Roughly 50 bicyclists braved the cold and damp weather Saturday for the first-ever Rock N Ride event hosted by the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce. The event started off the morning with two bike rides through the rural landscapes of East Texas and ended with a carnival and concert at Stancil Park.
“The bike ride did really well. We talked to the riders as they came back and they gave us some ideas of what we need to do next year,” said Jim Carson, chief operating officer for the chamber. “They said we need to include the elevation of the ride since some cyclists look for rides with hills so they can get a full workout.”
Riders paid an entry fee to participate in one of two long-distance rides. Carson said weather might have prevented some cyclists from attending, but he was overall very happy with the number of participants.
“We were told by others who have hosted rides that 50 riders is a good number for the first year of an event,” he said.
Between Rock N Ride and other events taking place in the area over the weekend, Carson said local hotels were reaping the benefit of the ride with overnight hotel guests.
“La Quinta was completely filled up Friday night,” he said. “We were ecstatic to welcome so many cyclists here to our city.”
Throughout the day, people who attended Rock N Ride were entertained by local bands and choirs inside the exposition center and a kids’ zone and vendor booths in the other areas of the park. Carson said the event saw several hundred people through the gate by day’s end.
“People said they enjoyed the bands and the food vendors said they did well, too,” he said. “This event was never intended to be a big money maker for the chamber. It’s something we put on for the community. By getting sponsors, we were able to make it a free event. As long as we can break even, we can continue doing it.”
Carson said the chamber board will meet in the coming days to discuss how the event can be improved before next year.
By Vanesa Brashier, email@example.com