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Cowbelle Classic: Boone Area Cyclists Hosts High Country’s First Bike Ride for Women

Cowbelle Classic
Cowbelle Classic

Boone Area Cyclists is proud to present the Cowbelle Classic, the first local bicycle event aimed at encouraging women to explore or renew an interest in the sport of cycling. The ride is scheduled for August 27 starting at 9 a.m. at Old Cove Creek School in Sugar Grove, NC, and includes three route options of varying lengths and difficulty. The ride is designed to accommodate riders who are relatively new to cycling as well as more advanced riders who are interested in riding the longer and more challenging routes.

According to the League of American Bicyclists, only 24 percent of bicycle trips in the United States are taken by women. “Women can often be intimidated by this sport for a variety of reasons,” said Beth Jacquot, one of ride organizers. “A women’s supported non-competitive ride is a great way to introduce them to cycling and the community of women who love it.”

The ride’s slogan is “All women. Two wheels. One community.” The benefits of cycling go beyond health and fitness, Jacquot said. “I discovered a community of women who cycle together, share life’s ups and downs, and encourage each other to stay healthy and fit– and sane!” The goal of the Cowbelle Classic is to broaden the community of women cyclists. The organizers hope to offer informal training rides for those who want to prepare for the ride. On ride day, Ride Ambassadors will be available to ride along with those who request it and offer encouragement and good conversation.

Unlike many organized cycling events, the ride will not be timed. “I am not a very competitive person, and I felt that women would enjoy an organized group ride with all the perks but not the pressure of a timed event,” said Roni Ellis, who first proposed an all women’s ride to the Boone Area Cyclists. The perks include a ride t-shirt, a pre-ride social at Appalachian Mountain Brewery the night before, and a post-ride meal catered by a local restaurant. Ellis is a founding member of the Watauga Leisure Cyclists and a former member of the Boone Area Cyclists board of directors.

The ride is made possible in part by support from the Boone Area Cyclists. Clinton Marsh, BAC president, said “The Cowbelle Classic is a truly unique event that encompasses BAC’s overall advocacy mission by providing a welcoming environment to women cyclists that not only offers mentorship but also hopes to foster community among women cyclists in the area. We hope to be able to support similar cycling-related events for High Country residents in the future.”

A number of local businesses and groups are sponsoring the Cowbelle Classic, including Mast General Store, Team Maria, High Gravity Adventures, Magic Cycles, Boone Bike and Touring, Rhoddie’s Bicycle Outfitters, the Wednesday Warriors Cyclists, the Watauga Humane Society, and SPINROW. Sponsors’ logos will be printed on the Cowbelle Classic t-shirt and banners. Sponsors will also be recognized on social media. For more information about becoming a sponsor, email cowbelleclassic@gmail.com or visit booneareacyclists.org/cowbelleclassic to fill out the sponsorship form. The deadline for sponsorships is August 12 for sponsors who would like their logos to be on the t-shirt.

Women can register for the ride at booneareacyclists.org/cowbelleclassic. Riders must be registered by August 12 to be guaranteed a t-shirt. The event is limited to 75 riders. Men and women are invited to volunteer at the ride. Visit the website for more information about how to sign up to help out. Volunteers who sign up in advance will receive a t-shirt and lunch on ride day.