Apr. 16—The delicate pink blooms of the redbud trees throughout the county is the theme that will bring hundreds of cyclists through the area this weekend.
The annual Redbud Ride is set for this weekend and currently has over 900 people registered, although organizers are expecting more to show up on Saturday as temperatures are expected to be 61 degrees with only a 20% chance of rain. Overcast skies will make the ride more comfortable for participants, which is another drawing factor for many cyclists, and organizers predict that the cyclists could exceed 1,000 people.
But this year's event will also offer a variety of activities for the entire community.
Daniel Carmack, chair of the Redbud Ride sponsored by London Downtown, said this year's event will feature a Block Party, a Junior Redbud Ride, games, and food and drink vendors.
Cyclists will be touring the roadways of northeastern and eastern Laurel County along four designated routes that extend into Rockcastle and Jackson counties.
The first-ever Junior Redbud Ride will offer a facet for children ages 6 to 10. The shorter route will take child riders around downtown London in designated sections approved by city police for a new twist to involve more local people into the spirit of cycling.
While cyclists will be taking off from Farmers Market at 8 a.m. and after, the Junior Redbud Ride will begin around 9 a.m.
"Those interested in the Junior Redbud Ride can visit the Redbud Ride's Facebook page to register or sign up on Saturday morning," he said.
But while hundreds of cyclists are touring the countryside, community members are encouraged to come to Farmers Market and participate in a variety of activities at the Block Party that will feature games, live music, food and drink vendors and an afternoon of festivities for the entire family. The Block Party will begin at 1 p.m. and continue until 8 p.m. Musical groups performing will be Eight Daze Sober, AP & Co., Paint Creek and Brennan Shortridge & The Boys. Pivot Brewery, Jarfly Brewing, Cave Hill Vineyard & Winery, Country Boy Brewing, The Butcher's Pub and West Sixth Brewing will be offering their selections while food vendors will be serving their finest.
"We will have sweets, hot dogs, hamburgers, barbecue, and other food items available," Carmack said. "We will also have Redbud Ride T-shirts and other items available for purchase. There will be a giant Jenja games and giant Connect Four game — we wanted to have inflatables but due to COVID we couldn't offer those this year. But we do have games and a bicycle giveaway "
Those wishing to purchase items before Saturday's event can also visit the Redbud Ride's Facebook page and scroll to the Redbud Ride Shop. Carmack said this year's T-shirts were provided through a partnership with BSN Sports, as were several other sponsorships.
"We try to partner with local businesses and promote the community," he said. "These partnerships have worked out very well and we're hoping the community will come out and support our town and participate in the events this year."
The Redbud Ride itself is the first of Kentucky's Century Rides in which cyclists complete four 100-mile routes. Carmack said he hoped motorists would be aware of the cyclists when driving along those routes and follow the safety rules for cyclists. The Yellow Route of 24 miles will take cyclists from Main Street to East 4th Street onto McWhorter Street and into the McWhorter Road area toward KY 30. The return route will follow the same route back into town.
The Orange Route is 34 miles but extends from McWhorter Road onto Johnson Road to Taylor School Road before returning back to McWhorter Road to McWhorter Street and back to Farmers Market.
The Green Route of 72 miles veers off McWhorter Road into the Hazel Green areas, winding along Greenmount Bond Road to KY 30 to Crossroads Fire Department. Winding Blade Road and Hazel Patch Road lead cyclists back to North Laurel Road and U.S. 25 to KY 490 and into the Letterbox Church community before traveling along KY 30 and KY 638. After that stretch, cyclists get back on Victory-McWhorter Road for the return trip to downtown London.
The Red Route, known as the Century Ride, takes cyclists further into the countryside into the Hazel Patch area and Upper River Road to Indian Creek. Letterbox Church is a stop along the way for the advanced cyclists, before routing along Pond Lick Road and KY 3630 and back to KY 578 to the McWhorter Church rest stop. From there, cyclists travel along Johnson and Langnau Roads to Long Branch Road and Taylor School Road before heading back to town from McWhorter Road, Slate Lick Church Road and North McWhorter Street to Farmer's Market.
The Redbud Ride was established in 2008 and has hosted as many as 1,200 cyclists in one year.