The Dildine brothers rode in last year's bike ride.
Sept. 22, 2016 -- Cyclists will be peddling up the hills and back roads of Sequatchie County Saturday, Oct. 1, in the 2nd Annual Next Step Century Bike Ride, to benefit the Next Step Resources Care Center in Dunlap.
Starting from the Care Center at 1817 Old York Hwy. East early Saturday morning, participants may choose among four routes -- 14 miles, 30 miles, 62 miles, or 100 miles long, according to Next Step Executive Director Debbie Chandler.
"Most of them will travel East Valley Road," Chandler said Wednesday. "They'll be going up and down the valley, with rest stops at East Valley Baptist Church and First Southern Baptist Church in Pikeville."
The main route will actually take bike-riders down into Marion County and up into Bledsoe County, and another trek will lead up Henson Gap Road and back down Hwy. 111 to Dunlap. Cones will be set out to alert motorists to the bikes running along the shoulder of the highway. Directional information will be painted on the road surface along the various routes, Chandler said.
The Century Bike Ride will benefit the Next Step Resources Care Center, formerly the Women’s Care Center, on Old York Highway.
The "century bike ride" of 100 miles will leave the Next Step parking lot at 7 a.m. CDT Saturday, followed by other groups staggered through the morning. Cyclists may register for $45 through Sept. 30, or for $50 on the day of the ride, starting at 6:15 a.m.. Participants will receive goodie bags, door prizes, a T-shirt, and a meal after the ride, Chandler said.
This is just the second year of what the non-profit clinic plans to be an annual event. Last year, a cold rain discouraged cyclists from taking part, and there were only 34, but Chandler expects to have 100-200 this year.
Infinit Nutrition sponsors the ride and provides its brand of athletic nutrition. Supporting churches will provide snacks and water. Owen's Cyclery in Chattanooga plans to help cyclists with any mechanical problems, like a flat tire.
Last year's race raised $1,800 for Next Step, although part of that amount was a one-time gift from an anonymous sponsor, Chandler said.
Next Step Resources Care Center is a non-profit pregnancy resource, providing counseling and pregnancy tests, as well as after-birth assistance.
When the organization adopted its new name -- Next Step -- on Aug. 1, 2016, they also added an RN who can conduct on-site pregnancy tests and an ultrasound. Although the clinic does not recommend nor do they perform abortions, they do provide information about all of a woman's options, Chandler said.
"We are a pro-life ministry," she explained, "but if they choose abortion, we are still there to help them. We provide post-abortion counseling.
"We educate them, and then it's their choice," she said. "We do not refer for abortion, but we provide other services, like items for children they have, and a parenting class. We've had clients that come back after an abortion, because they know we're not going to judge them."
Details and sign-up for the Next Step Century Bike Ride is at www.nextstepsrc.org
Last year, cyclists braved a cold rain to ride in the very first Next Step Century Bike Ride. This year, the forecast is calling for better weather.