FLORENCE            JULY 18, 2020



Our ride events are simply getting better and better! The “Handy Ride,” led by Director David Cumbie and along with the Shoals Cycling Club, had all bases covered from safety to rest stops to their awesome lunch! Here’s part of the Handy Wave Sendoff:

Once riders were all out on the road, Handy and ABCS Volunteers began the setup at McFarland Park to welcome them back. We appreciate all event volunteers and love to share photos of them! These pics might show them relaxed, but believe me, they were solid workers in awarding medals, checking everyone back in, draping them with ice towels, and handing out cold water & pickle juice! Many of our ABCS Volunteers welcome back their Centurion husbands! We thank our Photographer, Marsha Burt for these great photos!

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We also grabbed some awesome team, family, & friends pics before and after their ride!

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You can see all of our Finishers’ Photos by clicking on the pic of Ted Goode:

TED GOODE…NEVER MISSED AN ABCS CENTURY! Click his pic to see the Handy Awards Album

Try to find yourselves in Marsha’s many, many Start Photos…just click the pic:

W.C.Handy Centurions are listed to the right. Accuracy is very important to us! Please let us know of anyone missing or any spelling corrections.  BamaBackroads@gmail.com



EVENT and the RSVP links to enable the premium features such as spoken turn-by-turn directions, PDF map printing, leaderboards, and download support for offline navigation:

The century routes include a significant amount of mileage on the beautiful Natchez Trace Parkway. It is a designated bicycle route and many people come from all over the country to ride it. The roads are in excellent condition but do not have a wide shoulder. Traffic is light. No dogs to chase; you may see various wildlife including turkeys, foxes, deer, turtles, and the occasional “roadkill.”




This event gets better every year. The organization, the quality and the participation by both the riders and volunteers make this a great ride. Congrats to a job well done.

Best ride I have been involved in yet!!

Enjoyed the event. Volunteers were outstanding.

I like that they kept the water station separate from the food. I liked the cold wet towels at the rest stops. The road conditions (smooth & very little debris) were excellent.

Thanks for putting on another outstanding and most enjoyable WC Handy 100. The inclusion of the tailwind for the last 17 miles of the ride was a very nice touch!

I thought the event was organized very well. This year there was plenty of ice for water bottles, plenty of towels in ice buckets for a quick cool down, and plenty of ice/plastic bags for putting in the back of a jersey. I really like having ice cold soda at each aide station. I applaud the strict enforcement of the law on the Trace. It keeps everyone safe! Thanks for a great ride…

It was the best ride I have every participated in!

I have done 12 or so different century events over the years in AL, TN, GA, and I would say this was probably the most well organized, best aid stations, and had excellent food at the finish.

ALL of the volunteers were awesome. Very helpful. It was a well organized event.



When you have a Ride Director as dedicated to an event as David Cumbie and backed up by members of an outstanding club like Shoals Cycling, it is no wonder that the W.C. Handy Ride was presented in such a professional way. Details and coordination seemed flawless beginning with pre-registration and packet pickup at their new Academy Sports store and at Florence/Lauderdale Tourism.

Friday morning saw the arrival of many coolers, Buffalo Rock products, a large party tent, and ICE at McFarland Park Headquarters.

A tornado watch was issued late Friday evening but most of us didn’t even see a drop of rain and Ride Day greeted us with a nice breeze off the Tennessee River. 15 states were represented with a final count of 380 cyclists rolling out. A main organizer, Shawn McDowell shared these great photos at headquarters and on the road and Rest Stops:

Click on the picture to see the Facebook album.

There were a few surprises awaiting cyclists at the rest stops including huge industrial fans  and bike racks as well as a generous supply of energy snacks, water, Gatorade, and ICE! SAG vehicles were well marked and drivers ready to assist.

We noticed many of you sporting your Primal Wear jerseys from past rides plus quite a few wearing CHAMPION jerseys.

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If you’ve done quite a few of our Series rides, you know that after taking your photo, we ask you to turn around so we can get another of your bib number. We figure these guys had planned and chuckled about their hind-side pose all the way back in on their ride!

OH MY! Click on the OH MY! photo to see the Awards Photos by Nancy Melkerson. You can hover over most of the pics to see names.


Tuscaloosa Cycle Club

North Alabama Cycle Club

Atomic Bar & Lounge

Shreveport Bicycle Club

W.C. Handy Centurions are listed to the right. Let us know if you see any mistakes at bamabackroads@gmail.com




Shoals Cycling Club began many years ago as the Wildwood Rundlers a mountain biking group. To get in better shape for their mountain bike rides, the group began to ride road bikes. Later the name was changed to the Northwest Alabama Cycling Club as some of the riders became interested in racing. In January 2004, the name of the club was changed to the Shoals Cycling Club to link it in a definite way to the “regional name” of the area in which the majority of the members live – “The Shoals.”

In September 2005, the club began a process of reorganization by writing and ratifying a constitution and by-laws and is developing ways to fulfill its mission statement – “Promoting Cycling in Northwest Alabama.”

Across the years, the club has helped to sponsor and organize various rides – most notably the “W. C. Handy Music Festival 3 State Century.” In 2005, the Club was co-sponsor of the first “Muscle Shoals Music Cityfest Ride.”

2017 W.C.Handy 3 State Bike Ride

Shoals Cycling Club is a blend of cyclists with various interests and skill levels. Members of our club are involved in riding road bikes, mountain bikes, and riding for the sheer joy of being on a bicycle. We seek to involve everyone who loves cycling and want to provide the means by which the members can become better cyclists.The W. C. Handy 3 State Bike Ride is the premier cycling event in the Shoals, hosted by the Shoals Cycling Club and benefiting the Music Preservation Society.

The ride is held each year in conjunction with the W. C. Handy Music Festival which is a week long celebration of the life and music of W. W. Handy, “Father of the Blues,” who was born in Florence, Rated as one of the top 100 events in the nation, the Festival is an excellent time to relax and enjoy the blues from leading musicians. Festival Dates: July 20 – 29, 2018 held throughout the Shoals area.
The Music Preservation Society, Inc. is a 501 c (3) non-profit founded in 1982. The W. C. Handy Festival is the premier event though which the society pursues it’s goal to present, preserve, and promote the rich musical heritage of Northwest Alabama.


EVENT – https://ridewithgps.com/events/60595-2018-w-c-handy

RSVP to EVENT –https://ridewithgps.com/auto_approve/Event/60595/DKk2wUWXJK5NVNPW

107-Miles – https://ridewithgps.com/routes/15232924

100-Miles – https://ridewithgps.com/routes/15262358

70/75-Miles – https://ridewithgps.com/routes/23116186

61-Miles – https://ridewithgps.com/routes/23116141

40-Miles – https://ridewithgps.com/routes/23116095

21-Miles – https://ridewithgps.com/routes/23116092


The century routes include a significant amount of mileage on the beautiful Natchez Trace Parkway. It is a designated bicycle route and many people come from all over the country to ride it. The roads are in excellent condition but do not have a wide shoulder. Traffic is light. No dogs to chase; you may see various wildlife including turkeys, foxes, deer, turtles, and the occasional “roadkill.”

Trace regulations call for riding single file in small groups. Motorists are instructed to give the cyclist the full lane when passing. Please adhere to the single file regulation as much as possible. The course will be patrolled by Park Rangers. They are concerned about your safety. Their reasoning about the single file is that with the narrow shoulders, it is safer for cyclists……it’s confusing because the signs say the cyclist can have the full lane….but they still want you single file.

Also, it’s in our permit that all riders have flashing lights, front and rear. They aren’t as big a stickler on this, but please at least have a rear flashing light. If you have been thinking about getting a front light, this would be a great time; the Spinning Spoke in Florence has a supply (not sure how many!)


Thursday Pre-Reg & Packet Pickup, July 19th-Academy Sports-113 S Cox Creek Pkwy, Florence, AL 35630

Friday, July 20th- Packet Pickup/Registration on Friday night.  Instead of at the brewery as in past years, this will be held at the Florence/Lauderdale Tourism facility, 200 Jim Spain Drive, Florence. 5:30 until 8:00. This is at McFarland Park near Ride Start.

Ride Start – McFarland Park – 200 James M Spain Dr, Florence, AL 35630

6am-8am Registration. Roll out begins at 7:00   Meal by Jill Larkin Sweet Memories, rated as one of the finest meals in the 2017 Series!  Yes, showers available after the ride.



2017 W.C.Handy 100 Ride Report

The W.C. Handy was again part of the Handy Music Festival in Florence, celebrating the “Father of the Blues” and the continuance of the Music Preservation Society in the “Shoals” area. This 8th event in the Series was hugely successful with over 400 registered riders. We’ve heard nothing but positive comments about every aspect of the ride including the well-organized Friday night pre-reg at Singin’ River Brewery to the beautiful ride day headquarters at McFarland Park along the banks of the Tennessee River. The wave send-off went smoothly and you can click on the photo below to see photos by Marsha:

Marsha snagged some super group photos before the send-off!

Ricky Pounders was on the road with his camera and captured nearly 300 wonderful photos of cyclists as they pedaled.

Click the photo above and enjoy!

Back at McFarland Park after the ride, all participants were treated to a full meal of smoked pulled pork, smoked pulled chicken, tossed salad, baked potato bar, and desert, catered by Jill’s Sweet Memories. Plenty of Buffalo Rock soft drinks and bottled water were iced and ready to cool riders down.

The ABCS Support Staff of Marsha Burt, Terrie Hinton, Faith Stockton, Cheryl Arnold, and Alice Summerford did an awesome job of ringing cowbells, awarding medals, offering ice towels, and taking these hundreds of awards photos!

Click photo above for the show!

An Alabamian was finally drawn as the winner of the Four Corners Gallery shadowbox! Congratulations Bill Stockton!






It’s always a pleasure to send compliments to our Ride Directors and Support Staff after their event. As many of you know, a rider passed away as he was about to finish his 61-mile ride during the Handy 100. Nickey Cardin, 53 years old and from Pulaski, TN was an avid cyclist and loved an adventure.He was mentoring and riding with his nephew; however, with a history of serious heart issues he was prevented from finishing this ride. High tribute goes out to Ride Director David Cumbie and his staff including Timothy Wakefield and others, who immediately went to the hospital to attend to his family’s needs. As you can imagine, a very difficult task and handled with much care and sympathy.


Event – https://ridewithgps.com/events/39082-2017-w-c-handy