Indiana cyclists prepare to bike across state

More than a thousand cyclists will be biking 160 miles across the state this weekend.

C yclists will be participating in the annual Ride Across Indiana timed bike ride, leaving at 7 a.m. Saturday from the St. Mary-of-the-Woods College start line near the Illinois border. They will then head east on U.S. 40 toward the finish line at Earlham College in Richmond, Ind.

RAIN is sponsored by the Bloomington Bicycle Club. Proceeds from the event fund the BBC grant program, which promotes cycling in the Monroe County area. One dollar from every registration at RAIN will go to Bicycle Indiana to support its education and advocacy efforts, committee member Jennifer Miers said.

All RAIN cyclists are ?required to wear a helmet and observe Indiana traffic regulations. Motorists are encouraged to allow three feet of clearance when passing cyclists, Miers said.

“First, the route is advertised as 160 miles, so we have to be very close to that mileage. ,” RIDE route coordinator John Bassett said. “Second, we stay on U.S. 40, the National Road, as the traditional trans-state crossing for as much of the ride as possible, given traffic conditions around Indianapolis. Third, there are always construction issues. This year, we had U.S. 40 construction in Brazil and Edgewood Avenue construction in Marion County to deal with.”

During the past year’s race, cyclists faced high winds and temperatures.

Cyclists could face thunderstorms Saturday as they ride to complete the 14-hour ride. According to the Weather Channel there is a 30-percent chance of rain in Terre Haute.

Many cyclists complete the ride before the 14 hours.

“Each year some people manage to do the 160 miles in less than seven hours, which is uncanny given that it is done with legs and lungs alone,” Bassett said.

RAIN is more of an experience than a competition, Bassett said.

“It is bragging rights and the immense personal satisfaction of having completed such an ultra-marathon event,” Bassett said.

Many of the cyclists will be there to support this event which funded more than $15,000 in grants in 2013, and to enjoy the 160 mile ride.

“The tag line is ’One Day, One Way, 160 Miles,’” Bassett said.

Registration is open until 9 p.m. Friday and is available online at .

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