While reading the most recent issue of Outdoor Indiana I came across an article about the Bloomington Bicycle Club. This is the third time the magazine has featured the Bloomington Bicycle Club and its events in the last twenty years. The previous two were cover stories about the Touring Ride In Rural Indiana (TRIRI) and the Ride Across INdiana (RAIN). Being a long-time subscriber to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ premier magazine and familiar with its Managing Editor Marty Benson, I asked and received permission to reproduce the articles on the BBC web site.
The article “Bloomington Bicycle Club” appears in the May/June 2021 issue of Outdoor Indiana. I would encourage anyone interested in a variety of outdoor activities like biking, hiking, birding and kayaking to subscribe to Outdoor Indiana. The annual cost for six issues is $15.00 and the magazine contains many spectacular photographs by Frank Oliver and Richard Fields. Club member Yusuf Nur’s photograph from one of Warren Smith’s BBC gravel/single track rides is featured in this current issue.
As a longtime member of the Bloomington Bicycle Club, I would like to share a bit of history with those of you who are new to the BBC and especially those of you who are new to Indiana. I joined a group of bicyclists in Boomington, on weekly Saturday rides before the club was formally incorporated in 1982. In 1984 Barbara and I were organizing the club’s annual Hoosier Hills fundraising ride. Hoosier Hills was a late spring ride with 30, 60 and 100 kilometer Saturday routes to and around Lake Monroe followed by a Sunday Route of 50 miles to Spencer. Support from both the Indiana Tourism Department and the Bloomington Visitors Bureau allowed the event to grow to nearly 1,000 participants. In 1985 we helped a friend organize a 400 mile, week-long bicycle camping tour called the Touring Ride In Rural Indiana (TRIRI) which used Indiana State Parks as overnights. In 1990, not 1980 as stated in the afore mentioned Outdoor Indiana article, Bill Walters, the Director of Indiana State Parks and an avid Hoosier Hills cyclist, allowed Indiana State Parks to become the major sponsor of TRIRI. Within a few years TRIRI grew in national prominence and was featured in an Outdoor Indiana cover story titled “Annual ride cruises at different pace” authored by Michael Boo with photographs by Richard Fields. That article, which appeared in the Jan/Feb 2001 issue, is used by permission.
Six years after our TRIRI ride was featured in Outdoor Indiana, Barbara and I, as directors of the club’s Ride Across INdiana (RAIN), received a call from Marty Benson, Senior Editor of Outdoor Indiana asking permission to photograph the RAIN Ride. Once again Richard Fields was the photographer and Marty Benson was a participant and a successful finisher. Marty’s “Tour De National Road” article describing his trip across Indiana, one way, one day, on a bicycle, was featured in the September/October 2007 issue of Outdoor Indiana and is used by permission.
Obviously, the BBC’s long relationship with DNR and Indiana State Parks has offered great opportunities to promote both bicycling and Indiana. It is because of this unique relationship that off road bicycling in Indiana State Parks has provided the Midwest with premier single track off road trails in places like Brown County State Park. But the best thing about this relationship is how it has been able to promote bicycling in Indiana.