Category Archives: Recreational Cycling

Hello 2016! Events, Rides and Tours

By | Mountain Bikes, Recreational Cycling, Road Riding, Tandems, Uncategorized | No Comments

Happy New Year Cycling Friends!

The Crooked Letter Cycling Blog and I have been on an extended vacation since I took a seasonal position with VBT (Vermont Bicycle Tours). I am happy to be back at the computer and will have more blogs coming soon!

However, I wanted to share the 2016 Crooked Letter Cycling Calendar with you now! It contains rides all across the state of Mississippi as well as a few popular rides across the south.


Go ahead and pick at least one ride that is outside of your comfort zone and start mentally and physically preparing for it.

If you are a beginner, set your sights on the 25 mile ride at the Natchez Trace Century Ride May 7 or the 20 mile route at Bikes Blues & Bayous in August. If you are already a casual cyclist, I hope to see you at JMC’s First Flora Ride March 5.

Have you ever completed a tour? Check out Louisiana’s Cycle Zydeco or find Frank Jarmin and ask him about RAGBRAI!

Looking for a new adventure out of state? Search the calendar by by state in the search field. We have events included from Arkansas, Alabama, Iowa, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana and Tennessee.

If you have never completed a century ride, it should be on your 2016 goals. Even if you don’t own a bike right now, we have enough century rides scheduled for anyone to train for one before the year is out.

I know I am missing several rides that have not been confirmed for late summer and fall of 2016. If you are the organizer of a ride and would like to have it listed on the calendar please contact me!

2016 is going to be a great cycling year! What event are you most looking forward to? How many of the in-state rides do you think you will participate in?

September and October Cycling Events

By | Beginners, Mountain Bikes, Recreational Cycling, Triathlons, Uncategorized, Women's Cycling | No Comments

A new month has dawned so don’t forget to check out the Crooked Letter Cycling Event Calendar!

Toggle the “view” button on the top right of the page to view the events plotted in a calendar view.

There are cycling events all across the state of Mississippi during September and October for beginners as well as advanced cyclists.

One event coming up soon is the Jackson Metro Cyclists Trekkin’ the Trace.  The ride will be including a beginner bike clinic which will include a discussion on using you gears. So, make plans to attend!



Ready for a Fall Biking Tour?

By | Multiday tours, Recreational Cycling | No Comments

Many Mississippi cyclists have endured a long hot summer of cycling.  Some may have even curtailed their miles during our hottest days.  You may be dreaming of riding in cooler temperatures.  And after hearing of the tales of the Mississippi cyclists participating in RAGBRAI, you may be ready for a bike tour vacation of your own.

You are in luck as there are many inexpensive bike tours still scheduled for this fall. Many of these tours have camping and hotel options which may change the base prices of the tours. There are several tours listed I would like to ride!

BikeMaine 2014 Read More

RAGBRAI: Sh!t People Put on Their Helmets!

By | Beginners, Multiday tours, Recreational Cycling, Road Riding, Tandems, Women's Cycling | No Comments

One of the challenges of RAGBRAI is keeping up with your group.  Just like our Mississippi crew, many cycling clubs take on the challenge of RAGBRAI together. However in the throng of cyclists it is easy to become separated from the friends you want to ride with.

Most of the Mississippi cyclists elected to ride their own ride as many of us ride at different paces or preferred leaving earlier in order to get out ahead of the cycling masses. Somehow, Caroline Cyclists, Ann, Frank, Gaines and Melissa survived the week staying together.

Gaines, Ann, Melissa and Frank miraculously stayed together throughout the week.

Gaines, Ann, Melissa and Frank miraculously stayed together throughout the week.

I am not sure what their strategy was to keep within sight of each other, but many groups pick a spot in each pass-through city to stop and re-group.  Others are a tad bit more creative and add a flair to their helmets! Read More

Have You Traveled to the Tanglefoot Trail?

By | Beginners, Mountain Bikes, Multiday tours, Recreational Cycling, Road Riding, Women's Cycling | No Comments
I am ashamed to admit that until recently, I had yet to visit and ride the Tanglefoot Trail®, the 44-mile Rails-to-Trails in North Mississippi.

tanglefoot-trail-logoThe Tanglefoot Trail has a detailed history including being named for the #3 Engine on the railroad corridor built by Col. William C. Falkner, great-grandfather of Nobel Prize winning author William Faulkner.

What a stunning trail system it is! I am impressed with the Magnolia State’s newest converted train-track-turned-bike-path. Running south from New Albany through Pontotoc and ending in Houston, the trail has a lot of charm.

Don’t Speed-Date the Tanglefoot!

Many in the Jackson Metro area and around the state attempt to tackle the Tanglefoot in one day, leaving in the wee hours of dawn to make the drive to Houston, ride out and back as far as they want, and then head back home tired from a very hectic trip. Read More

Bike Trail Etiquette for Bikers, Walkers and Drivers

By | Beginners, Mountain Bikes, Racing, Recreational Cycling, Road Riding, Tandems, Triathlons, Women's Cycling | 5 Comments
This blog originally appeared in the June-August Ridgeland Life Magazine; however, it is applicable to all bike and multi-use trails.

Riding a bike has changed my life.

Fifteen years ago I could not have dreamed of all the things I would accomplish by bike. Since 2000 I have met hundreds of other cyclists, many who are now close friends. I have participated in bike rides all over the United States, including a cross-country tour in 2010. I am part of a very active cycling group – the Jackson Metro Cyclists – as well as co-leader of a monthly women’s bike ride. I am honored to say that I earlier this year I traveled to Washington, D.C., to discuss cycling with our Mississippi congressmen.

Me at Heatwave booth (1)

My name is Michelle Williams, and I am publisher of the Crooked Letter Cycling website. Read More

Natchez Trace Century Ride: Not Your Grandma’s Ride!

By | Recreational Cycling, Road Riding, Tandems, Women's Cycling | One Comment

NT century ride logoSaturday May 2 brings around the seventeenth pedaling of the Natchez Trace Century Ride. Since its inception as a companion ride to the Tour Lefleur Bike Race in 1998, the Natchez Trace Century Ride has always been a family-friendly ride that meanders on the historic Natchez Trace Parkway.

The ride is still family-friendly, but did you know it no longer meanders quietly out and back on the Natchez Trace?

Not any more! The new course is definitely not your grandma’s century ride. Since 2013, those participating in routes of 50 miles or longer are treated to views of the Mississippi countryside with approximately 4,000 feet of elevation gain.

Read More

Recumbents VS Standard Upright Bikes: And the Winner is?

By | Mountain Bikes, Recreational Cycling, Road Riding | 10 Comments

I like bikes. All sizes and shapes. Tire size does not matter – they can be fat or thin, skinny or wide, knobby or slick. I prefer my bikes to be some shade of blue, but I might accept a different color if the bike had all Ultegra components.

When I started cycling in 2000, I rode a standard upright bike. After extreme issues with saddle problems over long distances, I decided to change to a recumbent bike. I rode a recumbent exclusively from November 2007 to April of 2014. During 2014, I decided to take a break from long-distance rides and began riding four different bikes throughout the year – a heavy steel standard upright bike I use for commuting, a mountain bike, the ’bent and a standard all-carbon upright bike.

Bikes on Fence V 2

The Fleet

To be completely honest, I just got tired of the recumbent. I stopped riding it until last week. Read More

Veterans, Wellness and Bikes: Trace Ride Is April 18

By | Recreational Cycling, Road Riding, Women's Cycling | No Comments

On the road to health logoPhil Reed and Don Guillory have a common interest in promoting health and wellness for veterans.

Both have deep, personal concern about the well-being of the men and women who served our country. Both are cyclists, and both are volunteers in the Fourth Annual On the Road to Health Trace Ride April 18.

Reed, President and CEO of Voice of Calvary Ministries, formed the On the Road to Health initiative to combat obesity in Mississippi by emphasizing healthy eating and exercise in 2012. He started the annual cycling event to promote health and wellness.

While working with the homeless through Voice of Calvary Ministries, Reed began to realize that many homeless veterans have serious health problems, including mental health and addiction issues. He believes veterans are being underserved.

So Voice of Calvary Mission partnered with Soldier On, a private nonprofit organization committed to ending veteran homelessness, in 2014. Read More

Envisioning a Cycling-Savvy Mississippi: Bike Walk Summit 2015

By | Cyclovia, Recreational Cycling, Road Riding | No Comments

bike walk summit logoIt’s well-known among cyclists and bike advocates that Portland, Oregon, is one of the most bicycle friendly communities in the United States. City planners, engineers, and officials around the world know it, too. Portland is the picture of a healthy, livable community. It is a city whose leaders understand the importance of the bicycle—not only for its residents but also for its visitors. People move to Portland because they want to live in a place that is bicycle friendly, they bring their families and they put down roots. In addition, Bicycle tourists flock to Portland because it’s a cyclist’s city. They pour money into Portland’s economy. Portland is proof that “if you build it, they will come”.

Portland was not always the cycling-savvy community that it is today. Twenty years ago, it was an auto-dominated city with very little bike infrastructure. Now it has a well-balanced multimodal transportation system that beckons to cyclists around the world . Read More