The W. C. Handy Festival Three State Bike Ride is the premier cycling event held in “The Shoals” each year. The ride begins and ends at scenic McFarland Park on the banks of the Tennessee River near downtown Florence, Alabama. Distance options of 21, 39, 61, 70, 100 and 107 miles are available to suit riders of all ability levels. Riders who do all 107 miles will touch three states….. Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee!
The Handy Ride will get underway with a staggered start at 7:00 am. Century Riders will leave first in waves based on the anticipated finishing time, followed by the shorter distance riders. Leaving the Park, all riders will travel two miles on Alabama Highway 20, turn left onto Lauderdale County Road 2, and continue some nine miles to the first rest stop. Those choosing the 21 mile option will turn around here and return to the start.
All other riders will continue westbound on CR2 to the beautiful Natchez Trace Parkway. Once on the Parkway, the route turns south and crosses the Tennessee River. A series of rest stops along the Parkway serve as turnaround points for the various distance options. Because July can be quite hot in Northwest Alabama, a total of six rest stops are provided for participants to visit while riding either outbound, inbound or both. There will be several SAG vehicles manned by Shoals Cycling Club members patrolling the entire route.
Post Ride Lunch: We’ll be having a catered BBQ lunch with smoked pulled pork, smoked pulled chicken, tossed salad, baked potato bar and desert. It’s catered by “Jill’s Sweet Memories” again this year!
Showers will be available at the park campgrounds and at the local YMCA.
The Handy Ride is held in conjunction with and financially supports the W. C. Handy Music Festival, an annual 10-day series of events designed to promote and present the music of northwest Alabama (The Shoals). The W. C. Handy Music Festival was named in honor of William Christopher Handy, the “Father of the Blues” who was born in 1873 in Florence, AL. The Festival has been held each year since 1982 and has been recognized with many honors, including Alabama Event of the Year. It is presented by the Music Preservation Society, Inc, a 501c3. We invite you to check out some of the many music venues offered!
Ride Fast……..Ride Slow…….Just Ride!