Bike Out Hunger (Ride against Hunger) - Weatherford TX
May 7, 2016
Overall nice ride, and probably the most enjoyable route I've ridden in Parker County, having done the Peach Pedal three times as well as the Ride for Heroes for comparison. The police escort down North Main and around the courthouse was fun and kind of novel, and the meal at the end was good. At this point the signage has been a problem long enough that I think we can assume the organizers know and don't care. It's a small ride – fewer than 200 riders – so if your point of reference is a bigger ride like the Peach Pedal, bear in mind that this is something between what you think of as an organized ride and just another ride in the country with buddies. Given that after the route splits you'll be whittled down into a group of about 50 and spread out over the route, it winds up feeling like a solo ride at places if you're not with someone else. You'll have to keep a sharp eye out for turns, and there's essentially no traffic help of any kind once you turn onto Bankhead Road. That meant crossing a couple of big highways, as well as riding in two lane busy traffic down Aledo's main strip for a bit. Nothing terrifying or especially disconcerting, but something that may have caught a lot of riders off guard.
Registered on line and packet pickup on site was quick and easy. Access to the restrooms in the church. Start of ride was escorted by a police car at 10 mph through town. I can understand wanting to control the start but riders were right on the bumper of the police car. If the start is going to be 'neutralized' it needs to be a reasonable pace, say at least 15 mph to keep everyone from bunching up together. Once we got to Bankhead, the police pulled off and we were on our own. And I mean really on our own. There were small signs except for in one place, or at least a group of 20 missed it, and we wound up off the route. We headed to US20 so we could work our way back onto the route. Zero intersection control, at Aledo high school we were making a left turn onto a busy road with continuous on oncoming traffic. The signs came upon you suddenly and could easily be mistaken for new home signs, we were on edge for the turns. The organizers need to invest in some traffic control, even if it's just volunteers manning intersections. Once we were north of US20 the traffic issues were gone and we had some nice hilly roads. At the end of the ride we were treated to a nice bbq lunch. With a little better organization this could be a nice ride. It has place on the calendar without a lot of competition but they need to invest a little to get a better turnout.
This is a small ride in Weatherford with great support. The route was changed this year and I have to say it's much, much better.
Last year's route used some of the same roads as The Peach Pedal. This year's route head North instead. Lots of "up", of course. But, heck, it's Parker County and that means hills. I rode the 41 mile route and Garmin indicates 2100 feet of total ascent.
As last year, the Weatherford police provides a "rolling road block" as we're escorted on the way out of town. How cool!
The Bike Out Hunger ride is growing. Perhaps in a few years, attendance will out grow the area where they currently start the ride.
I'm looking forward to next year's ride.