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story.lead_photo.caption This Aug. 29, 2015 file photo shows bicyclists gathering for an event in the Millbottom area of Jefferson City. Photo by News Tribune / News Tribune.

Jefferson City residents looking for a way to spend the morning outdoors, get some exercise and have some appropriately distanced social time will have a chance Saturday morning during a community bike ride.

The Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department first offered community bike rides last year, and this weekend, they are rolling them back out.

Interested bicyclists will meet Saturday morning at 810 Sandstone St., a parking lot near the Cedar City Room and North Jefferson City Dog Park.

Alexis Kerman, program manager with JC Parks, said the route is the same one they took last May.

"May is Bike Month, so it's always a great time to kick off bike riding through the city," Kerman said.

The route will take riders on a 10-mile loop around the North Jefferson City area, along Mokane Road then on the Katy Trail back around to the start.

The ride will be led by two certified instructors, David Bange and Jim Coleman. One will lead the group, and the other will follow in the back, making sure no one gets left behind.

With a lot of hills in the Jefferson City area, Kerman and the instructors make sure to plan routes that are easier, allowing newer cyclists and even children to participate.

"We definitely gear these bike rides toward newer cyclists, as well as non-competitive cyclists," Kerman said. "Our goal with these bike rides is to help create a community outlet for those riders that aren't so serious and want to still get out and socialize with other bike riders."

Saturday's trail is easy and mostly flat, Kerman said, but they encourage riders to adapt if needed on other trails.

"When we get more into the city area, we do hit some hills," Kerman said. "But we definitely don't discourage people from getting off their bike and walking up the hills."

Bike riding is a good activity during social distancing brought on by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, giving people the chance to spend time with others while maintaining physical distance.

"We're really excited to actually get to start this program again this year," Kerman said. "It's a way for people to get outside and kind of still have that socially distant social atmosphere with people and not being stuck inside or by themselves on the trail."

Kerman said the program was also designed with the goal of showing people different areas for biking around the city.

The group will head out from the starting area at 9 a.m., so those interested should make sure to get there before that time. The route will take a couple of hours, depending on the pace of the group.

Community bike rides will be held monthly through November. Specific dates and routes will be planned closer to each month. Information including route maps will be posted on the JC Parks Facebook page and JC Parks website under "Community Bike Rides."

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