Did you see the movie “Sleepless in Seattle”? How about another great film with Tom Hanks, “Big”? If you somehow combine these movies, you get a love story that grows way beyond your expectations! Laid-back folks who love recumbent cycling came from all over to make the 2015 Recumbent Rally and Convention . . . BIG!
Perhaps the biggest thing accomplished during the nine-day event could be summed up in a word . . . Recumbent. Our signs at the Flowood YMCA and alongside Old Fannin at the Hampton, exposed the word to thousands of motorists every day. The excellent story and online video by Clarion Ledger reporter Todd Sherman, exposed the word and what it means to thousands of readers. The eleven sessions of the 2015 Recumbent Rally and Convention spoke volumes to BentLovers, and all cyclists, that this love story is here to stay . . . and they should look into it more! The theme of “Painless in Flowood” ran through the entire event, as we heard no complaints anywhere about cycling pain, even after six hundred miles of cycling by some riders!!
Here is a brief wrap-up of the different sessions. More, including some pics and videos, can be found on www.ridesouthevents.com as soon as we get to it!
The RideSouth shop was filled to capacity as Janet Buckwalter entertained and informed folks about what it takes to tour on a recumbent. Janet had her trike loaded to the gills and helped folks decide what to pack and what they could do without. The three o’clock Friday kick-off session was well received and should inspire some riders to expand their worlds and take on some big adventures, as Janet has! We hope so!
Bay Ride Session
The four o’clock traffic on Old Fannin was entertained as a two-block-long line of recumbents left the shop and followed bike lanes and trails to Fannin Landing, then around the Pelahatchie Bay and back to the shop. The large group was divided into two subgroups according to speed. As it turned out we could have subdivided further, but a great time was had by all. The newspaper reporter, Todd, even got into the act on a recumbent trike! You can see his story and videos here.
Welcome Dinner Session
The tight scheduling of the sessions was apparent as some folks had to hustle to make the seven o’clock Welcome Dinner at the event hotel, the Hampton Inn in Flowood. But there was plenty of refreshments and good food for the overflow crowd provided by The Corner Bakery! As everyone started to mellow out a bit, we were thoroughly entertained by Greenspeed Trike Guru, Ian Sims. Ian had everyone focused on his colorful history of bringing the whole idea of recumbent trikes to market with an excellent slide show on the big screen!
Metric Century Session
After a good meal and a good night’s sleep, folks gathered at the RideSouth shop for the launch of the RS Metric Century early Saturday morning. We launched right on time and folks crossed the spillway on another gorgeous day! In fact, the weather for EVERY SESSION was SPECTACULAR! After regrouping at the Reservoir Overlook, riders headed north on the fantastic Natchez Trace. An out-and-back ride of one hundred kilometers kept folks occupied until just before noon when the excellent box lunches were served back at the shop. There were hundreds of other riders out for the Ridgeland Century rides as well! It was great to have cyclists outnumbering cars for a change!
Trail Ride Session
The Trail Ride group launched immediately after the Metric Century riders and also regrouped at the Overlook. Ride leaders kept track of everyone through the intricate trail network and got everyone back safely to join the other riders at the shop. There are a number of other routes we can explore for future rides and events. What a great place to be if you are a cyclist, or just someone who enjoys the great outdoors!
Speed Trial Session
Some folks just have that need! So we organized a course just south of Flowood to let that need-for-speed manifest itself! Session leaders counted down for each rider to launch at one minute intervals. The adrenalin rushed as they took off with all they had, to race the clock, or the rider in front . . . or behind! The start was a grueling uphill with a fast finish on the opposite side downhill. We even got Ian Sims to race in the Greenspeed Glyde velomobile that he produced! It seemed appropriate that Kerry Kerr was the fastest on another of Ian’s machines, the new Aero! The Flowood and Airport police kept the cars away from us, and a good time was had by all. We distributed the free frozen yogurt passes to all participants and even some of the helpers and spectators!
Recumbent Forum Session
Perhaps the most attended session, after the Welcome Dinner, the Recumbent Forum was a great interaction between attendees and industry leaders! We had Ian Sims talking trikes, Mike Colliton and Rich Pinto from Bacchetta, talking bikes, and Dr. Bob McGuire talking nutrition. Dr. Bob had a great presentation that we have for you here. There is a wealth of information for your help in food and drink intake while you are burning up the road on your recumbent! Folks told some wonderful recumbent stories and were surprised to receive a cool RideSouth jersey for their trouble! We hope to have sparked some ideas for promoting recumbents in the future, including attracting HPV racers to the area!
Vicksburg Military Park Tour (Ride to) Session
An ambitious session, to be sure! Get up early Sunday morning and ride from the RS shop TO Vicksburg, then ride the Vicksburg Military Park hills with the other riders! The park is nothing but hills and a challenge even if you haven’t ridden sixty miles to get there! Kudos to Doug Morgan and Kerry Kerr for taking the challenge! You can see a video of the route on the www.ridesouthevents.com website!
Vicksburg Military Park (Transport) Session
A more reasonable option for most was to be transported to the park, and then ride the grueling hills. Thanks to Laura Morgan for providing the transport service! The park offers great historical value and an opportunity to burn quite a few calories. After the ride, Paul and Donna Ingram opened their beautiful home overlooking the Mississippi River for the small number of riders taking the challenge, and fed everyone some awesome lasagna! That fuel and a few liquid refreshments prepped riders for the trip to Natchez later Sunday afternoon!
LongLeaf Trace Tour Session
There was a concurrent session competing for cyclists’ time. Transport to the fabulous LongLeaf Trace for a tour from Prentiss to Hattiesburg left an hour earlier than the Vicksburg transport. More folks signed up for the relatively flat LLT than the hilly, military park for their Sunday adventure. No wonder! The RS bus, RS trailer and a rental bus were at capacity as we arrived near scheduled time at the Prentiss Gateway of the LLT. Folks were joined by other recumbent riders there and headed down the Trace to Sumrall, where we served lunch to everyone. It was great to see the Bacchetta guys riding with Dr. Bob, too. After a good lunch break, riders made their way to the Hattiesburg Holiday Inn Suites where we loaded everyone back on the buses and headed back to the RS shop.
Natchez to Nashville Tour Session
The RS bus arrived right on time at the shop Sunday afternoon, and unloaded folks from a great adventure on the LLT. New driver and new riders loaded up to begin the next great rally adventure! Dubbed N2N, the plan was to spend the night in Natchez and leave at mile marker 0.0 at eight o’clock Monday morning. A sendoff evening meal at the Magnolia Grille, overlooking the Mississippi River, prepped the three riders and SAG driver for five days of riding . . . all the way to Nashville! The first day ended up being about one hundred and four miles all the way to Jackson. Overnighting in Jackson, the riders began where they left off and continued to French Camp on Tuesday night. All reported French Camp a five-star stop! Wednesday night found the riders in Tupelo after a fairly long day. Collingwood, Tennessee was the planned stop for Thursday and Nashville for Friday. After tackling the Tennessee hills, riders celebrated at the famous Loveless Cafe, four hundred and forty-four miles from their start five days earlier! An unexpected hotel shortage in Nashville forced a drive back to Tupelo for the night which led to a return welcoming back at the RS shop on Saturday morning, ahead of schedule. Medals and jersey patches were awarded to the deserving riders by many supporters and the RS skeleton crew! Way to go guys and thank you to Rick Eades for SAG support the whole way!
The Recumbent Rally and Convention was a big success thanks to the many volunteers for all the sessions!! It was a success because the weather was PERFECT! It was a success because recumbent suppliers supported the rally, big time! But mostly it was a success because your love story for recumbents got told a little more, thanks to you . . . and that is BIG!
Cast and crew:
Also, thanks to the many supporters and local recumbent riders who were on standby for transport and assistance if needed! A special thanks to the Flowood YMCA, the Flowood Chamber, Chick-fil-A, the Corner Bakery, Flowood Police, Airport Police, AMR, The Rankin County News and The Clarion Ledger for fantastic support before, during and after the rally!! There were many others that offered their support and we are forever grateful!
105 Avalon Court
Brandon, MS 39047