The Cowbelle Classic Bike Ride For Women is a woman-only bike ride for participants of various cycling levels. The goal of the Cowbell Classic is to broaden the cycling community, which goes beyond cycling and health. The event is not timed in order to encourage cyclists to enjoy a social, relaxed, and non-competitive environment. Cycling is a ageless sport, as seen in this event. Proceeds go to three local nonprofit organizations.
Following the success of last year’s ride, the Boone Area Cyclists will host the second annual Cowbelle Classic Women’s Bike Ride on August 26. The ride will start at 8 am at Old Cove Creek School in Sugar Grove, NC, and includes four route options of varying lengths and difficulty. The ride is designed to accommodate women riders who are relatively new to cycling as well as more advanced riders who are interested in riding longer and more challenging routes.
Last year’s ride was filled to capacity with 100 riders and a waiting list. This year, the ride is open to 150 participants. Proceeds from the ride will benefit the Boone Area Cyclists, the Mountain Alliance LIFT program for girls, and OASIS. Registration is $30 and includes lunch and a t-shirt. A Cowbelle Classic cycling jersey will be available for purchase online this summer before the event.
The ride’s slogan is “All women. Two wheels. One community.” The benefits of cycling for women go beyond health and fitness. Having a community of supportive riders is important as well. 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 and meet other riders. Check the Cowbelle Classic Facebook page for updates about training rides and other news.
Last year’s ride was the subject of a research project by Annie Pharr, one of the ride’s organizers and a student at Appalachian State University. Ride participants were surveyed after the ride to find out what they thought about the experience and what their motivations were for participating. Ninety-three percent of the 72 riders who responded to the survey said that the women-only nature of the ride was a major reason they had participated, and 100% of them said they were satisfied with the ride.
Riders ranged in age from 11 to 74, and the variety of routes to choose from likely encouraged such a wide range of age groups to participate. Because there are so many routes to choose from, riders can customize their experience and make sure they are comfortable with the terrain they will be encountering. Most riders said that having fun was more important than being competitive. The ride is not timed because the organizers want to encourage a more relaxed, social, and non-competitive atmosphere. You can view a video about the Cowbelle research project at https://youtu.be/Bm4KOZBAyOo
A number of local businesses and groups are sponsoring the Cowbelle Classic, including Mast General Store,High Gravity Adventures, Magic Cycles, Boone Bike and Touring, Jamie Leigh CPA, OP Smiles Orthodontists, Team Maria, and Reed’s Cafe. Sponsors at the $250 level or above can have their logos printed on the Cowbelle Classic t-shirt and banners. Sponsors at the $500 level can have their logo on the t-shirt, the event banner, and the jersey. Sponsors will also be recognized on social media.
For more information about becoming a sponsor ,email [email protected] or visit booneareacyclists.com to fill out the sponsorship form. The deadline for sponsorships is August 1 for sponsors who would like their logos to be on the t-shirt and July 1 for sponsors to get their logo on the jersey.
Women can register for the ride at booneareacyclists.com. Scroll down to find the Cowbelle Classic link. Riders must be registered by August 1 to be guaranteed a t-shirt. The event is limited to 150 riders. Men and women are invited to volunteer at the ride—last year’s participants said that the great volunteers were one of the best things about the ride.
Visit the website for more information about how to sign up to help out. Volunteers who sign up in advance will receive lunch on ride day.