SMITHVILLE — Motivated to have a weekly gathering to include the community and utilize the trails of Smithville, Mollie Porter and the staff of Let’s Ride Bicycles put together a weekly family bicycle ride near Smithville Lake every Thursday from May through September. Ride also sometimes occur in October, depending on weather.
Rides are described as leisurely, typically covering about 10 miles over a 60- to 90-minute period, exploring the west side of Smithville Lake. Participants can also turn back at anytime and are encouraged to stop and take in the sights along the way.
“People don’t utilize the trails as well as they could,” Porter said.
Each week, rides draw between eight to 15 participants ranging from 6-year-old children to senior citizens.
“All skill levels are welcome,” Porter said. “It’s a no-drop ride, meaning we will not leave anyone behind.”
With staff from the bike shop or designated “ride ambassadors” at every event, Porter said those who wish to ride ahead are welcome to do so but a leader will remain behind with the rest.
“It’s really great for beginners,” she added.
Resistant to take credit for organizing the rides, Porter said it was a shop effort and everyone gets involved. Rusty Beck, owner of Let’s Ride Bicycles bike and motorcycle apparel shop, is as interested in bicycles as Porter, having loved them since he was a child.
“As a kid, I really loved things with wheels, namely bicycles,” he wrote on the company’s website. “... I started buying wrecked bicycles, repairing them, keeping the coolest ones for myself and selling the rest.”
According to the site, letsridebicycles.com, the mission of the shop is to help those in the community reach their cycling goals. The rides are an extension of that, Porter explained.
Sponsored by the shop, those leading the ride are experts on cycling and different needs, offering advice on products and proper wear including helmets. They also know how to fix problems one might encounter while riding a bike.