sept. 12.

The tour will be modified to encourage social distancing and increase hygiene practices. While riders traditionally start all at once, this year everyone must sign up for start times staggered by distance.

Start times

100-mile riders: Between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m.

50/62-mile riders: Between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.

15/25-mile riders: Between 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

Once riders register, they will be prompted to sign up for a time slot. 

All riders registered by Sept. 1 will receive their registration packets via snail mail, said Event Director Marci Drees. 

“This added step will help minimize interactions between volunteers and riders helping us to ensure a safer experience for all. Anyone registering after September 1st will be notified that they will need to pick up their registration packets,” Drees said. “Based on our history those numbers will be very manageable. We have plenty of space for those few riders to spread out on Legislative Mall.”

Other precautions

  • Online registration will close earlier than usual Sept. 8. No registrations allowed on the day of the tour.
  • Riders will receive masks when needed. Masks must be worn at all stops or when riders are in proximity to others not in the group
  • Rest stops have been modified to minimize crowding and potential for contamination of food/beverages. (Don't worry, there will still be individually wrapped pie!)
  • More hand sanitizer and cleaning stations will be available.
  • Bike Delaware will educate volunteers and participants on best practices for having a safe ride according to USA Cycling.
  • Riders can use social distancing spaces on Legislative Mall.
  • The traditional family-style barbecue will now be a catered box meal from Mission Barbecue.
  • No free wine and beer at the end of the event.

Chris Castagno, president of the Board of Directors for Bike Delaware, said eliminating day-of registration will help make sure the tour doesn’t become too big to manage. “Traditionally, a nice day can increase ridership by close to 500 people,” he said. “We’ve been monitoring other cycling events around the country that have taken place and feel we can safely host and still provide a needed, socially distant outdoor experience for our riders.”

Routes are 15, 25, 50, 62 or 100 miles through the peaceful, flat, low-traffic Amish countryside. Rider support will be provided from the start to finish at 5 p.m.

For more information, to sponsor, become a vendor or to register as a bicyclist, visit https://www.bikede.org/amish-country-bike-tour/.