Jackson County

Pascagoula’s 83-mile bike ride is designed to educate

Pascagoula is a Bicycle Friendly Community that shows its support for the designation at a bicycling event in July 2015. Some of these cyclists will be preparing for Sunday’s Right2Ride event.
Pascagoula is a Bicycle Friendly Community that shows its support for the designation at a bicycling event in July 2015. Some of these cyclists will be preparing for Sunday’s Right2Ride event.

It’s a great way to learn to love cycling.

Right2Ride, an awareness ride that aims to increase cycling in Pascagoula and surrounding communities, is set to roll at 7 a.m. Sunday from River Park, 4100 Clark Street, to the Scranton Museum on the west bank of the Pascagoula River.

More than 70 cyclists had signed up as of Tuesday. The city expects there to be 100 or more by showtime.

You can ride 8 miles down the causeway and around Singing River Island — with no opposing traffic — or 83 miles across Jackson County, from Pascagoula to Vancleave to Hurley and back — with police escorts from Gautier, Pascagoula and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department.

In between are rides of 21 miles and 40 miles. The longest ride begins at 7 a.m.. The others start at 8 a.m.

Online registration ends Thursday with a cost of $30 for the 8-mile ride and $45 for the others. If you wait until the day of the event, the fee will be $60.

These are fully supported rides, said Kristi Ducote, outdoor recreation specialist for the city of Pascagoula. That means there are aid stations along the longer routes with snacks, drinks and a police presence.

You get a medal, goodie bag and a T-shirt while shirt supplies last.

The short ride is great for amateurs, Ducote said. But it’s all about education on both sides of the issue.

Right to the road?

Cyclists have a legal right to the road, she said, but they have to remember to obey all the traffic laws — stop at stop signs, ride in the direction of traffic and yield to pedestrians.

State law requires motorists to allow 3 feet of space when passing a cyclist.

“Rather than try to gauge 3 feet, we recommend drivers change lanes to pass,” Ducote said.

She can’t stress enough the need for cyclists to ride with the flow of traffic, but for some, riding against the flow is a hard habit to break. Ducote said it’s a mindset. Some cyclists just feel safer if they can see what’s coming at them, she said.

“That’s not safer,” she said. “Cars are looking at what’s going in their direction.”

Moving on up

Pascagoula hopes the ride will help the city move up a notch with the League of American Bicyclists, which already considers it a Bicycle Friendly Community.

The city organizes rides around town from Beach Park on the second Saturday of each month — one at 8 a.m. for the more-serious cyclists and 10:15 a.m. for those inclined to a shorter, leisurely ride.

In 2010, Pascagoula established a bike trail, marked with signs along 10 miles of busy city streets and quiet residential areas.

Supporting Sunday’s Right2Ride is the Gulf Coast Bicycle Club.

Its president, Eddie Holmes, said this ride also kicks off the club’s Ride the Coast lineup. After Sunday in Pascagoula, the club will ride in Bay St. Louis in May, Pass Christian in June and Long Beach in July.

“Pascagoula is doing some good things for cycling, so we want to support that,” he said. “The more events we have like this make it better for everybody.”

It’s a little tricky getting to River Park on the north side of U.S. 90:

  • Take the Ingalls exit onto St. Pé Highway (heading south off U.S. 90)
  • At the first light, turn left.
  • Take another left, heading north and go under the U.S. 90 high-rise bridge.
  • Questions: 938-2356
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