Enjoy the Ride bikes take to SR840 on Saturday
By Carole Robinson, Staff Writer
On Saturday, be among the first to ride or run on the newest and final section of SR840 that will run through Williamson County. Three weeks before motorized vehicles will be allowed on the new 14-mile section that completes the scenic 78-mile southern route around Nashville, bicyclists and runners are invited to be a part of the Enjoy the Ride celebration and preview the scenic road by joining one of several different bike routes or the Fun Run.
During and after Enjoy the Ride events TDOT is hosting a Fun Family Festival at the Carters Creek interchange with free treats – while they last – and plenty of music provided by TDOT CFO Joe Galbato and his band 4-Gone.
“The day is a free, family-friendly, bike-centric festival commemorating the completion of 840, a project that’s been more than 25 years in the making,” said B.J. Doughty, director of TDOT community relations. “Best of all – in my opinion – Jeni’s ice cream will be there giving away free treats while supplies last.”
A Festival in the Fork for those participating in I am the Engine rides and those on and off bikes will find a Kids Zone and professional BMX bike performances entertaining throughout the day – or take a stroll along the 84-mile Tennessee Trail Yard Sale with sales in Leiper’s Fork.
The SR840 Encounter Run, a 5K and 10K run/walk, will begin and end at Tollgate Village on Columbia Avenue in Thompson’s Station. Step off is 8:40 a.m. and runners will head onto the as yet unopened section of SR840 and proceed west toward the Carters Creek Pike interchange 5.4 miles away.
The Family Fun Ride is a five-mile ride for cyclists of all ages. Beginning at the Carters Creek Interchange (Exit 23), the route goes west for 2.5 miles and returns to the start.
At 17.4 miles, the Carters Creek/Pinewood Ride is geared toward the intermediate cyclist. It begins and ends at the Carters Creek Interchange.
The Full-840 ride is a 28-mile round trip on the unopened section of SR840. Starting at the Carters Creek Pike Interchange, the route goes 8.7 miles west to Pinewood where it turns around and proceeds from the unopened section of the Pinewood Interchange the entire length of the new unopened section – 14.1 miles – to the Columbia Avenue/US31 Interchange and then returns 5.4 miles to Carters Creek Pike.
Registration for the above rides begins at 8 a.m. at the Carters Creek Pike intersection in Thompson’s Station. The bikes begin rolling at 10 a.m.
On the western end of the unopened road an event is happening for the serious cyclist up to a challenge on a warm fall day. The Gran Fondo, an event of the I am the Engine project developed by Harpeth Bikes owner, Jonathan Woody, will lead off in Leiper’s Fork at 8:40 a.m. with more than 1,000 cyclists riding one of three options – the Gran 100-mile ride, the Medio 65-mile trek and the Piccolo, a short 35-mile route. Each of the rides will take cyclists along the new SR840 section to the Carters Creek Interchange where they leave SR840 and venture out onto the country roads of Williamson and Maury counties.
I am the Engine is a grassroots project in collaboration with Nissan, Whole Foods and Lightning 100 that “connects the joy of cycling, healthy eating and active lifestyles to a happier and healthy community,” Woody said.
“This is a joint celebration – a celebration to open 840 and our marquee event for this year,” said Woody. “This ride is not just a ride, it’s a timed ride for those who want to race it against a friend, they can.”
Four prominent cyclists will be a part of the ride: Jenf Voigt from Germany, Tiago Machado and Markel Irizar from Spain and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, who will ride at lest 35 miles or more as far as time allows, Doughty said. He will make a stop at the Carters Creek Pike festival at 9:30 a.m. to speak and join in the festivities.
A cyclist, “[the Governor] has actually done some century rides,” Doughty added.
The official grand opening and dedication of SR840 for motorized vehicles will take place Friday, Nov. 2 beginning at 11 a.m. with an official ceremony at 1 p.m. and the Enjoy the Ride Parade at 1:30 p.m. The road will open to the public later in the afternoon after the festivities are concluded.
Posted on: 10/10/2012