Hearts for Our Hospital Bicycle Challenge coming next month to The Villages

The Hearts for Our Hospital Bicycle Challenge/Big Bike Weekend will be Nov. 8-10 in The Villages.

The weekend will center around the La Hacienda Recreation Center.

On Friday, Nov. 8,  things get rolling with the Cycling Expo and Health Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The parking lot will feature David’s World Cycle and Village Cycles displaying the latest in bikes and bike technology from leading vendors such as Trek, Giant and Specialized. Each vendor will have e-bikes on hand to take out for a demo ride. Also, come and check out the A&P Cycling Tours custom cycling bus – a bus configured to take about 30 riders AND their bikes in air conditioned comfort to unique ride destinations. On-site registration for the Bicycle Challenge can be done during Expo hours and you can pick up your ride packet during Expo hours and an extended packet pickup from 5 to 7 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 9 features the Fifth Annual Hearts for Our Hospital Bicycle Challenge. Register before Oct. 28 to avoid the next price increase. The first ride (100-mile route) rolls out from the La Hacienda Recreation Center at 7:30 a.m.  The remaining four routes will follow at staggered intervals. The Bicycle Challenge is a great opportunity to stretch your riding skills. All routes will have rest stops located at convenient intervals and stocked with drinks for hydration and food for fuel. There will also be a bevy of support vehicles and services available to help with flat tires or other mechanical issues. At the ride finish, R.J. Gator’s Das Krankenhaus Biergarten will be serving up beer, wine and some good old-fashioned Gemütlichkeit! Ron The Music Man will be spinning your favorite Oktoberfest tunes and The Villages Deutscher Club will be dancing, leading sing-a-longs and traditional Oktoberfest toasts. Villages Rehab and Nursing Center is sponsoring the post-ride lunch of ham, turkey or veggie subs, cole slaw, chips, cookies and beverages. The Kona Ice Truck will be on-hand to help with your post-ride cool down.

Sunday, Nov. 10 will feature free club rides compliments of the Sumter Landing Bicycle Club. The club rides will be about 2 – 2 1/2 hours in length. All pace groups are invited. Ride distance will be a function of which pace group you go out with, but plan on about 24 miles for the lower paced group, 32 miles for the mid-range and 40-50 miles for the faster groups. You can sign up for the free club ride during registration for the Bicycle Challenge.

Big Bike Weekend is a charity fundraising event to raise funds for The Villages Regional Hospital Auxiliary Foundation. Proceeds go to support the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment, as well as medical education scholarships to area high school seniors pursuing degrees in medical and allied health-related programs. The $2,000 scholarships, once earned, are automatically renewed each year that the student remains in good academic standing with their college or university.  Through four years, the event has raised more than $191,000.