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Cyclists ready to pedal through South County at annual Spring Bike Classic

Specialized will donate $5 from each registrant to school health program

Published in the April 13-26, 2016 issue of Morgan Hill Life

By Staff Report

Morgan Hill file photo  Bicyclists ride through the back country of South Valley during last year's Spring Bike Classic.

Morgan Hill file photo
Bicyclists ride through the back country of South Valley during last year’s Spring Bike Classic.

More than a thousand cyclists are expected to pedal along the rural roads around Morgan Hill during the third annual Bicycling Spring Classic scenic ride presented by Specialized Bicycle Components Sunday April 24.

Participants both local and from throughout the West Coast will ride with Bicycling magazine editors and the staff of Specialized Bicycles, headquartered in Morgan Hill, around the iconic lunch ride loops used to test cutting-edge Specialized bikes and equipment.

The day begins with the 90-mile ride rolling out at 8 a.m., followed by a 60-mile ride departing at 9 a.m. A casual 25-mile ride will start at 10 a.m., and a family friendly five-mile ride will start at 11:30 a.m. Riders will enjoy rolling hills, stunning views of agrarian valleys, and shady lanes on each course.

Riders of all ability levels will enjoy the “pro treatment” with attentive on-course mechanical, medical, and nutritional support; timing chips for the full route, and prizes for select climbs. Riders 17-and-younger can participate in any of the three distances for a special youth rate of $20. Morgan Hill hosted about 700 riders during the Bicycling Spring Classics in 2014 and 2015.

All rides start and finish at Specialized’s headquarters at Concord Circle. The four routes were specially designed to engage riders of all skill levels, making this event one for every kind of rider. The longest two rides feature a KOM/QOM (King/Queen of the Mountain) challenge, with timing on designated climbs (two climbs on the 60-mile route, three on the 90-mile route), with prizes awarded to the fastest climbers. Both of the longer two routes will give enthusiasts the chance to ride in a peloton, Tour de France-style, at a quick and controlled pace — or to explore scenic roads at their own pace. The 25-mile distance is a beginner-friendly ride that shows off many of Morgan Hill’s bike amenities, with accessible terrain and views of the idyllic countryside surrounding Morgan Hill.

New for 2016, the five-mile route will give families the chance to explore Morgan Hill’s neighborhoods and bike paths, while escorted by bike safety professionals. The five-mile ride costs $15.

On all four courses, roving safety and mechanical support teams will support riders, aiding with any flat tires or other breakdowns that may occur. Cyclists will also have the chance to stop at rest stops to stock up on fuel and drink to power through each distance.

All rides conclude with a family-friendly festival with an included food truck-catered lunch, refreshments and beer from a local brewery, a bicycle industry expo — including a rare chance to visit Specialized’s company museum and “Win Tunnel,” a key facility used to help the company develop new products and hone the competitive advantage for the Tour de France and other marquee cycling events.

Family activities at the expo include a dedicated KidZone including a bounce house, kids’ bicycle skills clinic, and the chance to visit with the Morgan Hill fire and police departments, and the California Highway Patrol.

This year, for every rider who registers for the Spring Classic, Specialized will donate $5 to help launch an exciting new healthy schools initiative at the Morgan Hill Unified School District. Riders have the opportunity to add their own gift when registering for the ride, to help the event reach a goal of raising $5,000 for this program that encourages students, teachers and parents to live healthy, active lifestyles through exercise and by cutting out sugary drinks.

Bicycling and Specialized are working directly with the city of Morgan Hill and the Morgan Hill Tourism Alliance to create a safe and community-friendly environment that attracts riders and families from across the country.

For more information, visit www.bicyclingspringclassic.com.