GC 2014 High Wheel Race 1

Competitors make their way up East Second Street at last year’s Frederick Clustered Spires High Wheel Race.

Bicycles of all forms will take center stage in the county this weekend at a series of major cycling events that benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Frederick County.

The sixth annual Tour de Frederick is made up of six rides, one of them a 100-mile endurance ride. A number of shorter rides are held on Frederick County’s country roads as well as nearer to and in the city of Frederick. The tour also includes the Frederick Clustered Spires High Wheel Race, the largest high wheel bicycle race in the United States.

High wheel bikes have a super-sized front wheel and a small rear wheel. Sometimes called penny farthings, they were popular in the United States in the 19th century after the Civil War.

The Tour de Frederick will begin Friday with an 8-mile History Ride, which loops around downtown Frederick. It will make stops at the Francis Scott Key Memorial, the Barbara Fritchie House and other points of historic interest.

On Saturday, things will pick up speed with the 100-mile Heine Family Century Ride. The course stretches to the north of Frederick, crosses four covered bridges (one in Pennsylvania) and passes through the Gettysburg National Military Park.

The 60-mile MEP Health Metric Century will cover some of the same ground, but stay within Maryland.

Clyde Hicks will ride in the Metric Century with the Rotary Club of Carroll Creek Wheels of Service team, which has about seven members and by Tuesday had raised $5,742.

“I’m an avid cyclist, so I look for stuff like this to do,” he said. “I love the camaraderie, [and] it gives me motivation to help keep myself physically fit.”

Hicks is also eager to support the Boys and Girls Club, he said. The Tour de Frederick is the Frederick chapter’s biggest fundraiser.

Carol Baker, a retired physical education teacher from Lake Linganore, will participate in the race with the Linganore Chain Gang.

“I had such a good time last year. It was so well-organized,” she said. “I’m pretty excited about it. It’s the highlight of my summer.”

Like Hicks, Baker is eager to support the Boys and Girls Club. She will be riding as a way to encourage healthy living, which she sees as a legacy of her time as a teacher.

Two milder races might be more appropriate for beginners. The Miles & Stockbridge Foundation Club Riders Ride, a 31-mile trek, goes south of Frederick along the Monocacy River. The 10-mile Family Ride goes through Baker Park and past Frederick High School.

First-time rider Sue Hood, of New Market, riding with the team Oh Shift, will do the 31-mile race. She produced some video for the Tour de Frederick last year, she said, and was eager to participate to support the Boys and Girls Club.

“I just thought it was a great cause. ... So this is a really great event to get them what they deserve,” she said.

Hood enjoys the benefits of training for a ride. She is a runner, but cycling three times a week to prepare for the ride has made her feel stronger, she said, and she has more endurance when she runs.

The 2015 Frederick Clustered Spires High Wheel Race will take place Saturday in downtown Frederick. It will take place in the block around City Hall, up North Market Street, to West Second Street, to West Church Street and back to North Market Street.

Antique bicycles will be on display at Frederick City Hall from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

Frederick County Bank will sponsor a children’s high wheel race for the first time this year. It starts at 4 p.m. Saturday in front of Brewer’s Alley at 124 N. Market St.

It will feature children from the Boys and Girls Club of Frederick County. Event proceeds will benefit the club.

The main high wheel race event will take place immediately after that at 4:30 p.m.

Frederick Alderwoman Kelly Russell has volunteered to work the high wheel race, making sure people stay safely away from the route.

The race is a benefit to the city, she said, by attracting tourists and local residents to the businesses and restaurants Frederick has to offer.

“This is the only one of its kind in the country, so of course, it shines a bright light on the city of Frederick,” she said. “It’s another feather in our cap.”

The Tour de Frederick concludes Sunday with the 36-mile Julane Anderson Covered Bridges ride, which allows riders to tour the county’s covered bridges at a relaxed pace.

Follow Kelsi Loos on Twitter: @KelsiFNP.

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