Back Roads Century, Sunday September 20th - Shepherdstown, WV
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Posted by: Mark Alpert
Registration Opens in May!
The Back Roads Century has a new home - Shepherdstown , West Virginia ! After many years of beautiful riding in Berryville , Virginia and soaring success of the Club’s popular century ride, growing attendance unfortunately meant outgrowing Berryville. Back Roads needed to find a new home that could accommodate the ride size AND a community that would happily welcome bicyclists for a day. With their focus on community support and an area full of natural beauty, Shepherdstown was a natural choice. Get ready for some spectacular riding!
Deborah Tucker, chair of the Shepherdstown Visitor Center, and Meredith Wait, chair of the Shepherdstown Visitor Bureau, both met on a blustery day back in January with a team from Potomac Pedalers to record an official welcome video that was played at the annual meeting. Members greeted the news with applause!
Lois Turco, chair of the Canal Towns Partnership, was also instrumental in helping to forge the partnership with Potomac Pedalers. Explaining why Shepherdstown is the perfect location she says, "This event is a natural with our goals in the region. Shepherdstown is a really important area with five national parks and we encourage recreational tourism as a way for people to experience the area's rich history." Recreational tourism as Turco explains, "enables people to get involved in their small town and get a feel for life." Turco explains that Shepherdstown is no stranger to large-scale events. She said that starting in 2006, the town decided to actively pursue and cultivate this type of tourism by creating a welcoming environment by adding a lot of signage, creating maps and brochures, and adding many bike racks. For several years now, Shepherdstown has been home to Freedom's Run, a charity race with 3000 participants.
Just as important as welcoming tourists though, is creating opportunities for their residents. "We want to allow the residents to be spectators and to showcase Shepherdstown." Turco says that the town has a lot of festivals and they're very savvy when it comes to organizing. Knowing the community is important to the success of any event she says, "We work with residents and give them the education to be prepared. We want people along the route to know what to expect." Mutual respect is the goal. Turco goes on to emphasize what a great partner Shepherd University is. Located in-town, the students are often called upon to volunteer within the community.