Jackson County’s flat and gently rolling routes and scenic and picturesque countryside can be experienced in an upcoming annual event.
The Brownstown Exchange Club is sponsoring the Round Barn Bike Ride on Saturday, starting and ending at Brownstown Central High School.
Distances of 32, 68 and 81 miles are offered.
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Brownstown Exchange Club President Joe Bradley said the event usually features two groups.
One prefers the 32-mile ride, which goes past the Stuckwish Round Barn, Hall Round Barn and Medora Covered Bridge. The barns are architecturally unique, and the bridge is the longest historic covered bridge still standing in the United States.
“There are a few hills on that, but it’s a pretty nice ride,” he said. “You go past both round barns and the Medora bridge. Those barns aren’t going to be around forever, so now is the time to see them. And people love the Medora Covered Bridge.”
The other group likes the longer routes, which also include going through the communities of Kurtz and Freetown.
“There are some pretty good hills up there,” Bradley said. “Some of those people are training for the RAIN (Ride Across Indiana) ride. It’s a good warmup ride for them.”
A small part of the ride includes in-town traffic and short distances on state highways. The ride is not recommended for young children on their own bicycles.
This is the 25th year for the event. It started when a couple of Exchange Club members were involved in cycling and thought it would be good to start a local ride.
Bradley said there have been repeat riders throughout the years, and many of them have come from outside Jackson County — as far as way as Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky and Illinois.
“People make the trip, and everybody says it’s worth their while to see the old barns and the Medora bridge,” Bradley said.
The most riders in one year was around 250, and the tally was at 120 a few years ago, Bradley said. He’s expecting between 50 and 100 this year.
The Exchange Club received a $300 grant from the Jackson County Visitor Center to help publicize the ride with brochures. Those were mailed to past participants and also hand-delivered to area bicycle clubs and shops, Bradley said.
Organizers said they are hoping for good weather Saturday. Last year marked the first time the event was canceled because roads in the Medora area were flooded.
Since that happened, Bradley said some people don’t register until they see how the weather is the day of the event.
Registration starts at 7 a.m. Saturday and runs until 10 a.m. Signups also are available ahead of time online at signmeup.com/112927.
The Round Barn Bike Ride is among several fundraisers the Exchange Club conducts each year. Others include 5Ks during the Jackson County Watermelon Festival and Fort Vallonia Days and two pancake breakfasts — one in the spring and one in the fall.
Proceeds are used by the club to distribute to the nearly 40 local organizations it supports.
“We don’t have a whole lot to give out, but we try to spread it around to people who are helping others,” Bradley said.
What: Round Barn Bike Ride, sponsored by the Brownstown Exchange Club (32-, 68- and 81-mile routes)
When: Registration starts at 7 a.m. Saturday and runs until 10 a.m.; riders can take off any time after registering
Where: Starts and ends at Brownstown Central High School, 500 N. Elm St., Brownstown
Cost: $25; T-shirts will be available the day of the ride for $10
Online: You can pre-register at signmeup.com/112927