Hattie Hundred Bike Ride to raise funds for DREAMBy HASKEL BURNS,
For the second year in a row, the Hattie Hundred Bike Ride will give Pine Belt residents a chance to tour the Longleaf Trace, get exercise and see the scenery of the area, all while raising funds for DREAM of Hattiesburg.
The Hattie Hundred 2018 Bike Ride will start at 7 a.m. April 21 at the Hattiesburg Train Depot and will offer on-trace bike rides of 100 miles, 88 miles, 65 miles and 30 miles, along with a 5-mile family ride. Participants also can choose a 100-mile off-trace bike ride.
All proceeds from the event will go to DREAM of Hattiesburg, a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing or reducing the abuse of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
“Mississippi is the highest (state) in obesity and heart disease in both adults and children, and our focus is prevention and wellness and healthy lifestyles,” said Linda Vasquez, executive director at DREAM of Hattiesburg. “We put this on to really promote families and individuals getting involved physically.
“And since we do have the (Longleaf) Trace, we’re very fortunate in having a safe place that individuals can cycle. Also, it’s a partnership to bring other individuals into Mississippi as a tourism event.”
The on-trace rides will follow the Longleaf Trace along a portion of the Mississippi Central Railroad Line, while the off-road ride will veer through country roads in Lamar and Jeff Davis counties. Four rest stops will be offered on the Longleaf Trace, with two additional rest stops on the off-trace route.
Participants on the 88- and 100-mile routes are required to check in at the Bassfield rest stop by 11 a.m., and all participants must be finished by 3 a.m. All finishers in the 30-, 65-, 88-, 100-mile and family rides will receive a Finisher’s Medal, while all 100-mile participants will receive a Hattie Hundred Railroad Spike.
Registration fees vary depending on the length of the ride and can be viewed at www.bikesignup.com. Although online registration ended yesterday, ride packets are available from noon-6 p.m. at Moore’s Bicycle Shop or from 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Friday at CYCLEBAR Hattiesburg. Participants also can register from 5:30-6:30 a.m. on the day of the ride at the Hattiesburg Train Depot.
Every person who registers will receive two free CYCLEBAR rides, a goodie bag, T-shirt, medal and a raffle ticket with a chance to win prizes from Moore’s Bicycle Shop and Regions Bank’s Bike. Food also will be provided.
“The most important reason for people to participate in the Hattie Hundred is to have fun,” Ward 4 Councilwoman Mary Dryden said. “While enjoying a great activity, participants also help DREAM continue to provide the excellent programs that promote a healthy lifestyle for children and youth and their families.
“Hattiesburg has the potential for and is quickly becoming a well-known destination for arts and cycling experiences.”
Dryden said the ride is a great opportunity for participants to learn what Hattiesburg is all about and get a glimpse of some of the city’s most well-known sites.
“It will traverse through historic neighborhoods, passing beautiful parks and landmarks such as Sacred Heart Church and schools – home of the state champion girls soccer team – our iconic baseball stadium on Hutchinson Avenue by Hattiesburg High School, home of the state champion Lady Tigers basketball team, and the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi on the Trace,” she said.
In celebration of the race, the Hattiesburg Alliance for Public Art recently installed two outdoor sculptures along the route: Ethan Morrow’s “Uphill Battle” at Buschman and Mobile Streets, and Aaron P. Hussey’s “Rouge Rider” at Hutchinson Avenue and West Fourth Street. The works join six other downtown installed by HAPA, as well as three works purchased by the group for Hattiesburg’s permanent collection.
So far, about 190 participants have signed up for the Hattie Hundred 2018 Bike Ride – up from last year’s number of 120.
“Why would anyone want to miss this?” Dryden said. “I would encourage a ‘look-see’ at the Hattie Hundred website and consider signing up as an individual cyclist or to enjoy the new family ride. It’s a great tim