Mount Dora’s longest-standing festival will take place in the next four weeks. For forty-one years the annual Mount Dora Bicycle Festival has been held in this charming town. This year the festival is going to bring as many as 2,000 cyclists from at least fifteen states and three countries. And this year promises to be one of the very best – and biggest- ever. Starting and ending at the Mount Dora Area Chamber of Commerce each morning at 7am from October 9-11th, there will be three days of exciting routes, guest speakers, a Vendor Village, contest, games, prizes, BBQ lunch and more.
Currently, registration numbers are more than triple what they were at this time in 2014, according to Rob English, the Chamber president. To what does he attribute the apparent success? Providing last year’s guests with such a great experience that they want to come back for more and to a staff that really knows what they are doing. There are over 500 miles of routes that will be professionally marked and ride leaders from various cycling clubs from different parts of central Florida. Each day has its own share of festivities to partake in once the cyclists return from their rides. By dinner time, the many restaurants downtown will take in the flood of visitors to show off a bit of their own tasty treats.
On Friday the rides stay fairly close to Lake Dora, except for the longest one of the day (53 miles) that takes a loop through the beautiful northern Lake County countryside. After a short pre-ride ceremony on Saturday morning, guests will all head a northerly direction to visit favorite routes: the Emerelda Swamp metric century (67 miles), Thrill Hill and the longest one of the weekend (100 miles) that goes through Astor, De Land and Paisley before returning to Sunset Park. On Sunday all riders head south to the hills of Clermont or to the Yalaha Bakery. A new ride is set up as a photo scavenger hunt that includes a stop at Scott’s for refreshments on the way back to town. There are many other routes to choose from as well; all range from 12 to 100 miles. Each routes but one will have fully supported rest stops, but the short Lake Gem Jewel route will have refreshments awaiting our guests once they return from their jaunt.
Highlights for the guests this year include (with festival registration) a free tech t-shirt, ticket to Saturday’s beer/wine garden and a ticket for Sunday’s BBQ lunch. This event is open to the public, but to ride the routes, all cyclists must be registered. Sponsors this year include David’s World Cycle (official bike shop sponsor). Clermont Bicycles (giving away an $1800 carbon bike) and Lake County.