Where's Maybell?

Saturday's bike ride draws hundreds


Saturday's Where the Hell is Maybell bike ride isn't really a geography lesson.

For the past 18 years -- the event that originated from a casual bike ride among friends -- now draws large crowds and plenty of pedal power.

Each year, roughly 200 bicyclists ages 7 to 70 ride for fun or to get a jumpstart on personal training.

"It's crazy what this has become," said Neil McCandless, one of the bicyclists who started the event almost two decades ago.

In the ensuing years, bicyclists learned of the annual ride and joined in. One year, bicyclist Dr. Tom Told designed T-shirts for the event, which increased its popularity, McCandless said.

"I've met a lot of people over the years," McCandless said. "It's not like it's the Ride the Rockies (bike ride), it's just to Maybell, but people really like it. It's good exercise that anyone can do."

Saturday's ride is a fund-raiser for Craig's Park and Recreation scholarship fund that assists low-income families with recreational opportunities, director Dave Pike said.

Bicyclists can ride for free, but there's a $5 charge for a pancake breakfast at the ride's end at the Maybell bridge. Breakfast ends at 10:15 a.m.

T-shirts are pre-ordered for participants, but a few are available at the breakfast. For $5, cyclists can get a ride back to Craig, otherwise bicyclists should ride or find alternate transportation on the return trip.

Bicyclists gather from 6 to 7 a.m. at either the Northwest Storage & U-HAUL, 4295 U.S. Highway 40 West, or about six miles west of Craig at the Western Knolls subdivision.

Everyone is invited to participate in the event, Pike said, but adults should accompany children. Average time to complete the 30-mile one-way ride is about three hours, he said. Competitive riders have been known to complete the event in less than an hour.

"This is a big family event," Pike said. "(Families) make up at least half of our participants."

Though the bike ride has been known to attract competitive bicyclists, the event is geared for fun, Pike said.

"It's not a race, it's a ride," he said. "Some people use it as practice for Ride the Rockies, but mostly it's just a reason to get out and get some exercise and meet people."

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