The WC 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.
The Handy Ride will get underway with a mass start at 7:15am. 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 the turnaround points for the various distance options. Because July can be quite hot in northwest Alabama, a total of five rest stops are provided for participants to visit while riding either outbound, inbound, or both. There will also be several SAG vehicles, manned by Shoals Cycling Club members, patrolling the entire route. (Please refer to the "Ride Details" page for further information on rest stops and distance options.)
Back at McFarland Park after the ride, all participants will be treated to a meal of pizza and soft drinks or bottled water. Showers will be available at the park campgrounds.
Participants are further invited to spend at least one night in "The Shoals" and enjoy some of the many musical performances that make up the W.C. Handy Music Festival. The Festival is a week long celebration of the life and music of W.C. Handy, who was born in Florence and is known as the "Father of the Blues." Rated as one of the top 100 events in the nation, the WC Handy Music Festival offers an excellent opportunity to relax and enjoy the blues as played by both local and nationally-known performers.
The WC Handy Three-State Bike Ride has a long and rich tradition, with 2014 being its 30th edition. Every year, many participants tell us that it is one of the most scenic and best supported rides they've ever done. Please save the date and make plans to join us this year!