The Dancing Bear Bicycle Bash will return this month after going on hiatus following a fire on the host property in 2013.
The Bicycle Bash will be Saturday, Sept. 19, and riders will roll out at 9 a.m. The ride includes 30-mile and 50-mile options.
Tim Patterson, general manager at Cycology Bicycles, helped found the event in 2008, and said it’s “awesome” to be welcoming it back.
Matt Alexander was a managing partner at Dancing Bear Lodge in 2008, and asked Patterson to help organize the event to promote cycling in the area.
Patterson said there are a lot of other cycling events, but what makes this one unique is coming back to the Dancing Bear property at the end of the ride.
“That’s what makes the ride so much fun. In the past, people would hang out for hours afterwards and talk and eat,” he said.
The Bicycle Bash starts and ends at the entrance to Dancing Bear Lodge, 7140 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway, in Townsend, adjacent to the Apple Valley Country Stores. The Blount Partnership is sponsoring this year’s event.
Boost to bicycling
“Having strong cycling events like Dancing Bear Bicycle Bash really helps sell this area to cycling enthusiasts,” said Blount County Director of Tourism Kim Mitchell. “This area, along with Great Smoky Mountains National Park, has really become more bicycle-friendly over the last few years. The more public support we get for events like this, the more it can grow into a regional spectacle.”
Mitchell said outdoor recreation is a growing economic tourist sector that the Partnership would like to see become “a vital cornerstone of our successful community.”
“With Cades Cove Loop and our expansive greenway system in our backyard, we boast a solid foundation to see an increase in regional tourism,” she said.
The Dancing Bear Bicycle Bash used to be held twice a year. It wasn’t held at all in 2014, following a fire that destroyed the Dancing Bear’s main lodge in November 2013.
Patterson said for now, they’re just planning to do the fall event.
Registration is $45, and pre-registration ends at 5 p.m. Sept. 16. Packet pickup for participants opens at 7:30 the morning of the ride. Riders who register before Sept. 16 will receive a T-shirt and lunch at the end of the ride. Executive Chef Shelley Cooper of the new Dancing Bear Appalachian Bistro will be carrying on the traditional post-ride gourmet lunch.
The event will also have Calf Killer beer on tap available for purchase, as well as bar service in the restaurant.
Patterson said the ride used to draw in a lot of cyclists from out of town, and he hopes it will bring new people in to Townsend and the Dancing Bear Lodge once again.
“The tradition of the event and the quality of the event will really be the same that it has in the past,” he said. “This will be a great opportunity for folks to come up and see everything (new owners) Mark and Sharon (Oldham) have done, enjoy a bike ride and have a great meal.”