Annual Big Bike Weekend will take over tri-county roads

Bicyclists at Spanish Springs in The Villages. // File photo

A big weekend is coming soon when 500 bicyclists will wind through Sumter, Lake, and Marion counties to raise money for The Villages Regional Hospital Auxiliary Foundation.

The fourth annual Hearts for Our Hospital Big Bike Weekend is scheduled for Nov. 9-11. Individual cyclists and teams raise money during the Bicycle Challenge by getting pledges for the miles they travel or flat-rate donations.

The Big Bike Weekend includes:

Friday, Nov. 9: The Cycling Expo and Health Fair is a free event scheduled from 10am-2pm at La Hacienda Recreation Center, 1200 Avenida Central, The Villages. The OneBlood Big Red Bus will be on site for blood donations.

At the Cycling Expo, visitors can see the newest bicycles and accessories, and check out the booths of Villages bicycle clubs and bicycle travel companies.

The Health Fair will feature health-related vendors and free medical information, including screenings for blood pressure, hearing, skin damage, and body mass index.

Saturday, Nov. 10: The Bicycle Challenge has five route options, from 10 to 100 miles, starting and ending at La Hacienda Recreation Center. The first ride starts at 7:30am. The entry fee for distances of 100, 64, 32, and 20 miles is $60 until race day and $70 on race day. The fee for 10 miles is $25; $35 on race day.

Cyclists may register online until 5pm Friday, Nov. 9, at or register the day of the race at the ride start location.

The after-ride festivities include a biergarten, lunch, a Bob Marley tribute concert by John Truth & Reflexx, and door prizes.

Sunday, Nov. 11: Free club ride of about three hours for Bicycle Challenge participants, 8:30am, starting at La Hacienda Recreation Center and ending at Spanish Springs Town Square. All ride levels. Post-ride brunch. To register or for more information on all events, go to or call The Villages Recreation & Parks Department at 352.753.1716.