It’s not too late to register for the Tour de Forest Benefit Bicycle Ride, offering several different routes that take riders through the Little Cities of Black Diamonds Microregion, the small forest-surrounded former coal mining towns of hilly southeast Ohio which offer an incredible amount of history and natural beauty.
Registration/waiver form can be found here. Helmets are required for all riders.
Recommended departure is between 8 am and 10 am. The ride begins and ends at Hocking College Student Center in Nelsonville and offers 20, 30, and 70 mile paved routes and a 54-mile gravel route for bikers of all experience levels. Riders are also welcome to do the “rider’s choice” of any distance on the Hock Hocking Adena Bikeway. Riders should time their departure so that they return in time for lunch between 11:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Granola from FullBrooks Cafe in Nelsonville, a hearty lunch and a Tour de Forest T-shirt are included with registration. Riders will also have access to the Hocking College Student Center restrooms and showers. Attendees not interested in bike riding can purchase non-rider rec passes at the Recreation Center desk to use the pool, climbing wall and disc golf course. Non-registered attendees can also purchase lunch for $8.
Each route takes riders a different path through the Little Cities. To download full maps of the routes, visit the Tour de Forest website. The 20-mile paved route is along the Hock Hocking Adena Bikeway. The 30-mile paved route gets riders out in the towns, taking bikers to the fascinating former coal towns of Murray City and New Straitsville. Riders can enjoy a view of Sunday Creek from Murray City, as well as some Buckeye Trail blue blazes along their route. In New Straitsville, besides being in the Moonshine capitol of the U.S., riders can see New Straitsville’s beautiful, historic Methodist church, and Robinson’s Cave, the birthplace of the United Mine Workers.
The 54-mile gravel route is in its third year of use and offers a more challenging and bumpy ride through the little cities surrounded by the Wayne National Forest, also called the Little Cities of the Forest. The gravel route takes riders through The Plains, past the former Company town that is now home to the Eclipse Company Store Restaurant and Bar and Black Diamond Bicycles, and Chauncey. In addition to passing through Murray City and New Straitsville, riders will pass through the historic town of Shawnee, with its incredible main street buildings and balconies, including two Opera House Buildings. Riders will also have the chance to view pristine Tecumseh Lake, just a short distance from Main Street.
For the riders preparing for the 75-mile paved route, it will be a long ride broken apart by many interesting and unique Southeast Ohio sights. Riders will ride the hilly road between Hemlock and Shawnee, traveling routes that were well-trodden by coal miners in both towns. Riders will also get to ride through Jacksonville and Trimble, two historic former coal mining villages that are surrounded by Sunday Creek. Each distance gives riders a different view of the Little Cities Microregion, but they all offer beautiful scenery and miles of bike path to fly down.
Tour de Forest is sponsored by Hocking College, Athens Bicycle, and The Athens Conservancy. Proceeds from the race support the Little Cities of Black Diamonds Council, telling the stories of the former coal mining towns of Southeast Ohio.
To register, click here!