Aug 17, 2010
On Saturday, the number of bicycles in Athens will increase exponentially.
Hundreds of cyclists will spin into town, completing the first leg of Pelotonia bike tour, from Columbus to Ohio University's TailGreat Park, located between the Convocation Center and the Hocking River.
Only in its second year, the Pelotonia has nearly doubled, with more than 3,900 riders registered to participate. About 2,000 of the cyclists will spend the night in Athens before departing the next morning to finish the tour.
The Pelotonia is a grass-roots initiative to raise money for cancer research through the two-day event. Riders can participate in any of four separate rides, ranging from 23 miles to the 180-mile round-trip tour from Columbus to Athens. Cyclists are expected to arrive to town around noon on Saturday.
Because fewer students live on campus during the summer, the university is able to donate residence hall rooms in Convocation Center, Wilson Hall and Boyd Hall to the cyclists staying the night.
"It's a good venue for us to lodge at," Jessica Kinman said, the Pelotonia director of publicity and communications. "OU's been great for us."
The cyclists and their families and supporters are not only backing the fight against cancer, but they also are supporting the local economy when they stay in Athens' hotels, dine at restaurants or browse uptown shops. This influx of consumers is appreciated by Athens businesses.
"[The Pelotonia] is a big community event during typical down time," said Ron Lucas, the assistant service-safety director for the city of Athens.
The Athens community can contribute to the Pelotonia cause by showing moral support to the visiting cyclists.
"It's a good event to show we have support for those people that have survived cancer or have loved ones who have," Lucas said.
Volunteers are still needed in Athens for the event. Anyone who wants to volunteer should visit www.pelotonia.org/ride/volunteer.jsp.*