Honeybee Bike Ride gets a big sponsor with See Rock City Inc.
The inaugural Honeybee Bicycle Ride is set to peddle its way throughout Walker County on Saturday, May 13, and now See Rock City has been named as a main sponsor for the event.
On Wednesday, March 29, Bill Chapin, president and CEO of See Rock City Inc, Walker County Commissioner Shannon Whitfield, community volunteer Lisa Heyer, LaFayette Parks & Recreations Director Jason Shattuck, and LaFayette City Manager David Hamilton met at Lover’s Leap inside Rock City to hold a press conference concerning the upcoming event.
“Ladies and gentlemen, it is my distinct pleasure and great honor to welcome all of these people from the Honeybee Bicycle Ride up to Rock City Gardens and it is a wonderful opportunity for Rock City to be a sponsor for the inaugural bike race,” Chapin said.
The half way point of the bike ride will be located at Blowing Springs Farm, which is owned by Rock City.
“It will be a place where families can gather who aren’t riding their bikes, but relax and get refreshed before they start on their way back to LaFayette,” Chapin said.
Chapin said Rock City’s interest in the bike ride stems from being an outdoor attraction itself.
“We are an outdoor attraction that encourages people to get outside and do things with their family and cycling is one of those great all-age athletic events that is something that we can all do,” Chapin said. “It’s not going to be a race, but it is going to be a family event that’s fun.”
Chapin said the Honeybee Bicycle Ride will run concurrently with Rock City’s Spring Blossoms Festival.
“So the first 200 people who sign up for the race -- you don’t have to win -- will get a family pass to come and see beautiful Rock City Gardens. We want to encourage families to cycle and exercise and to do things together because it is fun,” Chapin said.
Heyer, who is heading up the event, was approached by the city of LaFayette to plan the event.
“We are doing a ride which incorporates not only the city of LaFayette, but the city of Chickamauga, the city of Rossville, and Lookout Mountain through Rock City,” Heyer said.
The bike ride will consist of a 10-mile led out by LaFayette Mayor Andy Arnold; a 34-mile route that will go through LaFayette to Chickamauga and back again along the back roads; and the See Rock City Metric ride, which will go from LaFayette through historical areas of Chickamauga over the backside of Chickamauga Battlefield through Rossville to the foot of Lookout Mountain and back again.
There is no age limit on the bike ride.
“We have already had people sign up for this ride coming as far away from South Georgia as Saint Mary’s on the coast, Atlanta, Stone Mountain and all around that area, Chatsworth, Calhoun, Cartersville, up to Chattanooga, Hixson and up in that area to Cleveland, so we are already getting them signed up across the state and into Tennessee to come ride on this,” Heyer said.
Heyer said this is an opportunity to show off the beauty of the area. The proceeds will go to benefit all city recreation departments in the county.
Shattuck said all proceeds will go back to the recreation department to lower registration fees, where soccer, football, baseball, softball and basketball are played annually.
“Our average cost of those programs is right at $78 and we feel like that is a drain on some people’s budget,” Shattuck said.
“We are really wanting to help push up our participation numbers by lowering our registration fees and right now, currently, we are at about 200 kids per season and we would like to see that increase and we think with this ride, the proceeds will help make that possible,” Shattuck said.
Hamilton said the city of LaFayette wants to become more bike- and walk-friendly, as well as promote more robust, frequent events in the city that promotes recreation and expand it to bicycle riding, mountain climbing, camping, and hiking to name a few.
“This is a great opportunity for us to add another event as well as adding and helping grow another type of recreation in our community. The 10-mile bike ride that Mrs. Heyer was mentioning, with the mayor leading it, is a great opportunity to showcase our beautiful little hometown and get to see the local landmarks that we have in LaFayette and we’re very excited to be a part of this and get this started,” Hamilton said.
Whitfield said this is a great event for Walker County that brings all of these communities together.
“It’s a great time of the year for everyone to get out and enjoy the natural beauty of our county,” Whitfield said. “We welcome all of the tourists that are going to be coming to participate in this with us. I think they are going to fall in love with Walker County. We have great things to offer, so this is just very exciting and I appreciate the city of LaFayette doing and kicking this off and also Rock City’s participation and being a sponsor for this, so it is just bringing all ends of our county together and pulling everybody to one event,” Whitfield said.