24th annual Rails to Trails ride draws nearly 1,000 cyclists

Hundreds of bicyclists will pedal along the Withlacoochee State Trail starting Monday as part of the Bike Florida event.  The trail is a paved, 46-mile-long converted railroad bed that runs through Citrus County. 

The 25th Anniversary edition of the Rails to Trails Bike Ride on the Withlacoochee State Trail is fast approaching, and volunteers are preparing for cyclists from all over the southeast to ride the state trail on Sunday, Oct. 6.

Riders will enjoy a continental breakfast between 7 and 9 a.m. at the Inverness Trail head, 315 N. Apopka Ave., then head out for as long a ride as they wish, up to 100 miles on the beautiful, paved Withlacoochee State Trail. When they return to Inverness between 11 and 3 p.m., they will enjoy a catered lunch of either pulled pork (plus sides) or baked ziti. Those who ride either a Century (100 miles) or a Metric Century (62 miles) will receive medals and certificates.

This ride is legendary for its six amazing rest stops, filled with happy, helpful volunteers serving a vast array of snacks and beverages. All rest stops have modern restroom facilities.

Door prizes this year include a new Terra Trike from Inverness Bicycle & Fitness, a diamond-frame bike from Blue Run Bicycles & Paddle Co., as well as gift certificates for two-night stays at The Plantation, Holiday Inn and Central Motel. Many other door prizes will be awarded to lucky participants who register early for the ride.

Registration fee is $40 for adults and $15 for children. Online registration closes a midnight Oct. 2. Walk-up registration will be $45.

Many riders prefer to start at the Ridge Manor trailhead, but need to notify event planners if they wish to pick up their ride packets there instead of Inverness.

For more detailed information, or to register, go to www.rttwst.org. Click on “Annual Ride” then choose to either register online, or print out an entry form and mail it in. The printable form contains detailed information about the ride, so please consult it for answers to any questions.

The ride is sponsored by the Citrus County Chronicle.

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