WHEELING - More than 300 bicyclists from at least eight states are expected to celebrate the Wheeling Heritage Trail and beyond late next month.
The sixth-annual Wheeling Heritage Trail Bicycle Tour presented by the Ohio Valley Trail Partners will kick off at 8:30 a.m. May 27 at Heritage Port. Its supporters are expecting a larger crowd than in previous years.
"Ninety-eight percent of the feedback has been very positive," said Trail Partners President Doug Wayt. "A Pittsburgh group called it 'the Cadillac biking event of our region.'"
Tour date registration will begin at 8 a.m., and riders can sign up for three different tours. The 100-kilometer tour will begin at 8:30 a.m. and will take riders from the port, over the Heritage Trail, to Bethany College, to Wellsburg and back. The horn will sound for the 10- and 25-mile tours at 9 a.m., and they will remain on the trail. Each tour will have several rest stops to provide water and snacks.
Pre-registration is available until May 25 with a discounted entry fee; the first 250 riders signing up early are guaranteed an event T-shirt. Discounted family rates also are available.
Helmets are required, and each child also must be registered with an adult.
"The funds are used to support the trails and new trail development," Wayt said.
He added there will be door prizes, entertainment and lunch available. Also, the city of Wheeling, Wayt said, will provide support this year with Wheeling Police and Fire department escorts to ensure rider safety.
Wayt noted this event is "not a race" and is intended to encourage fitness and wellness.
The tour will welcome back its eldest participant, Al Weidetz, 92, of Wheeling, who is already pre-registered. Weidetz, a World War II veteran, participated the past five years.
"It's just amazing," Wayt said. "I just hope to be able to see my toes at 92."
Registration forms are available at the Quick Service Bicycle Shop in Martins Ferry, Wheelcraft Bicycles in Elm Grove, the YMCA of Wheeling J.B. Chambers Branch, the Howard Long Wellness Center of Wheeling and Center Town Fitness in Wheeling.
For information, call the Quick Service shop at (740) 635-3700 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.