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If it's fun, fitness and friendship you're looking for this summer, consider joining the Akron Bicycle Club.
Running in one form or another since 1965, the club formed when a few folks who were regulars of Jim Beres’ bicycle shop and who enjoyed riding their multi-speed bicycles decided to get together and ride as a group for companionship, fitness and to learn more about the sport.
Now, more than 40 years after the first ride, the ABC stands at about 190 paying members and 250 mailing list subscribers.
Fred Wise, a member of the ABC for a little more than a year and editor of the club's newsletter, says the ABC isn’t just about cycling—it’s about socializing and sharing a love of something with others.
“There’s a wide variety of people in the club,” Wise says. “Some bust their butts; they ride as hard as they can and as far as they can.”
But others, Wise says, are members because they enjoy the social aspect. In fact, Wise adds, about 25 to 30 percent of the club members socialize on a regular basis, meeting up at the Winking Lizard Tavern in the Merriman Valley after a ride to share a beer or talk about mutual experiences.
For single cyclists, there’s SPOKES, or Single People On Karefree ExcursionS, which emphasizes fitness and companionship at all levels of cycling ability.
However, despite the name, the ABC isn't just about cycling.
Wise says in the colder months, group members get together to go on hikes or other outdoor activities, and during the summer some will go out for a hike rather than bike the towpath trails in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
“It’s kind of a loosey-goosey organization,” Fred explains, in that anyone can contact the club, suggest a ride route or a meeting place for the club.
In addition, the club’s weekly rides are free and open to the public, as long as you follow the rules—everyone wears a certified bicycle helmet.
The club has a number of annual rides, the first one for the year being the “Think Spring” event, which Wise says is always interesting in that sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate with the thinking behind Spring.
Wise explains this year’s “Think Spring” ride on April 12 was a bit gray and overcast with some rain showers—still better than last year’s ride, which Wise says featured snow.
No matter—some bikers strapped on their hiking boots instead, determined not to let the lack of “spring thinking” get them down.
The rides for the club range from short and simple to long and tough, some over multiple days. One such ride is the ‘Roscoe Ramble,’ a two-day and 110-mile ride through Amish country, celebrating its 34th anniversary this year.
From cycling, to outdoor activities, to meeting others with common interests, the ABC has a little something for everyone in both cold and warm weather.
“I enjoy it because of the company,” Wise says. “You always wind up meeting somebody new.”
For more information on upcoming rides or events held by the ABC, or to suggest a group ride, visit the club’s Web site at www.akronbike.org, or visit the mailing list at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/akronbike.
Upcoming ABC Events
June 6-8 No Frills Tandem Weekend
July 13 Absolutely Beautiful Country Ride
Aug. 16-17 Roscoe Ramble