The Marietta Rowing and Cycling Club and the First Unitarian Universalist Church are collaborating to sponsor the 15th annual Holiday Lights Bicycle Tour the evening after Christmas.
The annual ride at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 26, is designed to gather bicyclists interested in exploring Marietta's streets while enjoying the company of other cyclists and the colorful lights decorating area homes, businesses, parks and churches.
The ride begins at the First Unitarian Universalist Church, 232 Third St. There are several parking lots around the church at Third and Putnam streets.
Times file photo
Participants in a past Marietta Holiday Lights Bicycle Tour pedal past the armory Christmas display on Front Street.
Previous rides have included between eight and 85 cyclists.
A variation in the 6-10 mile route (depending upon weather conditions) uses the 1-year-old .5 mile of RiverTrail between Fourth Street and the Historic Harmar Railroad Bridge. Then it follows the remaining 1.7-mile trail to Indian Acres Park.
The route will leave the church and travel up to Fourth Street, joining the RiverTrail at Ohio Street. The ride will follow the entire 2.2 miles of trail to Indian Acres Park and then travel down Front Street to Greene Street. The route will turn left on Second Street up to Montgomery Street, where riders will turn right, carefully cross Third Street (which is not ridden because it is a state route) up to Fourth Street then down to Putnam Street and back up Fifth Street to Montgomery, up Montgomery to Sixth Street, down Sixth around Mound Cemetery and back to the Unitarian Church after a stop at Cisler Terrace Park on Seventh Street to view the Civitan Club's holiday light display.
If you go
What: Annaul Holiday Lights Bicycle Tour
Where: Starting at First Unitarian Universalist Church, 232 Third St., traveling six to 10 miles around town.
When: 7 p.m. Dec. 26
For more information: Contact Roger Kalter, 373-1784 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Hot chocolate and cookies are provided at ride's end at the church, where rest rooms are available both before and after the ride. Donations of cookies (especially home made) are always welcome.
"The ride is a good opportunity for individuals and families to bicycle off a little bit of Christmas fudge,'' said ride coordinator and founder, Roger G. Kalter, rowing and cycling club and church member. "The ride has taken place during a wide variety of weather conditions from clear and 40 degrees to quarter-size snow flakes and 20 degrees.
"There is no bad weather, just bad clothing,'' Kalter said. Riders must wear helmets and have lights (flashlights are okay) attached to their bicycles. It is recommended that cyclists wear layers of clothing to fend off winter temperatures. Children 14 or under must be accompanied by an adult. Children must ride near the supervising adult for everyone's safety.
The church and rowing and cycling club is collaborating with a number of other groups to provide the free ride as a gift to the community. Marietta City Health Department is offering free helmets to children from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays Dec. 8 and 15. Children must accompany an adult to be fitted for the helmets by health department nurses.
Youth from the Washington County Juvenile Center will be working between now and Dec.26 to remove leaves, limbs and other fall vegetation from the RiverTrail in an effort to make it more safe.
Five salt boxes have been placed along the Rivertrail in areas where there are inclines and where the sun is blocked by houses on Front Street. The boxes may be used by any trail user to distribute salt and sand on iced or snowy portions of the trail. The salt is provided by the city and the volunteer-made boxes are replenished by other rowing and cycling club volunteers.
While the ride is free as a gift to the community, participants must sign a liability waiver just before the event begins.
For information: Roger G. Kalter at 373-1784 or email@example.com.