Cyclists will take to area streets Saturday, Aug. 4, during the eighth annual R.A.C.K., or Ride Around Central Kentucky, Tour.
Taking off from the Grayson County Fairgrounds, the tour will wind along Salt River Road and other, less-traveled routes over toward Big Clifty. There will be four routes: 15 miles, 30 miles, 46 miles and 62 miles, with the longer rides skirting into Hardin and Hart counties.
Tours will have staggered starting times, with the longer rides leaving at about 7:30 a.m., the 30-mile tour departing at 8 a.m., and the 15-mile tour leaving at 8:30 a.m.
All rides are expected with wrap up around 1 p.m. back at the fairgrounds, where a barbecue and social will be held, said Joyce Embry of Embry’s Bike Shop, who’s organized most of the ride.
Last year’s tour drew about 160 riders. Embry said she expects that many or more Saturday, and noted they’ve already been contacted by cyclists fro Indiana, Arkansas and Tennessee.
Safety is one of the overriding concerns of the R.A.C.K. Tour. On Monday, Embry said she and her husband, Rick, spent three hours Sunday marking routes, and still had more to do.
In addition to some signs, the Embrys use cycling symbols to mark the route. Those color-coded symbols, spray painted on the edge of the road, help riders stay on their routes and warn them of upcoming turns. They will receive “cue” sheets advising them what symbols to look for.
Cyclists will also have ride leaders for each tour. And there are a couple of rules that are inflexible, Embry said: all riders must wear helmets, and riders under age 16 must be accompanied by adults.
The tours are free, thanks in major part to the Grayson County Tourism Commission, Embry said. A $500 donation from that group is used to pay for food, drinks, fruit and other supplies for the riders, with any leftover funds used for signs.
“SAG,” or “support and gear,” stops are planned at different spots for all four rides. K’s Cafe in Clarkson, for example, will be the resting point for the 15-mile ride. At these stops, riders can get light snacks such as fresh fruit and catch their breath.
Pre-registration is required to participate in R.A.C.K. To register, contact Embry’s Bike Shop at (270) 259-3900 or Joyce Embry at (270) 259-5330 after business hours.
While safety for the cyclists is a top concern, Embry said safety for motorists also comes into play. She urged Grayson County drivers to watch for cyclists along the roads Saturday morning and early afternoon.