Cyclists make a pit stop in Weatherford
The last organized bicycle ride I took part in--about a dozen years and 30 pounds ago--was in Indiana. Hardy people, those Hoosiers. Stoic Midwestern stock. Which is a polite way of saying they ran the ride like the Marine Corps' Parris Island: up at dawn, pack your tent, a quick breakfast and then ride, ride, ride. Repeat for six days, 425 miles or until dead, whichever came first. If you like to ride, but that sort of intensity is a bit much for you, perhaps you should try Saturday's Peach Pedal Bike Ride in Weatherford, a much more relaxed tour through the Parker County countryside. Plus you get free peaches. And peach smoothies. And a pass to the Parker County Peach Festival. (If you think I'm going to sink so low as to say it sounds peachy, well, you're wrong.) Brent Baker, ride chairman, says a record 1,450 people took part in last year's ride, choosing among routes ranging from 11 miles to 100 kilometers. Some hard-core riders use the Peach Pedal as a training stop for Wichita Falls Hotter 'N Hell 100, a ride only a Hoosier could love, but the Weatherford ride also draws "a lot of families. We get people riding towing their kids." Registration is $25 on the day of the ride, between 6 a.m. and 7:30 a.m., with a mass start following at Hall Middle School, 902 S. Charles St. More info and route maps are available at www.peachpedal.com. --Patrick Williams
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We all know some Yankees out there still have visions of oil rigs, cowboys in fitted Wranglers and thick Southern drawls when they think of Texas. But there is one Texas characteristic that really is true on all accounts: We do stuff big. Really big. And when it comes to a good old-fashioned, big-time rodeo, the Mesquite Championship Rodeo stays true to form. (And, yeah, the cowboys wear those sprayed-on Wranglers.) The rodeo starts every Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and expect all the exciting trimmings such as bareback riding, tie-down roping, barrel racing and steer wrestling. Plus there will be a gun show from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 8 through July 10. Some Texas stereotypes will never die. The Mesquite Championship Rodeo is at 1818 Rodeo Drive in Mesquite. Call 972-329-3100 or visit www.mesquiterodeo.com. --Jenice Johnson