In the summer months, fair-weather cyclists don’t have to look far, for a reason to ride. Cyclists are helped along, on a sunny summer day, gathering to ride together, in friendship, and to explore a newly revitalized region. The people of Buckeye Lake have made it rather enticing, luring cyclists in with the promise of making a charitable donation, cruising around the lake, then raising a glass of wine.
In partnership with Buckeye Lake Winery, in Farfield Beach, OH, the organizers of “Bike Buckeye Lake” put together an impressive post-ride party, on the lawn behind the winery, with views of the lake, and recreational boating. The tour, which consists of 8, 25 or 37 mile routes, circumnavigating Buckeye Lake, was a tour to celebrate the renewal of Buckeye Lake, after years of community investment.
Repairing a dam that was failing, due to increasing local development, efforts were made to drain the lake, then widen and reinforce the dam. The renewal of the lake brought with it a renewed interest in recreational opportunities in the area, including the cycling community.
The $25 pre-registration for the ride covered the supported ride, and a glass of wine at the end. Riders and volunteers were chatting about the wine, before riders took off, in the early morning. Even the late arrivals, heading out on the route long after the first group hit the road, were encouraged to make a speedy return, to enjoy the lake. . . and the wine.
Proceeds from the ride benefit the Bike Buckeye Lake Christmas Bike Drive, providing access to bikes, and the freedom, independence and joy that they bring, to a first-time bike owner.
“Bike Buckeye Lake is a non-profit organization dedicated to the development of multi-use trails around the Buckeye Lake Region. We also raise funds to provide new bicycles and helmets to needy children in the three-county region surrounding Buckeye Lake.” (Bike Buckeye Lake, Inc. )
Cycling brings families together, bridging the generational gap. Couples strengthen the bonds of their relationship, riding side-by-side down the road, or sometimes in tandem. Groups of friends gather, riding in a friendly rhythm, chatting along the way. Sometimes, friends find each other on the road (or in the parking lot) accidentally, drawn to the event, unaware that their friends are also planning to be in attendance. Bikes bring them together. . . or maybe it’s the charity. . . or the wine!
The cycling community is tightly knit, but also very welcoming. The stickers and magnets on car bumpers suggest that this is not the first ride for most of these cyclists. There’s evidence of community cycling groups, charity rides, and common social interests. Bike education / awareness is front and center, and there’s a general spirit of acceptance and support.
Being just an hour outside of Columbus, it’s not surprising to see evidence of strong support for the annual Pelotonia ride, for cancer research. With 100% of donations being funneled directly into cancer research, the ride has gathered a strong, loyal following. Many of these riders are drawn to the charity supported by the Buckeye Lake ride.
It was gracious of the winery to open their doors to this event, and participants left with a coupon in hand, with discounts for their next visit. But the event was good business for the winery, and the wine was well received. From flatbreads to deep fried green beans, I heard nothing but compliments about the food.
There’s something to be said about having a relaxed place to unwind, after 30+ miles on the bike. The 25 mile route was a basic loop of the lake, but there were optional side excursions that added another 10 or so miles, showcasing small pockets of the Buckeye Lake neighborhoods. The tour invited many visitors to the lake for the first time, which will likely lead to future, return visits.
I have a winery coupon to use, so I’ll likely be back!
It’s not uncommon for a bike ride to conclude with a deep sign of contentment, casual conversation with friends (old and new), and a glass raised in celebration . . . celebration of the ride, the physical accomplishment of completing it, and the camaraderie of a shared experience. The ride itself builds mutual trust and friendship, among people who have spent quality time together, overcoming personal doubts and sharing personal successes.
That’s definitely something to raise a glass to! Cheers!
Join me on my next adventure,
Buckeye Lake State Park: http://parks.ohiodnr.gov/buckeyelake
Buckeye Lake Winery:
Bike Buckeye Lake (Facebook): https://www.facebook.com/bikebuckeyelake/
Bike Buckeye Lake: http://bikebuckeyelake.org/
Ohio Department of Natural Resources: Buckeye Lake: http://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/buckeyelake