The Journal Gazette
Sunday, June 02, 2019 1:00 am

Spring Cycle welcomes riders of all abilities

MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

There were mountain bikes and 10-speeds, touring two-wheelers and racing bicycles. Kids' bicycles mixed with the bigger versions of their parents' bikes.

At least one bicycle built for two was downtown Saturday, and a handful of riders entered their recumbent bikes – machines allowing the user to sit in a reclined position, rather than hunched over the handlebars – in a Fort4Fitness event.

More than 1,100 riders gathered under mostly sunny skies at the starting line Saturday morning for the eighth annual Spring Cycle. Temperatures were in the 70s as participants set off, traveling east on East Main Street to begin rides as long as 100 kilometers.

The event also offered shorter rides: 10 miles, 16 miles and 32 miles.

That's what makes Spring Cycle unique, according to organizers. There's something for everyone.

“One of the coolest things about Fort4Fitness, whether it's the Spring Cycle, Fall Festival or the winter event, is that everyone can participate at some level,” Executive Director Satin Lemon said in an email. “You don't have to be the best or fastest, it's just about getting out there and having fun. Don't ever be afraid to be a beginner. We want everyone to be a part of it.”

Jim Swift and his sons epitomize that rationale.

Swift, Tony, 14, and Ricky, 12, took part Saturday in their fourth Spring Cycle. They started with a shorter ride and have worked up to the 32-mile ride.

The Swifts, of Fort Wayne, were all smiles as they unloaded their bicycles and got their gear ready in a parking lot near the starting line in front of the Arts United Center.

“We love to ride,” Jim Swift said. “Great event.”

The event also featured a Kids Zone, with face-painting, sidewalk chalk, a make-your-own-trail-mix station and a place to decorate bike helmets.

Riders received medals made from bamboo and recycled parts from bicycles.

The youngest rider was 4, and three riders were older than 80, organizers said.

“The Fort4Fitness Spring Cycle is more than a morning bicycle ride in Indiana's second-largest city,” Mayor Tom Henry wrote in a statement included in materials distributed to participants. “It's part of a community-wide effort to get people of all ages in motion.”

Jason and Stephanie Nees rode the 16-mile course with friends Ryan and Amy Johnson. Jason and Ryan work at Franklin Electric and said the company sponsored their ride.

The foursome was among the first groups of riders to cross the finish line around 10:30 a.m.

“It was perfect,” Jason said.

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