Sign-up under way for Metro Parks’ cycling event
Annual event this year solely on Towpath Trail
|Participants in the Summit Tour of Metro Parks — also known as STOMP — will take to the Towpath Trail Sept. 1 for 10-, 20- and 30-mile bicycle rides.|
|Photo courtesy of Metro Parks, Serving Summit County|
“STOMP has consistently had more than 1,000 riders per year since 2004,” said Nathan Eppink, chief of marketing and communications for Metro Parks, Serving Summit County. “The average is 1,200 riders, but the count was 1,500 one year. The limit is 1,600 riders.”
STOMP will take place this year Sept. 1 from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Participants can choose one of three distances to ride —10, 20 or 30 miles — and enjoy a light breakfast, lunch and live music.
Eppink said there are several changes to the rain-or-shine event this year, including a new start and ending location — Lock 3 Park at 200 S. Main St. in Downtown Akron — and new routes.
“Each is completely on the Towpath Trail. As a result, the event no longer offers a 63-mile road route. We have trail routes of 10, 20 and 30 miles. We may lose some of the serious riders, but I’m still hopeful we’ll have 1,000 total riders on event day,” he said.
“All of the routes are scenic now that STOMP is completely on the Towpath Trail. That park-like experience, the fact that the towpath was completed in Summit County this year, and the safety of a trail ride vs. a road ride — those are the reasons for the changes to STOMP in 2012.”
According to Eppink, the time needed to complete the different routes will vary for the different participants.
“It really depends on the individual, the pace at which they’re riding and whether they have children with them. The 10-mile riders are the last to leave — from 10 to 11 a.m. I suspect most, if not all, of them will be back to Lock 3 no later than 2 p.m.,” he said. “STOMP is not a race. Participants doing the 30-mile route, which travels south from Lock 3 to the Clinton Trailhead and back, will have from 8 to 9 a.m. to get started. The 20-mile riders have from 9 to 10 a.m., and they will be riding north from Lock 3 to the Ira Trailhead and back. The last route, the 10-miler, travels south from Lock 3 to the Manchester Road Trailhead and back, and those riders have from 10 to 11 a.m. to get started.”
For those who aren’t sure which route to choose, Eppink suggested heading out to the Towpath in advance.
“The 30-mile route is the most challenging, but only because of the greater distance,” he said. “The towpath is relatively flat, except heading back into Akron — regardless of the route, there is an incline.”
Eppink said it is not necessary to be an experienced cyclist to take part in the event.
“STOMP is an event for families, groups of friends and individuals,” he stated. “All you need is a bike and a helmet. And adults must accompany riders younger than 16.”
STOMP has taken place for two decades, Eppink said.
“It started out as a naturalist-led bike ride. Then it became a fundraiser for Friends of Metro Parks, an advocacy group,” he said. “A few years later, it became a fundraiser for Citizens for Metro Parks, a political action committee. Now, it’s back to being a Metro Parks event, and it’s no longer a fundraiser.”
Advance registration for STOMP can be done through Aug. 20 at www.stompbikeride.com for $20 per person. Registration on the day of the event is $30 per person, payable by cash or check only.
“There’s a participation fee because of the costs associated with putting the event together — the site fee, insurance, breakfast, lunch and live music,” Eppink explained. “STOMP is a community event. We couldn’t do it without our sponsors. And despite the economy, the folks at Cascade Subaru, Acme Fresh Market, Century Cycles, Clif Bar, Krieger’s Health Foods Market, Main Street Gourmet, Subway, 91.3 The Summit and others are back and supporting this great event.”
For more information about STOMP, visit www.summitmetroparks.org or call 330-865-8065.
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