Experienced cyclists who can conquer 100 miles in a day and beginners just hoping to make 15 miles will find the Sept. 7 Amish Country Bike Tour one of the top East Coast cycling events. It also soothes the appetites of cyclists during the famous pie stop at an Amish schoolhouse where locally baked pies are served.
“We have people registered from age 1 to 82,” said Lorraine Dion, director of special events and public relations for Kent County Tourism, the nonprofit organization that produces the event. “Obviously the 1-year-old will be a passenger, but it shows the diversity of ages and that families, teams, singles and couples can enjoy the event.”
Online and mail-in registration will remain open through Sept. 4, and cyclists may also register on the day of the event from 7 to 10 a.m. Mass start begins at 8 a.m. for the 15-, 25-, 50-, 62- and 100-mile loops. Each loop starts and stops at Legislative Mall.
Cost of the event is $60 per adult; $30 for ages 5-16; and free for children under 5. It includes a full catered barbecue meal, map, up to four food/rest stops including the famous pie stop at the Amish Schoolhouse. New this year, Dover’s own Fordham Brewery will pour samples of craft beer from noon to 3 p.m. while Celtic Harvest performs Irish folk music.
Many refer to the Amish Country Bike Tour as their warm-up ride for a series of fall cycling events to come. Another reason cyclists flock to Dover for the event is the fact that this bike tour does not require cyclists to raise money for causes. A portion of every registration fee benefits the Dover YMCA, participating churches and the Amish Schoolhouse Fund. Over the years, thousands of dollars have been donated to these causes on behalf of the cyclists.
"One of the reasons why the Amish Country Bike Tour is one of the longest-running and perhaps most popular bike tours on the East Coast," said Dion. "Our roads are as flat as a pancake, as our Amish neighbors would say.” Last year’s event drew 2,200 cyclists from a 25-state region and the UK.
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 Friday evening at the beautifully restored Schwartz Center for the Arts in Dover. Tickets are now on sale at http://www.schwartzcenter.com. In addition, the Riverwalk Festival will be going on Sept. 5-7 in nearby Milford.