Hon­ey­bee Bike Ride gets a big spon­sor with See Rock City Inc.

The Catoosa County News - - COMMENTARY - By Josh O’Bryant

The in­au­gu­ral Hon­ey­bee Bi­cy­cle Ride is set to ped­dle its way through­out Walker County on Satur­day, May 13, and now See Rock City has been named as a main spon­sor for the event.

On Wed­nes­day, March 29, Bill Chapin, pres­i­dent and CEO of See Rock City Inc, Walker County Com­mis­sioner Shan­non Whit­field, com­mu­nity vol­un­teer Lisa Heyer, LaFayette Parks & Re­cre­ations Di­rec­tor Ja­son Shat­tuck, and LaFayette City Man­ager David Hamil­ton met at Lover’s Leap in­side Rock City to hold a press con­fer­ence con­cern­ing the up­com­ing event.

“Ladies and gen­tle­men, it is my dis­tinct plea­sure and great honor to wel­come all of these peo­ple from the Hon­ey­bee Bi­cy­cle Ride up to Rock City Gar­dens and it is a won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity for Rock City to be a spon­sor for the in­au­gu­ral bike race,” Chapin said.

The half way point of the bike ride will be lo­cated at Blow­ing Springs Farm, which is owned by Rock City.

“It will be a place where fam­i­lies can gather who aren’t rid­ing their bikes, but re­lax and get re­freshed be­fore they start on their way back to LaFayette,” Chapin said.

Chapin said Rock City’s in­ter­est in the bike ride stems from be­ing an out­door at­trac­tion it­self.

“We are an out­door at­trac­tion that en­cour­ages peo­ple to get out­side and do things with their fam­ily and cy­cling is one of those great all-age ath­letic events that is some­thing that we can all do,” Chapin said. “It’s not go­ing to be a race, but it is go­ing to be a fam­ily event that’s fun.”

Chapin said the Hon­ey­bee Bi­cy­cle Ride will run con­cur­rently with Rock City’s Spring Blos­soms Fes­ti­val.

“So the first 200 peo­ple who sign up for the race -- you don’t have to win -- will get a fam­ily pass to come and see beau­ti­ful Rock City Gar­dens. We want to en­cour­age fam­i­lies to cy­cle and ex­er­cise and to do things to­gether be­cause it is fun,” Chapin said.

Heyer, who is head­ing up the event, was ap­proached by the city of LaFayette to plan the event.

“We are do­ing a ride which in­cor­po­rates not only the city of LaFayette, but the city of Chicka­mauga, the city of Rossville, and Look­out Moun­tain through Rock City,” Heyer said.

The bike ride will con­sist of a 10-mile led out by LaFayette Mayor Andy Arnold; a 34-mile route that will go through LaFayette to Chicka­mauga and back again along the back roads; and the See Rock City Met­ric ride, which will go from LaFayette through his­tor­i­cal ar­eas of Chicka­mauga over the back­side of Chicka­mauga Bat­tle­field through Rossville to the foot of Look­out Moun­tain and back again.

There is no age limit on the bike ride.

“We have al­ready had peo­ple sign up for this ride com­ing as far away from South Ge­or­gia as Saint Mary’s on the coast, At­lanta, Stone Moun­tain and all around that area, Chatsworth, Cal­houn, Cartersville, up to Chat­tanooga, Hix­son and up in that area to Cleve­land, so we are al­ready get­ting them signed up across the state and into Ten­nessee to come ride on this,” Heyer said.

Heyer said this is an op­por­tu­nity to show off the beauty of the area. The pro­ceeds will go to ben­e­fit all city re­cre­ation de­part­ments in the county.

Shat­tuck said all pro­ceeds will go back to the re­cre­ation de­part­ment to lower reg­is­tra­tion fees, where soc­cer, foot­ball, base­ball, soft­ball and bas­ket­ball are played an­nu­ally.

“Our av­er­age cost of those pro­grams is right at $78 and we feel like that is a drain on some peo­ple’s bud­get,” Shat­tuck said.

“We are re­ally want­ing to help push up our par­tic­i­pa­tion num­bers by low­er­ing our reg­is­tra­tion fees and right now, cur­rently, we are at about 200 kids per sea­son and we would like to see that in­crease and we think with this ride, the pro­ceeds will help make that pos­si­ble,” Shat­tuck said.

Hamil­ton said the city of LaFayette wants to be­come more bike­and walk-friendly, as well as pro­mote more ro­bust, fre­quent events in the city that pro­motes re­cre­ation and ex­pand it to bi­cy­cle rid­ing, moun­tain climb­ing, camp­ing, and hik­ing to name a few.

“This is a great op­por­tu­nity for us to add an­other event as well as adding and help­ing grow an­other type of re­cre­ation in our com­mu­nity. The 10-mile bike ride that Mrs. Heyer was men­tion­ing, with the mayor lead­ing it, is a great op­por­tu­nity to show­case our beau­ti­ful lit­tle home­town and get to see the lo­cal land­marks that we have in LaFayette and we’re very ex­cited to be a part of this and get this started,” Hamil­ton said.

Whit­field said this is a great event for Walker County that brings all of these com­mu­ni­ties to­gether.

“It’s a great time of the year for every­one to get out and en­joy the nat­u­ral beauty of our county,” Whit­field said. “We wel­come all of the tourists that are go­ing to be com­ing to par­tic­i­pate in this with us. I think they are go­ing to fall in love with Walker County. We have great things to of­fer, so this is just very ex­cit­ing and I ap­pre­ci­ate the city of LaFayette do­ing and kick­ing this off and also Rock City’s par­tic­i­pa­tion and be­ing a spon­sor for this, so it is just bring­ing all ends of our county to­gether and pulling ev­ery­body to one event,” Whit­field said.

LaFayette Parks & Re­cre­ations Di­rec­tor Ja­son Shat­tuck, LaFayette City Man­ager David Hamil­ton, Walker County Com­mis­sioner Shan­non Whit­field, com­mu­nity vol­un­teer Lisa Heyer, and Bill Chapin, pres­i­dent and CEO of See Rock City Inc, met on Lover’s Leap in Rock City on Wed­nes­day, March 29, to dis­cuss the May 13 Hon­ey­bee Bi­cy­cle Ride. (Mes­sen­ger photo/Josh O’Bryant)

Here is the flyer for the Hon­ey­bee Bi­cy­cle Ride for Satur­day, May 13.

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