Shortly before 10 a.m. Saturday, Main Street between Clinton and Lafayette streets was clogged with cyclists ready for the fifth annual Fort4Fitness Spring Cycle.
The latest Spring Cycle was different from previous years, said Jon Bomberger, chair of the Spring Cycle for Fort4Fitness.
"First of all, at 9 a.m. we sent off our first annual metric century ride, which is 100 kilometers, or about 60 miles," Bomberger said. "It’s a challenging ride, even for those who are the hard-core riders."
That ride went from Fort Wayne to Antwerp, Ohio, and back, finishing on Barr Street near Headwaters Park. Bomberger said about 250 to 300 riders participated in that ride. More than 1,000 participated in the later ride, which featured 10-, 16-, 34- and 44-mile distances.
Roanoke resident Don Heit was one of the cyclists participating in the 16-mile ride. Heit said he and his wife have been riding in the event since the beginning. It typically takes them about 90 minutes to finish.
"It’s just a nice event," Heit said. "We enjoy the camaraderie."
Bomberger described the event as one big family-friendly party. The Spring Cycle continues to grow each year, especially as interest and demand for cycling has increased in recent years, Bomberger said.
"Many years ago, we had only 20 miles of trails, now we have almost 100 miles of trails. We have bike lanes, we have all sorts of things that are making a bicycle much more popular for fun and for fitness and for an event like this, a big community bicycle ride," Bomberger said.
Saturday’s ride is also part of the monthlong Kickstart celebration, which focuses on bikes, art, music and theater, Bomberger added.
As the 10 o’clock hour neared, the assembled crowd joined together for the national anthem.
Then, with a blast from an air horn, the ride was on.