In only its fourth year, Saturday’s Girlfriend Ride has become one of the largest bicycling events in Indiana and the biggest women’s-only event in the Midwest.
“It’s become a part of Columbus and a tradition in a short amount of time,” said organizer Paul Ashbrook, who with his wife, Carol, coordinate the Hope Ride in September.
Ashbrook already has 1,000 registrations for Saturday’s event, and he expects about 200 more, including those who sign up Saturday morning.
Registration will begin at 7 a.m. at Columbus Learning Center, and the staggered start will have riders taking off between 7:30 and 9 a.m.
Online registrations through today are $30, but they will increase to $40 on Friday and Saturday. Proceeds will go to Turning Point Domestic Violence Services.
Riders can select from 10-, 25- or 50-kilometer routes that will take women through scenic, rural areas, including Anderson Falls, Simmons Winery, the new People Trail extension to Owens Bend Park and Hope.
Ashbrook said he picked roads that typically have less traffic, and the routes are mostly flat.
Although the ride usually has many experienced cyclists, including women who already have signed up from 10 states and Canada, the day also is a fun outing for friends, family and occasional bike riders. Some teams wear matching T-shirts and helmets.
Many stops are planned along the route where women can enjoy live music, food and other activities.
“We get many novice riders, so I encourage them to get their bikes looked at and bring water bottles,” Ashbrook said.
Support staff will be traveling the routes as well to offer assistance to riders who experience any problems.
The ride has become a favorite for many women who make a weekend of it, staying at local hotels for the weekend to enjoy other Columbus-area attractions.
Ashbrook believes one of the reasons for the success of the ride is that women know they are supporting Turning Point and women who have been victims of domestic violence.
In fact, the ride here has been so successful, he wanted to share that success with another city.
Ashbrook searched online for another city not far from here with a domestic violence services program and found the Artemis Center in Dayton, Ohio, and offered to help organize a similar benefit ride.
“I know these agencies are struggling, and I just wanted to share what we’ve started here,” Ashbrook said.
“Dayton seemed to be a good location.”
About 200 riders participated in the first Dayton ride in September.
Last year, the Girlfriend Ride in Bartholomew County raised $20,000, but that was on a rainy day.
This year, the weather is expected to be warm and sunny, so Ashbrook is hoping for a bigger turnout and bigger donation to Turning Point.
Think your friends should see this? Share it with them!comments powered by Disqus
All content copyright ©2013 The Republic, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.