Annual ‘Johnny Ray Century Bicycle Ride’ on Sept. 7 serves as showcase of East Alabama to cyclists


By Morgan Bryce

Area cycling enthusiasts can bike for a good cause during the Johnny Ray Century Bicycle Ride Sept. 7, an official race of the Alabama Backroads Century Series.
Created in 2002, the ride gives cyclists a chance to explore and view some of East Alabama’s lesser known scenic areas as well as raise money for a great cause in the Davis Phinney Foundation in its fight to eliminate Parkinson’s disease.
“We absolutely celebrate the foundation, just because it promotes everything good about cycling. It’s all about health and wellness, and joy in everyday life,” said Dr. Shirley Lazenby, president of the Opelika Bicycle Advisory Committee, in a 2017 interview with the Observer. “We’re hoping people’s lives will benefit from the money that we raise.”
The committee sponsors the ride and it is presented by the East Alabama Cycling Club, which created the Johnny Ray Century Bicycle Ride in 2002. Lazenby added that more than 300 riders are expected to participate in this year’s ride, which is up from years past.
The cost is $50 to participate and riders can register through or Those who pre-register will be able to attend a packet pick-up party at James Bros. Bikes (113 S. 9th St.) Sept. 6 from 4 to 7 p.m. Participants will receive brand new uniforms for this year’s ride.
Following is a schedule for the day of the event, which will take place rain or shine:
• 6 a.m. – Day-of registration opens at Red Clay Brewing Company, which is located at 704 N. Railroad Ave. in downtown Opelika
• 7 a.m. – Staggered starts (10 minutes apart) for riders in each respective race
• 10 a.m. – Drawing for the grand door prize
• 11 a.m. – Post-ride meal available to riders
• 4 p.m. – All courses are closed. Riders can either take transportation back to Red Clay or finish the race without assistance.
The five different races will take riders through various portions of Lee, Chambers and Randolph counties. Riders can expect surfaces to vary from asphalt to chipseal. There will be a rest stop every 15 miles for riders. Below is a listing of each including its mileage:
• 20 miles – Cusseta Commuter
• 34 miles – Twin Silos Shuttle
• 60 miles – Lafayette Short Line
• 66 miles – Dirty 66 (gravel)
• 104 miles – Johnny Ray Century.
For more information or updates, like and follow the Opelika Bicycle Advisory Committee’s Facebook page.


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