Bishop pedals in conference Circuit Ride


Riders are gearing up for the second annual Mississippi Conference Circuit Ride bike tour May 12. 

United Methodists including Bishop Hope Morgan Ward will pedal the scenic Longleaf Trace between Hattiesburg and Sumrall. Longleaf Trace is a converted railroad bed with no hills and no traffic. 

“Much of it is heavily wooded, and it’s an absolutely beautiful place to ride this time of year. There’s always something to see,” said the Rev. David Wilson, pastor of Sumrall United Methodist Church. 

Wilson, an avid rider who bikes six days a week, plans to participate in Circuit Ride 2 with others from his church. “We have a group from the church that rides every Saturday,” he said. 

The first Circuit Ride was in June on the Natchez Trace south of Clinton. 

“Last June over 30 of us made the trek, and we were the better for having done so because we had tall tales to tell this winter about our exploits,” said the Rev. Jim Biedenharn, chair of the ride planning committee. “I’m hoping this year will be even better. We’re just out to have fun and celebrate our connection on a marvelous spring day.” 

Circuit Riders can go the full 30 miles or choose a shorter distance. Rest stations stocked with snacks and drinks at approximately four-mile intervals will be manned by volunteers from local churches. The Bike Rack of Jackson will provide a mechanic on-site, and staff golf carts will patrol for those who need assistance. 

“Circuit Ride 2 is for all ages and all degrees of fitness,” said Ward. “It will be fun.”

Everyone who pre-registers by May 1 will receive a T-shirt, map and distance chart. To pre-register, send your shirt size and $15 check made payable to Circuit Ride 2 to May & Company CPA, Attn. Karen Jones, P.O. Box 821568, Vicksburg, MS 39182. 

Registration fee the day of the ride is $10, but only those who pre-register will receive shirts. Registration is at 9:30 a.m., and the ride will begin at 10 a.m. 

Proceeds will benefit United Methodist Katrina recovery efforts on the coast. 

A free training ride is scheduled for Saturday at 10 a.m. on Longleaf Trace. 

Bicycle rentals are available from Longleaf Trace. To reserve a bike, call 601-450-5247. 

For more information, contact Biedenharn at 601-624-5417.