Pedaling through scenic back roads in tandem with Amish buggies, being surrounded by fields dotted with farmers steering horse-drawn farm implements as they harvest fall crops, is part of the scenery that makes Delaware's Amish Country Bike Tour a memorable ride for cyclists. This year's tour is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 7.
Cyclists can save $10 when they register by mail or online by Wednesday, July 31 at http://www.AmishCountryBikeTour.com. There are five loops - 15, 25, 50, 61 and 100 miles - so cyclists can choose their own course. From beginners and families with young children to the experienced distance cyclist, the Amish bike tour sees participates from 2 to 82 years of age. Presenting sponsor of this year’s event is WSFS Bank.
Every fall for the past 27 years, cyclists from all over the country have rallied in Dover to participate in this event. Many refer to the Amish Country Bike Tour as their "warm up ride” for a series of fall cycling events to come. Others make it a pleasant weekend getaway, and some come just for the locally-baked apple, cherry, blueberry and pumpkin pies that are served at the famous “pie stop,” the Amish school house.
The ride begins and ends on Legislative Mall in the heart of Delaware's historic capital city. After cycling by city parks and a host of historic buildings, the tour takes cyclists on a journey throughout Kent County during the beginning of harvest season, when apples are ripening at our local orchards and farmers are ready to gather their crops.
"There's a reason why the Amish Country Bike Tour is one of the longest-running and perhaps most popular bike tours on the East Coast," said Lorraine Dion, event coordinator. "Our roads are flat, flat, flat - we’re at almost zero degrees sea level, which is a great benefit for cyclists who normally only get to ride in hilly areas,” she said, “Plus, it's not a race, so cyclists can go at their own pace.” Last year’s event drew 2,200 cyclists from a 25-state region.
Following the tour, a catered barbecue meal of pulled pork and chicken is served at historic Legislative Mall. Vegetarian options are also included. This year, Fordham/Dominion Brewing, located in Dover, will be on hand from noon to 3 p.m. serving samples of their locally-brewed craft beer to those 21 and older. Delaware Friends of Folk will also perform from noon to 3 p.m., making the after-tour party a festive event.
“This year, jazz lovers may want to come to town for the weekend as the famous Emmy award-winning jazz guitarist Earl Klugh will be performing on Friday evening at the Schwartz Center for the Arts in Dover,” Dion said. Tickets are now on sale at www.schwartzcenter.com. For more information about the concert go to www.demusic.org.
To register or for more information, call Kent County Tourism at 800-233-5368 or visit http://www.amishcountrybiketour.com.