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Old 07-23-07, 11:55 AM   #1
Conveyor Belt
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Made the Paper!

I've been trying to organize a weekly family oriented community ride in my area. We made the paper this week, and perhaps this Saturday, we'll have more riders.

http://www.hattiesburgamerican.com/a...33/1002/NEWS17

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Skip the fancy spandex garb.

Pack a helmet.

Tote a bike, and join a new group of cyclists for a refreshing and scenic hour-long bike trek through Hattiesburg.

It's called Tour de Hattiesburg and it's an idea that's catching on, thanks to Hiram Hill, a bike enthusiast who posts a weekly bike route online.

Every Saturday morning, Hill and others meet at 7:30 a.m. at the newly remodeled train depot parking lot in downtown Hattiesburg for what some are calling a great way to fellowship, meet people, have fun and stay healthy.

"I like riding in a group," John Thomsen, 67, said.

The Petal resident caught wind of Hill's bike ride plans on a Hattiesburg American forum and tried the group out last week.

That ride - which took him through the historic district, down brick streets and through places not easily accessible - hooked him.

"They're true, pleasurable and scenic bike rides," he said yesterday during his second week riding with the group.

The post-dawn city sights and sounds is what keeps Jeff Moore, 17, pedaling along with the group.

"I like to come out when the city is quiet and take a ride," the Petal resident said.

Hill of Petal has watched the group grow from four riders to 10 since starting about a month ago.

"I'd like to see this whole parking lot be full," he said, glancing around at the cars with bike racks parked in the depot lot.

He's a biker with a fitness goal.

"I was going to school, and I was overweight," he said, explaining how he got hooked on the healthy hobby.

To reach weight goals, Hill began biking the 14-mile, round-trip haul from Petal to the University of Southern Mississippi for classes.

But he had to do some preliminary endurance work first to get in shape.

"I started riding my bike around the neighborhood to be able to go the full distance," he said. "I built up from 1 mile, to 4 miles - then 10."

Now, he rides 20 to 30 miles a week. The pounds melted away, but not as rapidly as he had hoped.

"I'd lose more if I had time to ride," Hill said, adding he works two jobs and attends school full time.

Weight loss isn't Hill's only motivating force.

"I feel more self-sufficient on a bike rather than having to trust the mechanics of a car," he said.

And he's proud.

"It's a feeling of accomplishment - going from a half-mile to the full distance," Hill said, adding he'd like to see more people out riding.

Tour De Hattiesburg rides take about an hour, and riders cover about 10 miles.

James Moore, owner of Moore's Bike Shop in Hattiesburg and a Petal alderman, takes part in the rides. He said casual, coffee shop-type clothing is recommended instead of expensive, intimidating bike gear.

"They're flat-footed, laid-back rides," Moore said.
Just thought I'd share.
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Old 07-23-07, 12:05 PM   #2
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I just saw this on myhattiesburg.com.. i think i may join ya'll this saturday..
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Old 07-23-07, 04:58 PM   #3
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Well done. It's great to read that you've been able to get some people riding and riding together like that. Keep it up!
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Old 07-23-07, 07:37 PM   #4
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I bow to you, sir. We need more people like you and those on your ride in this world...
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Old 07-23-07, 10:10 PM   #5
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What do you do to the guys that show up in the fancy spandex garb?
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Old 07-24-07, 01:14 AM   #6
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I think they have their own little secret rides somewhere. Spandex is allowed, but it's kind of intimidating to those who are just casual riders. I have some bike shorts I wear under my regular shorts just because they're more comfortable, padding, muscle assist, etc.

Two of the four original riders are spandex wearing, one of them is a triathlete, but they like the laid back rides, too...

so to answer your question, spandex are allowed to ride, but we really try to keep the group together.
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Old 07-24-07, 08:00 AM   #7
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There is a group ride of about 10-15 people sundays at 1:30p at the Gateway to Longleaf.

I went a few sundays ago and It was mostly older people (50+) however they are fast! I was definately giving my best.

My avg solo rides are ~17-18mph and i think we avgd 25-27mph. All lycra, all road bikes.

Great group of people to ride with and learn. I plan on doing their ride again if i can ever be in H'burg on a sunday. I also plan on trying to make this ride on saturdays... is it every saturday at 730?
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Old 07-24-07, 09:16 AM   #8
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Every Saturday at 7:30... We're not that fast, though. Trying to just get the average joe out there as opposed to the road bike crowd.

I saw the Hub City Cyclist site, and the photos are definite road bike riders. That kind of scares the average person away from cycling. Now, they can get into that later, but I'd like to get people to take that bike they bought 2 years ago off the hook in the garage, air up the tires, and come join us for a nice ride. No sport, no competition.

John Thomsen lived in the area growing up 60 years ago. He tells stories the whole time of this or that, and it's really cool to hear.

the HCC are great for people who want a fast paced ride, and I think there's room for a less athletic oriented group of riders in the Hub city.

BTW, average speed on the rides is about 12mph.
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Old 07-26-07, 09:28 PM   #9
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That's excellent, especially since it seems to be a very non-competitive environment. Good for you!
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