The Emerald Coast Cyclists cycling club was started over 25 years ago in 1988. If you have visited our area then you have an idea of how the name of our club originated. Being along the beautiful white sandy beaches and clear green waters of the Emerald Coast, it's hard to imagine a better club name. As of 2014, our club has grown to approximately 120 members and accrues new members steadily.
We have a meeting once a month where we get together to visit with friends and learn about some aspect of cycling. Our club is a non-profit organization, but just as with many organizations, the club votes new officers and board members at the end of every year that drive the club's activities. To view this year's board members scroll down the left-hand side of the screen.
We have an insured club ride every Saturday morning and time trials throughout the year; road time trials in the summer and mountain bike time trials in the winter. We also have several other annual events. The purpose of our club is to promote cycling in our community by offering rides that encourage a healthy, active lifestyle in a safe group environment. Our goal is to expand our club by inspiring the community to ride their bicycles. We strive to offer rides to accommodate riders of all skill levels and keep our name in the community by actively getting involved with cycling-related events.
Our club consists of road riders, mountain bikers and triathletes of all skill levels so you're likely to find a group ride that meets your cycling needs. Living on the Emerald Coast allows us to ride regularly along the Gulf of Mexico and other bodies of water making for some picturesque rides. We also ride in various parts of North Florida through the country where there is less roadway traffic and a lot more hills! We are probably the only bike club that has a ride to a place called Britton Hill, the highest point in Florida! The climb itself is so gentle that most people do not realize they have just reached the top of Florida, a dizzying height of 345 feet above sea level.
Another favorite place we like to ride is Ranger Camp Road. Ranger Camp Road is part of the Eglin AFB reservation where an annual pass is required. Cyclists favorite this area because it is centrally located to many of the member's homes and jobs and especially because it's safer to ride than typical roadways. We are uniquely lucky to have this road accessible to us that allows us to ride up to 38 miles on a smooth, paved surface with almost no traffic. There are also plenty of trails for mountain biking, commonly known as Timberlake Trails. Ranger Camp Road really is the most popular spot for riders to congregate. See the PACELINE Newsletter for details about getting a pass or visit our Club Rides page.
Emerald Coast Cyclists is a cycling club that promotes cycling in our local community and around the state of Florida simply for fitness, fun and friendship! We are a diverse group of cyclists that includes not only "roadies", but off-road enthusiasts and triathletes. We encourage riders of all ages and skill levels to help us promote cycling in our state by getting on their bicycles and adopting our healthy, active lifestyle. We strive to offer rides to accommodate all riders, regardless of skill level, and provide a safe group riding environment by hosting paceline clinics and discussing bicycle safety on a regular basis.
We love to ride! We ride all year round rain, wind or shine! However, something else our club members love to do is give back to the community. Our club has brought national events to our area to help execute important missions such as donating to charities to help people in the local community and raising bicycle safety awareness.
Cranksgiving is a charity food race started by New York City bike messengers in 1999. The bicyclists ride in a fast scavenger hunt around their town to gather food items using their own money and bring them back to be donated to local charities.
Our club began the Cranksgiving charity food race in 2006 and has held this event annually ever since. The event is held just before Thanksgiving at Dragon Sports in Fort Walton Beach and collects between 700 and 1000 pounds of items each year from both riders and non-riders. Riders purchase the items themselves with about $30 of their own money to take back to be donated to the local Waterfront Mission and Sharing/Caring Organizations.
Average weight of food is approximately 18lbs. Participants must be comfortable riding around town in traffic about 12-15mi. Shorter courses (~6mi) are also available. Long Course Prizes to be awarded: Heaviest Load and Fastest Time minus food weight. The Time category will be 3 deep. 1lb = -5 minutes. Any tie will be resolved by a coin toss. Short Course Prizes will be 3 deep, Fastest Time minus food weight.
"2013: Thanks to all who attended Cranksgiving today. A total of 731 pounds of food was collected for the less fortunate. What a way to begin the holidays! Happy Thanksgiving!"
Ride Of Silence
Ride of Silence, a world-wide event since its inception in 2003, is a slow-paced, silent ride participated by members of the community primarily to honor bicyclists who have been injured or killed on our roadways and to also raise awareness of bicyclists right to share the road. Ride of Silence is held each year on the third Wednesday in May during National Bike Month.
Ride of Silence is a non-profit event organized by volunteers in offering this ride free of charge to the public. Emerald Coast Cyclists has been instrumental in organizing and carrying out this event in the city of Fort Walton Beach for the past six years, making 2013 our 7th Annual Ride of Silence. Our objective in conducting this event locally is to join other communities around the world in the quest to support the Ride of Silence organization in executing its mission:
"The mission of the world wide Ride of Silence is to honor bicyclists killed by motorists, promote sharing the road, and provide awareness of bicycling safety." (www.rideofsilence.org)
Emerald Coast Cyclists has also partnered with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) the past couple of years to expand our safety awareness efforts. The significance of our efforts is realized each year as more fallen bicyclists are recognized. In 2013, the Honorable Mike Anderson, Mayor of Fort Walton Beach, helped execute this important mission by proclaiming that May 15, 2013 be Ride of Silence Day in the City of Fort Walton Beach:
Riders meet in the parking lot of Mango's on the Bayou in Fort Walton Beach. The event begins with a ceremony honoring fallen victims, followed by a "funeral procession" like 9 mile ride through the streets of Fort Walton Beach.
In addition to our Cranksgiving and Ride of Silence events outlined in the Community section, we have several other annual events throughout the year that encourage fitness, fun and friendship! Each of these events will be well publicized in the PACELINE Newsletter, on the Home page of this site and on our Facebook page. Details will also be available on our calendar as each event gets closer.
Annual Club Picnic
Our annual club picnic is held on a Saturday in the Spring season. We typically have a club ride with several options available then a picnic after. We request that riders bring something to the picnic to share but typically the main dish such as grilled hamburgers are offered by the club.
Our club Christmas party typically occurs in the first week of December. A restaurant is selected and dinner for each guest is usually around $15. We play Dirty Santa so if you want to participate you must also bring a $10-$15 cycling-related gift.
New Year's Day Ride
Our New Year's Day ride always occurs on January 1, New Year's Day. This event has several ride options and a potluck afterward. The ride typically starts and ends in Niceville where the designated gathering area takes place.
Northgate Luminary Ride
One of our favorite rides around the holidays is the Northgate Luminary Ride. This ride is usually just before Christmas and is a very casual night ride through the Northgate subdivision in Fort Walton Beach on the weekend of their luminaries. Every home in the neighborhood is requested to decorate with flattering Christmas lights to invite the community to look on. This event grows each year and can be described as parade-like. The ride starts in the parking lot of Moe's Southwestern Grill. The ride leader leads the club through the subdivision which takes about an hour. Afterward the club usually meets for dinner at Moe's.
The Niceville High School Kiwanis Club has their annual pancake breakfast from 7:00-12:00pm at the Niceville High School Cafeteria, all you can eat $4.00. There is also a silent auction at the cafeteria as a fund raiser for the Kiwanis Club. In the past we have held rides coincident with this event. It is well attended and several riders successfully bid on silent auction items. There is usually some cycling gear in the auction. The club ride is May 15, 2014 this year.
Thanksgiving Day Ride
We love our Thanksgiving Day ride. What a better way to start off the Thanksgiving Day than to burn off some calories before you consume your Thanksgiving dinner. We ride at Ranger Camp Road so you need a pass from Jackson Guard. We ride various distances based on turkey time constraints with a maximum distance of 38 miles. See the PACELINE Newsletter for details about getting a pass.
Time trials are held throughout the year at Ranger Camp Road. Road bike time trials are held during the summer months and mountain bike time trials are held during the winter months. You don't have to be a club member to participate in the time trial. Each time trial is timed by a designated timer and the results are documented in the PACELINE Newsletter each quarter. At the end of the year the winners are identified by age group and also documented in the PACELINE.
The road bike time trials take place the 3rd Thursday of the month at 5:00 pm, about a mile from the parking area. Any bike can be used for this event. Riders are lined up and race 1 minute apart to the top of 5 mile hill and back, a total distance of 10 miles.
The mountain bike time trials take place the 3rd Sunday of the month at 9:00 am at the trail head. An off-road bike must be used for this event. Riders are lined up and race 2 minutes apart through a taped off course in the trails, approximately 7.4 miles.
Tuesday night rides begin when Daylight Savings Time begins and end when Daylight Savings Time ends. Riders roll out between 4:30 and 4:45pm at Ranger Camp Road and ride a maximum distance of 38 miles. These rides are paceline-style and can range in speed depending on what group you choose to ride in. There are typically two main groups that start out, the "A" group and "B" group. The "A" group is the group with the highest speed and the "B" group follows close behind. A range pass is required to join this ride. See the PACELINE Newsletter for details about getting a pass or visit our Club Rides page. Review our paceline riding tips on our Other Links page. This is not a club-sponsored event but many ECC members participate every Tuesday night!