has two clubs
for area bicycle enthusiasts
groups offers regular rides of various levels
(July 2006) Indiana has long been known as
a bicycle-friendly state, and in Madison, bicyclers are fortunate to
now have two clubs offering rides at various levels the
Madison Area Bicycle Club (MABC) and the recently formed Big Ring Adventure
MABC is the older of the two. According to their website,
The Madison Area Bicycle Club is for those who enjoy bicycling
in all its forms
A nice evening ride through Clifty Falls, the
excitement of mountain biking, the challenge of long distance rides
even the occasional tour to get away from it all.
The MABC was formed in 1995 and today boasts 30 members, primarily adults.
The clubs president, Tom Pritchard of Madison, said the club was
created to help promote cycling in the community and to bring
together people with the same interests.
The MABC has regularly scheduled rides on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday
and Sunday and tries to maintain a riding schedule of at least two to
three rides per week from May to October.
For instance, the Thursday night ride, which is led by Pritchard, begins
at the Rucker Sports Complex on the Madison hilltop and consists of
a 20-mile route at a variable pace. Each night has designated cycling
leaders and routes with the routes varying between 20-60 miles.
Besides these weekly rides, the MABC also holds several special events
involving cycling throughout the year, such as the Stream Cliff ride
they held this past spring. The cyclists rode out to Stream Cliff Herb
Farm, where they dined at the Tea Room for lunch before riding home.
The clubs annual Madison Meander Ride, meanwhile, is scheduled
for Aug. 19 and will consist of a 50-mile roundtrip ride at a leisurely
pace. Pritchard said that the group generally keeps the same rides every
year but does like to add and change things around a bit.
We are open to new ideas, routes, and people. Right now, were
looking for a new leisure ride leader, he said.
Pritchard said his club is a positive attribute to the area because
its is promoting bicycle riding to the community, along with offering
a fun activity for visitors. The MABC provides those who enjoy the outdoors
with a hobby, while helping to promote tourism and environmental issues
such as clean air and saving money on gas.
The BRAT club, meanwhile, was founded by local cycling enthusiast Rich
Ries. He helped found the Madison Area Bicycle Club and served as its
president for four years but then took a two-year hiatus. In 2003, Ries
started his own business from which the Big Ring Adventure Team stemmed.
Unlike the MABC, the Big Ring Adventure Team is also a business owned
and operated by Ries and his wife, Julie.
The Big Ring Adventure Teams motto is serious cyclists having
serious fun. Ries club serves a slightly different cyclist
than the MABC. His club focuses on the middle-aged members riders
who are confident and want to improve their skills but want to enjoy
their cycling as well. The club does not participate in racing as a
group. The members of BRAT fluctuate between 50 to 60 people.
BRAT offers local rides every Monday and Wednesday evening starting
at Lytle Park, at the corner of West and Third streets in Madison, and
then also every weekend.
The clubs most popular rides are the Historic Indiana Country,
of HIC, rides. The HIC rides are laid back with a lot of joking
around, Ries explained.
BRAT offers other specialty rides, such as one where cyclists ride to
Brown County, Ind., and are followed by family members in a passenger
van who tag along to shop upon arrival. Along with offering specialized
rides, BRAT and Ries offer bicycle training and seminars on such topics
as mechanical repairs and bike skills.
Ries club has three main purposes: to help people become better
cyclists; to provide a service to the community by reducing traffic
and bettering the environment; and to promote health and fitness.
Both clubs have websites that provide information on everything they
have to offer.
For more information on the MABC, visit: www.madisonbicycleclub.com.
Visit Ries BRAT club at: www.bigringadventure.com.
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