Autumn in Bonham.- Bonham, Texas
October 22. 2016
Lovely day for a ride! Did the 59 mile route.
First, the Good: Motorcycle escorts through the whole course. They stopped traffic and even protected us from the occasional dog. As we went further into the course, the rest stops were better stocked with the last having actual home baked goods!
Things that could be improved: They had real bathrooms at most stops, but some were pretty far from the road over gravel. Signage needs to improve. There was at least one intersection with no sign I could see. A little paint on the road would help. Some roads were small or no shoulder with fast traffic. Sometimes that can't be helped. The rest stop before the Leonard Hills was a dangerous entry. It was across the road and had deep gravel and most of it had a serious dropoff from the road surface. A few cones or some signs would help.
All that being said, We had a great time and will be back. Get some cookies for the early rest stops please? Thanks for a wonderful time.
October 26, 2013
I wanted to submit this review just to raise a question about scheduling. This year the ride was held about 4 weeks later than the traditional date. And they paid for it with the weather. There probably won't be many reviews, because there weren't many riders, and even fewer finishers. Pretty steady rain from about 9:30-11:30. And lightning. The threat created a lot of no-shows (or so it seemed), and when the rain actually hit, a number of folks justifiably thought better of continuing to slog on and either sagged in or took shortcuts back to the start. The volunteers were great as usual, though, and the motorcycle escorts were a welcome safety measure in the rain. The first rest stop on the 44-mile route was over 15 miles in, and the next was only about 8 miles farther along. Not a problem on a cool, wet day. But if it had been warm, it would've been better to have the first stop a little earlier. All in all, though, I'll consider this a one-off because of the weather, and I'll be back next year. But please move it back to late September or early October.
This was my first time for the Autumn in Bonham and I will definitely be back next year. It rained most of the day, pretty hectic storms, and I understood from the locals it was the first time EVER. With that being said, I think the rain brought on the only "complaint" I would have with this rally. I had planned to do the 80 mile route, along with many others, but the storms were so bad, NO ONE to my knowledge completed the 80 mile course. I completed the 64 mile course and I think I was among less than 15 to do so. The course is flat, fairly smooth, all on FM roads, and should be very scenic (minus the rain) and I'm really looking forward to doing this on a nice Autumn day when the leaves are changing. It's a great low key, easy ride to wrap up the cycling season. The breakfast was nice with fruit, donuts, bagels....not sure what else but plenty of food. The people were all very friendly and the rest stops were well stocked with cookies, gatorade, fruit, and even hot chocolate! There is a killer slide you must try at the last rest stop on the 64 and 80 mile course. The bad I think was due to the weather, when I returned from the 64 mile loop, there was hardly anything to eat. The food vendors had packed up and I managed to steal a piece of chicken and hamburger bun but was really looking forward to the advertised "grass fed beef" burger. :( I averaged 19mph on the ride so not sure why they were all put up when I finished and I know there were more finishers behind me (I saw them coming in as I was leaving). Like I said, only a handful completed the 64 mile course so probably not many. I picked up some leftovers from the breakfast table to replenish the tank and called it a tough day in the saddle. Again, I'll be back next year. Great course, friendly people, and I suspect the end of ride meal will be there next time on a sunny day with lots more finishers.
Weather not withstanding there were volunteers on almost every turn The whole town seems to pitch in for this event. It took three tables to hold all the items offered on the breakfast table. They even had toasters for the bagels. I took the 28 mile course, it started out clundy and hilly but ended up flat and sunny.
The only problem was the rain. I hope the event will be moved back to September. 2009 was the first year I rode Autumn In Bonham and the attendance was good. However, the number or participants seems to decrease each year. Not sure of the reason. I hope the Bonham Community is really behind the event since it brings lots of visitors to the area.
September 22, 2012
This was a great end-of-season ride. Crew directing parking were fabulous. On site registration quick and easy, though would go faster people didn't fill them out AT the counter. Were out of XL shirts but my bad for registering at 30 min before ride I guess. Route was fine and rest stops friendly and stocked with the basics. Friendly staff and riders. I had to cut my ride short and just go 28mi due to an equipment situation, but still a great ride. Announcement at the beginning that due to the highway dept 1/2 mile of one route was some kind of clay surface and if you didn't want to ride it they had provided pickup trucks to shuttle you over it - that's stepping up to make the best of a bad situation. Price included fajitas at the end (more of a soft taco really) but that's more than some rides. Overall a great day in Bonham and I'll be back to do a longer distance next time. Nice job, Bonham !!
We enjoy this small Texas town bike ride, always well supported by the community. All volunteers were helpful and friendly. Route was well marked and most corners were staffed. I rode the 64 (got hotter quicker than I expected), roads were acceptable both surface and traffic. Wife rode the 41 and experienced the ½ mile of unpaved road, took the pickup offer across it and kept going. No significant obstacle. One change we liked was the vouchers instead of the hamburgers (although the burgers were great). Each ride got a $10 voucher to be used in several local restaurants. Good idea and food (and service) in town was excellent. They have also installed several RV spots with water, electrical and sewer hookups ($20). Great if you want to wake up at the ride start.
People & rest stops we great .. Roads were ROUGH .. pretty sure I'd never do this ride again just because of the bad roads!!
They did have nice Tshirts
September 24, 2011
We didn't see a sag wagon all day. One member of our group was hurt and had to limp on to the next rest stop and ask for a ride. The route was well marked they even had flag people on major turns, EXCEPT when you got into town and passed the square it sucked. There is no greater thrill than riding tired on a major highway with cars whizzing by and wondering if you are going the right way. the intersection of 56 and 121 was not marked and I saw riders heading north on 121. I really liked the idea of having a rest stop just before the Leonard hills. - John
Overall I enjoyed the ride.. I did the 64 mile route. It was well marked, volunteers/police at major intersections and lightly traveled roads for most of the route. The people were nice and there was nice little expo and the pizza afterwards was great. There were a few dogs to deal with and chipseal, but that is pretty common and should be expected in rural riding. Thanks for the great support.
Overall a great rally. I would alternate between the 64 mile and 54 mile every other year. They are both very nice routes. No matter which one you pick, you won't be disappointed. Perfect fall weather, scenic route, friendly volunteer at the start/finish and every RS, what's not to like about Autumn in Bonham? I did the 54-miles Leonard Hill route this year. Signs are adequate at turns and interactions. There were volunteers on motorcycles going back and forth monitoring the event.
Things for the organizer to consider next year: 1. A big sign is needed at Downtown Bonham where the 64/54 mile route split. I slowed down and asked a few riders to make sure I was on the right route. 2. Make announcement of contact numbers in the event of emergency - put them on registration form, website, packet pick-up and before the start. 3. have someone directing traffic on Hwy 56 to the compound. It's quite a challenge to find the entrances to the compound when it's still dark. 4. The traffic at the intersection between 121 and 56 was quite busy at noon, when the riders head back to the compound. There was no sign and I thought about turning onto 121. 5. Please make sure you bring back the home made ice-cream truck. It's the best.
My husband and I did our first 100k on this ride. The ride itself was great, very friendly rest stop staff. It was nice to have the rest stops at churches and fire stations so we had use of bathroom facilities. I worried about the dogs after reading past reviews, but the only dogs we saw were sitting at the end of driveways, just watching us go by. It got a bit windy as the morning went on but otherwise it was nice rolling hills, light traffic and pretty scenery. Some of the turns were not very well marked, when the roadway deviated towards the end of the ride (a turn to the left to stay on the road we were on or go straight onto another road) we had no sign to point the way, and at the last minute someone yelled from a porch on the left "go straight!" All in all it was fun, we will definitely return next year.
September 25, 2010
This was a great ride. I decided not to let the heavy rain in Dallas discourage me and I'm so glad I drove out to Bonham where it rained very little. We had a nice cool day for the ride. Highest temp did not get above 74. The 64 mile route was well marked and very pleasant and scenic. There were good signs and volunteers helping you at every major intersection. All of the volunteers and organizers were so friendly and welcoming even though the rain might have caused the turnout to be lower than normal. My only concern about the 64 mile route---DOGS and lots of them. The group I rode with was chased by dogs at least 4 different times. We saw 2 other groups of dogs poised and ready to chase, but those dogs ultimately did not come after us. This was a little bit unnerving. Fortuntely, the group was experienced and everyone kept their cool. I know it is hard for the organizers to do much about that, but I'll remember some pepper spray next year. The only other negative (and this is a small point) is that the gatorade at many of the stops was in small plastic individual bottes and was not chilled. Fortunately, it was a cool day so we were not getting overheated, but it would still be nice to have it slightly chilled. The breakfast and lunch were very nice touches. All of the other cyclists were very friendly and I made some new friends. The roads were in good condition for the most part. The 64 mile route is relatively flat. I've been told that the 54 mile route has some significant hills. All in all, a very pleasant ride.
This was my 2nd Autumn in Bonham and 1st for the 64 mile route. This is a scenic small ride with big ride support. There was enthusiastic and friendly community support (as many volunteers, it seemed, as cyclists); a spacious indoor venue for registration, meals (breakfast and lunch), and vendors; well stocked rest stops with indoor plumbing; and visible motorcycle, SAG, and mechanical support. Unfortunately, the prospect of rain may have discouraged many from participating, but following about half an hour of sprinkles the remainder of the day (as forecasted) was cloudy and comfortably cool. The 64 & 14 mile routes were relatively flat, northern loops with moderate traffic and a characteristic amount of chip-seal, whereas, the remainder of the loops were southerly. While the route was pleasant and scenic, the north/south configuration and widely spaced staggered start made it seem as if there were even fewer cyclists participating. This was a positive cycling experience I hope to repeat and encourage others to consider.
September 26, 2009
Very good ride, excellent weather light wind early, though the wind did pick up, scenery was nice,, good to be on different roads, only wish the lead group would have slowed down so we could’ve enjoyed the ride – Cant comment on the rest stops, the group didn’t show any interest in stopping and I wasn’t about to give up the pocket. Only 60 miles from north dallas, I shall be back Excellent BBQ at the end, Had motorcycle stunt riders jumping off ramp at the finish – great show.
I rode the 64 mile route. Great route, not much traffic. Now if they just bothered to put out a few signs. On every thrn there was one sign way back and if you missed it you were S.O.L. At least one more sign right at the turn would make a big difference. I saw no Sag wagons at all. - John
The 15 minute per route staggered start, does not work. It only fosters resentment, keeps the riders in the sun and heat longer, and keeps the volunteers working longer. And then the next year, everyone will leave with the first group no matter what route they plan to ride. A mass start based on distance and speed works best. Talk to Lancaster.
Great ride and the weather was good! At first we started out as 3 riders (Team Re-Cyclers, I am the one who rides around with the Big Green Mohawk), and were working really great together. Our draft line of 3 then turned to 6, to 8, then to about 15. Our new group advanced really well, and caught another group around the 20 mile mark. This led to a good pace until we reached the rest area at the 20 something mile mark. During our break we met some nice people, learned of mosquitos hating Listerine (Will be trying this out myself) and had plenty of hydration available from Clif and Sunny D! As we ventured out we discovered the wind, and it didn’t seem to want to let us ride alone from that point on. Not sure if we missed a rest area between the 20 something miler and the 40 something, but we began to get a bit tired at that point. At one point during this stretch, we were lucky enough to get stuck behind a truck pulling a trailer load of compost….. Hmmmm… Was not feeling good at that point, and the smell just wouldn’t leave us alone J. Made it to the church and had nice company again, and enjoyed the log cabin that sat back in the distance. Once we left there, we already knew we would be stopping at the next rest area, but little did we know, that would be the best part of the entire ride. I apologize because I can not remember his name, but we talked with “The Engineer” who was hosting the next rest area. You could see his toy that he had created from over a mile away, and once we found that the slide was open to the riders… well we couldn’t say no, and so we climbed the tower and took a ride down the slide. After we thanked them for being such a courteous host, we were on our way to the finish. In the end, great people helping out at the intersections, great food at the end, and good shirts. This is already on our agenda for next years ride.
September 27, 2008
We appreciate all of the comments and reviews!
We wanted to Thank ALL of the cyclist who rode in the 22nd Annual Autumn in Bonham Bike Rally & Expo this year.
It was a perfect day to ride.
I also have hundreds of photos from the event.
What is the best way to send you some?
PS- Next year's date is Friday, September 25th and Saturday, September 26th, 2009.
Thank you again,
Bonham Area Chamber of Commerce
With the food before, during and after the ride, the beautiful weather, the scenic 64 mile route and the support on the ride, this was as close to a perfect ride as you can get. There were a few rough roads but this is Texas. Bonham is really trying to turn this into a 1st class ride and they're succeeding!!
Wow, fantastic day for a very well organized ride, these guys in Bonham know how to put on a great ride. My two favorite rides are this one, and the Sherman Red River Rally, are along some of the best roads in north Texas. Not flat, hilly, but not mountainous!! Check in was easy, I had pre-registered for the Texas Tough ride in Dallas and my entry was honored in Bonham. There was plenty of refreshments and food, and the T-shirt was great. The rest stops I stopped at were well stocked. There were motorcycle suppport poeple all over the course, I felt very comfortable, out there. Nice job Bonham...I'll be back.
Good (not great) ride. I’m sure everyone will have the usual fuss about chip-seal, but overall there were many more good than bad roads. Three key issues – lack of more restrooms at nearly every rest stop; unprotected intersection (cyclists were supposed to stop and merge into highway speed traffic) where Highway 78 merged the first time in the ride; unsupported ride through Bonham (and its traffic lights, turns and merges with highway speed traffic) at the end. Positives included the very nice folks running every rest stop, the Leonard hills, and the many volunteers along the route.
I can see why so few riders have chosen to comment on this event. Most of us really hate to say anything bad about a bike rally. On the other hand, there were issues for this one again this year, mainly on the southern routes which seemed to have way more issues than the 62 mile northern route. The event site has been moved to the outskirts of town, and the feel of this being a Bonham event is gone. Staging the event out of a rough gravel parking lot was less than ideal too, and generated quite a few crashes at the start and finish. I didn't ever see anyone with the event trying to warn or caution riders either. The goodie bags were self service but not very inspired. Maps were not included with them which apparently led to a lot of riders getting out on course without one. The green bananas at the start were a waste. Once the southern routes cleared the Bonham town center intersection and traffic control gradually dropped off. There were several dangerous crossings along the routes that were completely empty. The route markings were often not near enough to the actual intersections as to be helpful without back tracking, which a lot of riders were doing just to keep from getting lost. I must have gotten asked if I had a map by at least 35 riders. There were also intersections along the routes with no signs or with conflicting arrows on the pavement which took riders of course. Those of us who had managed to get out with a route map were guiding stragglers all along the way. I finished the 54 mile route with an extra 3 miles of riding which was due to helping folks who were lost or stranded get back on track or to a phone or rest stop. I never saw any sag vehicles or support but saw about a dozen walking or stranded riders, especially along the hilly sections. The chosen routes were not lightly traveled as advertised. Some were dangerously busy with vehicles who clearly had no idea that a local bike rally was taking place in their community. I got honked at and buzzed several times, and run off the road once. That occurred along a particular stretch that had us sharing a very busy two-lane road that had no shoulder and not even a fog line but with vehicles that were doing 70mph. At the last major intersection between Bonham and the event location the traffic control volunteers were not stationed in the intersection but before and after it. I didn't realize until after I had been waved into the intersection and told that it was clear that no one there was actually trying to stop traffic. I was waved right into on-coming turning traffic and came within about two inches of being t-boned. Clearly the traffic control volunteers at the actual intersection were in way over their heads and had decided to pull back and let the riders fend for ourselves. That was inexcusable, psychotically dangerous but sadly understandable given what they were being asked to do. Why there could not have been any police support to help them out is beyond me, and perhaps beyond the organizers too. Lastly, the southern routes included miles and miles and miles of fresh chip and seal and were a real beating. This stacked up as the worst rally I have ever been to in Texas. It will need a lot of work to keep riders coming back. Confining the routes to the northern roads, which apparently were easier on the riders and organizers both, with proper signage, markings, traffic control and sag support would be a good start. Sorry for the bum review but you guys earned it. Oh well.
Rode the 45mi route - had planned to go for the 55mi and Leonard Hills, but the chip-seal got to me (more on that later). The good: extremely nice folks at the dinner, at every stop, and everywhere associated with this ride; light traffic on the roads, and the drivers were courteous; great weather and even better food; nice facility for before/after the ride; very nice T-shirt (not white!); and FREE breakfast and lunch for riders!! The bad: the flyer claimed "smooth roads", but the vast majority of the ride was chip-seal, and most of that very fresh and ROUGH -- I know that is a TXDOT thing, but just don't falsely advertise. This was a new ride for me this year, but I will probably take it off my list for the future -- it is a ways to drive and not near as much fun (to me anyway) as some of the others around North Texas.
September 22, 2007
The start is greatly improved from years past. I did
the 64 mile route and it was mostly flat with a few
rollers. The single rest stop I used was well stocked
w bananas, oranges, apples, power bars, goldfish,
pickle juice and cookies. About 98% of the
intersections were controlled and they even had people
out on 121 directing you in! Nice. Most of the road
was worn chip seal except for a few very rough miles.
Now a couple of nits: the starting and finishing road
had a lot of loose gravel and the crossings over Hwy
82 and later on HWY 56 were unsupervised. That was a
little dicey and perhaps next yr they can post someone
out there. T-shirt color was unique. I don't have
another one like it!
Parking on the grass and a gravelly start road not ideal, but having showers, good preregistration and fast onsite registration helped compensate. Did the 64 (new route), and it was 64.0 miles as I passed the banner. Ride gets the 2007 best route map award- as it included an excellent color map of each route, a cut sheet (listing turns) & an emergency contact number. Route was well marked with a staked sign police officers or two volunteers in BRIGHT orange shirts at most turns. Kudos on that easy to see color selection- just one indicator that the volunteers were as well organized as they were friendly. The last few turns were not staffed, and one had no sign (274@3321), making that route map valuable. Rest stops were good with chairs, individual bottles of sport drink, fruit, cookies and ice. The new 64 route was great, most of it open 2-lane with smooth pavement and sparse traffic. Only “issues” were FM273 had some speedy truck traffic and FM274 to Ravenna was a little rough chip seal and not the smooth route we’d gotten accustomed to after almost 45 miles! Fun hills towards the end made it a challenge as much as a great scenic tour. Great T-shirt (small sizes, yea) and yes, we’ll do it again.
Saturday was my third ride and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I rode the 14 mile “Family Ride” and I thought the motorcycle volunteers were great. I thought the facilities and volunteers did a fabulous job and I will definitely be back next year.
The new route is great. Very little chip seal, few hills, only the 300
yards at the start and finish could use improvement. It looked like a
new building and perhaps next year that stretch leading in will be paved
over. The one rest stop was well stocked and the people were great. It
was one of - if not the fastest rides I have had over a 64 mile ride -
and it was 64 miles! The weather was made to order! I will be back!
My family had a great time at this event. We took advantage of the camping out at the State Park, and my 7 year old really had a blast. We had a really nice ride with others his age really making it enjoyable, and he also thoroughly enjoyed the pony ride, train ride, bounce house, games and other activities both the evening before and after the ride. I do a lot of these rides, mostly with a group that does the long routes, but I’m reserving this one for the family, as it is the most family – friendly one I’ve done. I really liked that they’ve moved the event out to the multi-purpose complex, and we all really enjoyed and appreciated the hospitality. This is an outstanding event, and we plan on attending next year.
I enjoyed this ride very much. I did the 54 miler solely to ride the Leonard Hills. The maps were good, and the volunteers were great. My only complaint is the supply at the rest stops. #6 was getting low when we arrived but they were working diligently to restock. #4 was out when we arrived and nothing was being done about it. All that was left was warm coke and hot pickle juice. I was a bit thirsty but my partner was suffering and had to tough it out to the finish line. Tap water would have gone a long way. 54 miles turned out to be 58 so the last leg was rather tough for him. There were people behind us that looked a little haggard as well.
This isn't the first ride that this has happened and I wonder what we're telling folks that are new to this sport. Are we telling them to donate their entry fee and they'd better be fast, because if they're not they don't get the support? I'm used to the tent stakes being pulled up when I arrive at the entry point (I'm not new, and while I can ride long distances I'll never be fast) but usually the support at the rest stops is good.
I did enjoy this ride, and the folks at the churches were great. THANK YOU, and I mean that. The routes were great, the SAG wagons were plentiful and visible, the help with all the intersections was great. I sincerely mean that I enjoyed this ride. I try to make this ride and the Cotton Patch every year and I've yet to regret it. I'm starting to dislike the "T-Shirt" rides for the very reasons I've noted in paragraph #2, they often aren't worth my money, but I still enjoy CPC and Autumn in Bonham. I will continue to support my very local community and I extend a sincere Thank-You to all the volunteers who helped.
The start fouled up an otherwise great ride The small town feel was gone, and I felt like the "big barn" was just another place to get us "cattle" out of the way.
I've been going for about 20 years. Please do something to get back into town so it will stop the antiseptic feeling that the barn had.
October 7, 2006
I hereby nominate Bonham for the prestigious "Most
Dangerous Bike Rally Start" award! We had a hard right
turn, in gravel, on uneven pavement with a traffic
barrier in the way. Not good. How about starting on
78? or moving the start location altogether? We got
about 0.3 miles into the ride and the officer at the
first turn was giving out incorrect directions. I
don't blame him since he was given the wrong info. The
first 1/3 of the 39 mile route was on some of the
worst roades I've been on this year. Maybe it'll be
smoother next year. Other than at the beginning the
support at the intersections was great and so were the
rest stops. The volunteers seemed to be glad we were
there. Great t-shirt too. Will probably do again next yr.
Yea, who is the idiot that puts cones and a traffic barrier directly in the path of all those cyclists. - John
True enough, the starting point was a bit daft, what with the traffic barriers and gravel, and I promptly got separated from my riding partner (never to be seen again. sorry, John) at the intersection with the police SUV parked in the middle. The chip seal was nasty, especially since it made the endless string of hills on the 64-mile route (actually 66.9 miles) that much harder to climb-but come on, it's a fact of life. Sure, the rogue Leonard cop got his rocks off buzzing me and many other cyclists (I mentioned this to one of the rest stop volunteers, who told me that Officer Friendly had been doing the rally participants like this all day. Way to protect and serve, Barney.), but I prefer to focus on how scenic the route was, how quaint the little almost-ghost towns were, the way people shouted and waved from their front porches, and the volunteers were having so much fun that it was infectious. Someone mentioned that there was supposed to be food at the end of the ride, but that ship had sailed by the time we rolled back into town. Note to self: if you want grub at the end of the ride, spend less time having fun with the rest stop workers or take a shorter route. I wasn't up to the challenge of that last Leviathan this year, but I'll be hitting the leg press and be back to conquer it next year.
Okay, besides the confused start where the short ride was called back and the turn off for the short ride occurred too early for people to properly get their bearings, this was a really nice ride. I would try to opt out of the bone jarring first few miles for next year. That chip seal woke me up in a hurry! That being said...it was a lovely ride. The miles for the 46 (turned out to be 50 miles) passed quickly and the rest stops were perfectly placed and cheerfully staffed. The route was easy and clear and the infamous hills were a nice challenge but were manageable. I would definitely do this ride again next year and encourage everyone to come out for a pleasant early fall ride before it gets too chilly around these parts!
Oh yeah, great t-shirt as well. Nice break from boring white!
Dangerous start! No one towards the back could hear the instructions being broadcast over the weak PA system. Riders around me were asking each other "What?" "What did she say?" "Is everyone starting now?" Everyone just moved forward in one big mass when the racers took off, only to grind to a near halt at traffic barricades that created a bad bottleneck. And there was an unexpected pavement step up of a couple inches that required some folks to unclick and walk their bikes over, AND a hard right turn to get onto the course. Otherwise, it was a great ride. Fantastic weather, volunteers were friendly and helpful.
This was my first time to ride the Bonham rally. I agree the start was a bit ill-planned. I don’t worry about myself but for the others who for some reason lose all coordination and sanity when approaching a hazard. The turn-off was confusing as well. A police officer is not the best means of relaying info about the routes. The poor guy probably fielded 500 questions about “which way”.
My only other complaint was the gulf between the last 2 rest stops on the 50/66 mile routes. When a route has the type of hills that this one does, I think it would be great to have a stop around 1-2 miles after said climbing. I was out of liquid after the hills and had to endure until the last stop on the 50 mile route.
The chip seal was nothing. There are routes that have much worse. The scenery was great and the weather couldn’t have been any better. The volunteers were just great and cheerful the whole way. The hills were probably the highlight of the ride. The Leviathan with the smiley face spray painted at the top was quite fun to finish. Traffic control was well planned. I had to stop maybe two times and even then, I got waved through. The funniest part of the ride was in the staging area when the lady was telling us all of the ongoings of the day – “We’re going to have gunfights at the courthouse.” You know you’re in the country when you hear that.
I rode the 64 mile route for the first time. I arrived late (at 8:30 a.m.) for day-of registration ($25) due to my own mis-navigation driving to Bonham. There was a line, but it moved well. However, they were out of t-shirts by then. The course was marked with signs only and police were stopping traffic at major intersections. Some of the turns had flaggers, too. The racers for the cash prize started first with police escort. A few lead cyclists for the 64 mile route that I was in missed the first left turn and made a lap around an extra block downtown. Much of the course was on some rough chip and seal (about 70%), but at this point in the season I didn’t notice much discomfort until near the end. Traffic was fairly light so we were able to ride on the right edge of the road where it was smoothest. I stopped at the 40 mile stop and they had bananas, oranges, cookies, ice and Gatorade. The volunteers were very friendly and helpful. Vertically, the course was about average until the last 15 miles where there were 3 or 4 roller coaster hills in a row. At the finish they had more bananas, oranges, ice, water, cookies and popcorn. This ride was well attended (guessing 700 since they only had 500 t-shirts). I didn’t see SAG support but there was a phone number with the map provided at registration. I enjoyed this ride and will probably be back. Call me spoiled, but I’d like to have a t-shirt even if I’m not first in line at registration and I’d like see more substantial food provided at the finish line.
We did the long route. Hmmm…let’s see, was it 100K or 64M or 66M or 69M? I noted a number of positives about this ride, a couple of suggestions for improvements and two complaints. POSITIVE: This ride is worth signing up for if nothing else than the ride T-shirt. It’s colorful and elegant without being gaudy. A lot of events design their shirts around a cartoon so those wind up being paint shirts. Not this one. I mistakenly washed my 2003 shirt with an ink pen in the wash. After the ride we made a trip to the event center on hwy 56 (ran out of shirts at the cycling event). To my surprise, way to my surprise, not only did we get our 2006 ride shirts, they had a number of past event shirts for sale. When I mentioned my misfortune to the chamber of commerce rep, she took my name and address and mailed me a replacement, free of charge. Wow!!! I can’t say enough about all the volunteers on the route. I didn't’t see anyone with a frown and my hearty "thank you" seemed to make their day even brighter. Traffic control was fine/great. I’ll never forget the “mom” who was assisting an officer (somewhere after R8). She had her hand up but when a car approaching didn't’t appear to be stopping, she waved him down and went after him, forcefully wagging her “shame on you” pointer finger and other hand on the hip approach. Awesome. She must have been a school teacher. I hit RS 3 and 7. They seemed to have everything we needed although in small quantities but heck, there were less than 500 riders for all routes. All in all the traffic was well behaved and I noted some number of warning signs about the rally. More than once a pickup pulled out from a side street but followed us a fair distance with no apparent intention of hostility. That’s a change. One even turned on his emergency flashers. Richardson Bike Mart SAG vans were all over the place. The Leonard hills, what more do you have to say. I played it safe, especially after all the chip seal, and braked down to 35mph. The climbs let me test my new cassette. IMPROVEMENTS: Put signs before the intersections in addition to a set at the intersection even if there are no turns. Lettering could be larger and bolder with a larger arrow. Add direction arrows pointing up if there are no turns. Some intersection signs were hidden behind traffic control. I never figured out whether the “ALL” was for our event or not. NEGATIVE: I hate doing this but since I felt somewhat at risk, I should mention it. There was a fair segment of the 69M route that was two lane road, 60-70mph traffic with little to no shoulder, just a bar ditch. I only had one close call with a car barely giving me a foot or so clearance. There was nowhere to pull off. I don’t remember the chip seal being this bad. Over half the 69M route was about as rough as chip seal can be so instead of relaxing and enjoying the scenery, I was searching for smoother sections of the road and hoping all my bolts were tight. When the pavement smoothed out, our average jumped from 15 to 21.
The start was tricky. Had a dip at the intersection with gravel and had barricades and cones in the middle of it. Not good. Then the police officer that had the rode blocked to yell out directions for the first turn, not sure what happened there. But there was some confusion about if we were to go straight or turn left. Once we got out of town the new chip seal was a beating for the first 7 or 8 miles. After that it was just chip seal that North Texas is famous for. Every major intersection was marked and had traffic control by either an officer or volunteers. I did the 48 mile route and stopped at rest stops 6 and 8. They were well stocked with oranges, bananas, cookies, power aid and water. The volunteers were cheerful and were having a good time. Even the rest stops that I didn’t stop at the volunteers were all cheering and waving as I rode by. The only thing that I would like to see changed for next year is to remove the barricades and the gravel at the start line. Mark the hazards on the rode before the hazard. Not right on or at the hazard. Great ride, I’ll be back again next year.
Bumpy roads! friendly people. confusion at the beginning which way to go for the different mile rides. The police officer said straight ahead for the 64 but actually the straight ahead at the light was for the 22 and 11 riders. My friend, Chris had her first ride went 39 instead of 22. She did very well though.
*SOMEBODY help the constable who was trying to control traffic whilst trying to get riders on the right route! Need BIG signs and a volunteer there!
*Lost a few tooth fillings the first 12 miles or so on chip seal.
*How 'bout the "garden hose" water at that lady's house/rest stop (39 mile route)!
*GREEN bananas further up the road!
Suggestion to future participants: Instead of driving up that morning, stay in Sherman the night before and drive an easy 1/2 hr east on Hwy 82 in the a.m. Plenty of decent chain motels and restaurants there; I did, and was especially pleased staying at the Quality Inn. Blissfully quiet and a complimentary full hot breakfast. DO NOT even think of staying at the no-tell motels in Bonham (sorry, y'all!) I stayed in one previously (scary!) and passed by the other during the ride (appears SCARIER!)
Good stuff: Thanks to the enthusiastic and kind volunteers who tried their best!
Note to organizers: Bring back the long-sleeve T-shirts!
October 1, 2005
There is only one problem with this ride. How do I write a bad review to keep the rest of you from showing up next year. Here are some of the good things about the ride:
Volunteers, food, rest stops, roads (minimal chip seal), traffic on roads, traffic control. The best part was the slight downhill downwind between the last and second to last rest stop that allowed well over 20mph the whole way from reststop to reststop. Please, if you would like to miss one of the best rides around, stay home.
If you didn't ride this event shame on you! The 500 riders that were there found one of the finest rides in every category you could find in Texas.
First the route to the registration area was outstandingly well directed. Not by just signs, but with also people holding signs!. Wow. When's the last time you saw
that? You would have to be an alien from planet Schmexma to miss it! Next the registration itself was smooth and held inside an
air-conditioned gym. Parking was, well, everywhere with nobody seeming to have a problem.
THIS COURSE HAS ROUTE MARKINGS AND POLICE SUPPORT RIGHT UP WITH THE VERY BEST IN TEXAS. Even Dan Rather wouldn't get confused.
The roads were good to excellent and very "fast" (low rolling resistance). There was an insignificant
amount of chip seal but nothing to kick your pig about. The rest stops were Spartan
but popped up right where they were supposed to be. The sag and drive by police support patrolling was also plentiful and VERY OBVIOUS AND COMFORTING TO
RIDERS. Whoever was in charge of this ride is to be commended and as for the volunteers...wow...how many of those orange shirted people were there 100? 200? Never saw so many in any ride, that includes the HHH!. The 8 mile road
stretch back to the finish was very well chosen with shoulders as wide as separate lanes.
At the finish there was a hard rocking band, cokes and bagels with dip. Chairs to sit in the shade (there could have been four times as many).
Tips: You might want to consider Pizzas or even some hot dogs and/or hamburgers. You also might want to consider some shade tents for the riders too at the rest stops or shady areas with a dozen or so chairs for tired riders. At the longer distances there are some tired people. All the chairs in the shade tent filled by staff, kids, dogs, pocket books, etc is not a good idea. Standing around in the sun after getting off your bike at the longer distance stops can cause your body temp to soar because the cooling air generated by the riding airflow has stopped. Shade and maybe some ice water and cold towels at the longer distance rest stops would be a good safety thought...like the HHH does. Just a thought.
An almost perfect day for one of the best managed ride in North Texas.
Parking was plentiful for the time that I arrived. I was pre-registered, so that went smoothly as well. Nice road selection for the 60+ mile course
(although it was rough due to Chip and Seal surface). Friendly - well stocked rest stops, and nice band at the end....
Very good rally all around. One of the best I've been to this year. A must for next year.
Overall a good ride. The weather was perfect - mid 80's. I did the 46 mile ride which includes the
Leonard Hills. The scenery after the hills was beautiful. Only stopped at one rest stop in Bailey
which was well stocked. Love the pumpkin color t-shirts!!! I'm glad ride directors are getting away
from plain old white t-shirts. We had good signage and often someone at the intersection directing traffic!
(Unlike Forney) I wasn't too happy about the route on 78. It's two lane with no shoulder but everyone gave
us a wide berth. Just one thing to change: how about moving the traffic barricades out of the way at the
start until everyone gets out?? There were almost a couple of accidents at the beginning because of the barricades.
I have to agree with the rest of the reviews: wonderful weather, excellent organization (someone just forgot to remove the barrier before the start), good flag men, lots of hills (more than I remembered) at the beginning, good roads (except for the long stretch down 78). An excellent ride.
This event is always second to none. I usually don't take advantage of the rest stops, but after getting tangled up with some riders in the pack and skidding across the highway on my side (and of course getting back on the bike to finish the ride), I stopped at the halfway point of the 60+ route to clean up my war wounds. The nurse was friendly and well prepared with medical supplies, and the other volunteers were extremely helpful and sympathetic as well. I felt completely taken care of. It was also nice to see the sheriff turn around and come back from leading the route to see if any of us needed medical assistance in the ditch. The community involvement for this ride in Bonham is outstanding, and despite leaving half my skin on the highway, I'll return.
Autumn in Bonham. Excellent, well organized ride. Have to disagree with the earlier comment about low rolling resistance. Having only ridden Waco and HTH I found the road surfaces except for the last eight miles to be rougher than I'm used to. I was psychologically prepared for Leonard hills, but was not expecting the hills early in the ride and the up and down grades. Not complaining, just more of a physical challenge then you'll see at HTH.
This was a well organized ride. Volunteers providing direction to the school where the ride began/finished, plenty of parking, well-stocked rest stops (we did the 30-mile route) and manned if not controlled intersections. There was popcorn and sodas at the finish, and stew/fixins were available at the heritage park/museum. The road surfaces were rough during the first portion of the ride and the hills at the beginning were somewhat of a surprise, but overall I would recommend this event. It was a beautiful day, and the organizers did a wonderful job. I'll be back next year and may try a longer route.
Autumn in Bonham - A very nice rally. Rode the 65-mile route. Really enjoyed the small town atmosphere and friendliness. I thought the ride was very well organized. I thought there were plenty of signs on the roads and in advance of the turns, plus it seemed there were people at every intersection to help with the traffic. Stopped at the Bug Tussle, Wolfe City, and Randolph rest stops and all were well stocked with very friendly people. Love the pumpkin colored shirts too! People with flags directed us to the start area once we got to Bonham - very nice and easy. Registration was pretty fast. Weather was great, a decent amount of wind in the first 10 and last 10 miles. The Leonard Hills stretch was into the wind as well, which made it fun and challenging. I think the steepest of the Leonard Hills came right at 50 miles (on the 65-mile route) so the legs were a little bit tired. There was some chip-n-seal on the routes but I still thought most of the road surface was fast. I've encountered much worse chip-n-seal this year in other rallies - Waxahachie comes to mind. Traffic was light and any vehicles I encountered seemed to be respectful of the riders. I will definitely be back next year for this one!
This was a great ride.as a novice.I look at each rally as something new. We started early due to the 9am start time. That was just our personal preference. I too noticed the people directing us to the start area and also thought it was a good idea to be asked to write name and emergency numbers on the back of our ride number tags. Easy access. The chip seal was rough but the roads were clear of debris and holes.There was some great road kill to notate. Very happy and pleasant volunteer folks. I love the orange t shirts. Now the course.well yes rolling hills .that was good. And there was a really sweet spot with a tail wind that 20+ mph was like a no effort cruise.Leonard Hills.I was not told by my partner what they were .Made em .got there.did them..What a kicker on that second one.What an adrenaline rush after!!!! And the downhills were great.great route.came out on our clocks at 65 miles tho .not 68.but heh
..What's a few miles between friends.Nice local eating place was clean and had great food at a good price.
This appeared to be best turn out in Bonham in the past 5 yrs. Notice RBM is now main sponsor. I have always like the scenery around Bonham but some years quality of event was lacking. Good job this year. My main complaint was registration. There were 2 early registration lines and 2 late registration lines. The line for late registration was not bad till about one hour prior to ride starting. Traffic control much better this year than in past. Signs were good this year but turn signs were at intersections instead of 100 yards before turn. I would suggest that the park next to the start would be a good place to have an after ride function. Overall very good job.
This was my first year to ride Autumn in Bonham (AiB) and found it to be thoroughly enjoyable. I did the 68 (65 by odometer), while my girlfriend did the 29. The following is a random compilation of our thoughts. Support was fantastic; from the early registration, to crossing the finish line. I had to call the Chamber of Commerce for information - and that even went well. Great ride, great small town atmosphere, and one that will be on our list for next year. The hills at the beginning were a bit of a surprise, but only represented a little more of a challenge. Great to see the Sheriff out and about to support the riders. Roads were well chosen, for the most part wide and clean. The exception has already been mentioned. Rest stop support was fantastic, friendly, and enthusiastic about our participation. Remove the barriers at the Starting line, and then use an air horn to start the ride. Perhaps offer something a little more substantial at the finish line in addition to the pop corn. The showers are a welcome relief at the end. We were told by a rider of previous events that we should expect pancakes for the breakfast - unrealized of course, but am uncertain is she was joking; but it would have been nice. I feel as if I am nitpicking - so will just say thank you to the cadre of volunteers and the coordinator for hosting this event.
October 5, 2003
Bonham 10/04/2003 Excellent ride. I am surprised not more people
attended. Then again, there are several other rallies in the area and we are
getting into that time of year where there is a lot going on (like football
games, the State Fair, school related activities, ETC.) The only real
"negative" is that there are several areas of "chip and
seal" that made things a little uncomfortable. The positives were numerous.
The registration was well manned and moved through real quick. I really like the
way the 68 (actually 70 mile) route was set up. All the turns were manned by
volunteers that did an excellent job making sure we stayed on track. There were
very few "left" turns and for the most part, the roads and turns were
gravel and debris free. The rest stops were basically tables set up with fruit
and PowerAde and a few chairs for foot or rear sore riders to sit down and rest.
As for the aesthetics, the most scenic parts of the ride were the most
difficult. The Leonard Hills come to mind. After the ride, my friend from
Houston and I visited the Sam Rayburn library and ate at a very good home
cooking buffet restaurant (The River Bend).
Great Ride! I am surprised this ride is not bigger than it is.
Looks like about 500 or so riders this year. I rode the 68 mile route. The ride
organizers definitely know how to do it right with excellent attention to
detail. You definitely get the impression the ride organizers give a damn. When
I drove into town, marshalls directed me to the start. Registration was easy and
there was a complimentary continental breakfast. The route maps in the
registration packet were easy to follow and I noticed that there were emergency
phone numbers printed on the route maps (smart thinking there). The route was
marked very well and traffic control at intersections was superb. I didn't stop
at any rest stops but they were close to the road and I could see they were well
stocked. It was a beautiful day for a ride although I didn't think the leg from
the ride start to Leonard (about 30 miles) would ever end because it was mostly
into a headwind. That leg of the ride took its toll on me. However, we did get
our payback because the remainder of the ride was mostly with a tailwind. I like
the rides where the routes send the riders into the typically southerly
prevailing winds first so we can get that misery out of the way early. The only
downside to this ride is that so many of the roads are the chip and seal finish.
That stuff sure can beat you up and sure seems to increase rolling resistance.
However, I realize that chip and seal is a fact of life on the roads in North
Texas these days. This ride may be one of the better kept secrets on the North
Texas rally circuit but based on some of the reviews of this ride from 2002, it
looks like the ride is indeed growing. That is good news given the effort these
organizers appear to put into the ride. Bottom line from me is my compliments to
the organizers for a job extremely well done. I hope to return next year.
Another great day in Bonham!!!! Great ride and organization,
will be back again next year.
My hat (helmet) is off to the Bonham chamber of commerce, the
police and fire departments along with the scores of friendly rest stop
volunteers who packed all the necessary items (homemade cookies-yum). They
really did it up right and from reviews of the past, this year was no exception.
It's obvious the organizers took a lot of time to make sure everyone was one the
same page. I did the 68 mile route (odo read almost 70 on the nose). There were
good signs all along the route and someone, (police, fire dept or volunteer) was
at every major intersection/turn. With two-way radios, they were ready and
waiting for cyclists. I did my best to thank every one of them. There were sag
wagons and police on systematic patrol throughout the day (even though I was way
past the cutoff). A biker couldn't have asked for better assistance. It did get
plenty hot. I measured 91 by noon and that's only 10 degrees off Wichita Falls
in August. Richardson Bike Mart service vans and techs were available to fix
whatever problem you had. Bonham has moderate rolling hills and some killer
hills past Leonard and some more past R8. You might be doing 40+ downhill but
you'll be in 1st gear about halfway up the other side. It was a challenge to
find a rut or other smooth track in the all to common chip seal. I probably
loose 2-3mph on that stuff. At times my handle bars were jittering so much I
couldn't read my computer. While a bit of the course has a shoulder, there's a
fair share that doesn't. Out of all the drivers that passed me, only one cut it
too close (for my comfort). Most of them trailed back nicely until they could
pass. This was the 17th annual ride and I too am surprised by the relatively low
turnout for such a nicely organized ride. I don't think there's a muscle or bone
in my body that isn't aching, but I'll be back next year along with a few
friends. Just can't say enough. Thanks, Bonham for a good time.
Kudos to the folks in Bonham. This is an excellent ride, and the
support rivals the best rallies of the season (e.g., Lancaster, Italy,
Stephenville, Cleburne, etc.). Clearly, this rally is managed by bicyclists.
Parking and registration were a snap. I did the 68 mile route (110K), which they
changed this year. The only difference I could tell was Leonard happened at 30
miles rather than 50 miles. Those hills are very challenging, and hitting them a
little earlier in the ride meant my legs were a little fresher. The route itself
was well laid out, and in addition to the excellent signage (Forney take note!)
there were volunteers at each turn to make sure no one got lost. There was a
little more chip seal than I would have liked, but there's just no escaping it
in North Texas. Hopefully, it will have "matured" by next year. I
stopped at three rest stops: They were well stocked, and the volunteers were
very friendly. The welcoming cheerleaders at the end were a nice touch. It would
have been nice if there had been some food at the end (I'd had enough bananas
and Quick Kick on the road), but this is only a suggestion, not a complaint.
This is one of my most favorite rides, and I'll definitely be back next year!!
Autumn in Bonham 2003 was great. Forney should take a lesson!
Everything from the weather to ride coordination as well as the courtesy of the
volunteers was wonderful. Never a minute of concern about taking the wrong turn
and everyone directing traffic did an excellent job of looking out for the
safety of the riders. Another suggestion, Richardson Bike Mart had a
registration table set up three days prior to the ride, an excellent
accommodation for those of us living in Dallas and surrounding cities. My thanks
again to everyone in Bonham. Awesome job.....see you next year.
This rally is very well organized, and the course management was
superb. The rough roads, and the headwind were somewhat draining but the
infamous Leonard Hills were a disappointment. The stretch into the wind (before
turning toward Leonard) with the long gradual uphills and false flats were a
grind, but the steeper rollers (after heading north through Leonard) were just a
very brief morsel on this predominately flat ride. The road surfaces in North
Texas are becoming tiresome
Great ride from start to finish-my first time. I like smaller
crowds-not so small i feel alone but not a glut either-this was perfect.
Directions to town and then people at every corner waving you on-easy late
registration- i liked previous years shirts better-long sleeve white with
colored leaves was cool...start was right on time, nice rolling hills at the
start and the chip seal into the wind was killer...great rest stops and
volunteers...and the infamous Leonard Hills??? all I could think about was the
heavy chip seal and going downhill fast and getting shook to death...I stopped
to help a guy change a flat on that section, it felt like a big long
rumble...rode and talked to a few guys and enjoyed biking conversation with
them...a great ride-thanks to all the volunteers and the people of Bonham and
the surrounding communities and the courteous drivers on the road...
I have rode in this ride 4 out of the last 7 yrs and I must say
that the traffic control and signs are back to the quality of this event when
the GDB were the hosts of the event. They seemed to have the best turnout that I
have seen in yrs. I rode the 70 mile course and loved it, even though it kicked
my butt!!! Registration, rest stops and continental breakfast were very good. My
observation about this ride is the limited parking and there is no significant
post ride gathering activities other than taped music with drinks and oranges.
The park next to the start is a perfect place to have post ride activity. How
about moving the Goat roast up to right after the ride? I don't think many
bicyclist stay till the 6:00 PM goat roast. Overall much improved ride from