Hawkins County’s Tour de France? No, it’s the Ride Like Hale fundraiser

More than 100 bicyclists will have Hawkins County’s back roads resembling the Tour de France Saturday morning.

But, rather than competing for personal glory, these riders will help raise money to improve the lives of disabled adults who are served by Rogersville’s Chip Hale Center.

Hawkins Elementary School in Rogersville will be the launching point for the ninth annual Ride Like Hale fundraiser.

For a minimum contribution of $25, riders can participate in either a 21-mile, 36-mile or 62-mile ride through Hawkins County’s scenic back roads.

Chip Hale Center Director Lana Young told the Times News this week that Ride Like Hale is the agency’s biggest fundraiser of the year and helps pay for programming and facilities that it otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford.

Young is hoping that money raised this year will pay for some needed outdoor activities at the center.

“We’ve got several clients who are involved with Special Olympics, and we’ve got a bocce ball team,” Young said. “We talked about doing an outdoor bocce court here, which wouldn’t take a whole lot to do, but we could certainly hire it done and get it done correctly. There’s also an interest in expanding our garden area. We did some planter boxes this summer, but maybe expand the garden area, revamp our patio, and make a nicer outdoor space.”

In recent years, Ride Like Hale has attracted a little over 100 riders, but organizers are hoping pretty weather, and a serious challenge, will attract more riders.

Ride Like Hale isn’t a race, but anyone who completes the 62-mile course in three hours or less will receive a special Metric Challenge arm patch.

Registration opens at 7 a.m. at Hawkins Elementary, on W. Main Street Rogersville, and the ride begins at 8 a.m.

Riders in the 36- and 62- mile tours will leave first, followed by the 21-mile riders, and the cyclists will receive a police escort out of Rogersville.

There are rest stops where water and restrooms are available on each of the routes.

Motorists are asked to be careful and on the lookout for bicyclists on back roads in Hawkins County Saturday morning including (but not limited to) Burem Road, Goshen Valley Road, Webster Valley Road, McKinney Chapel Road, Old Route 70, Thorps Chapel Road, Route 66, Route 70, Melinda Ferry Road, Butcher Valley Road, Longs Bend Road, Millers Bluff Road, Christians Bend Road, McPheeters Bend Road, and Main Street in Rogersville.

Since 1971, the Chip Hale Center, which is located at 310 Hasson St., in Rogersville, has to worked to improve the lives of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities by providing opportunities to become contributing citizens in their community and participate in all aspects of life.

Anyone who would like to make a donation but isn’t interested in making the ride can stop by Hawkins Elementary Saturday morning and drop it off.