published Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Bicyclists offered chance to beat Bonnaroo traffic

NASHVILLE—Want a way to get around the long lines of traffic at Bonaroo this year? Then look no further.

Organizers are looking for people to participate in the first Roo Ride — a 60-mile overnight bike ride to the four-day, multi-stage music festival, which is synonymous with long lines and bottlenecks.

Roo Ride organizers Greta Springer and Amy Wolanski told The Tennessean they hope to inspire participation by traveling past points of interest along the way, such as Civil War battlegrounds and town squares. It also augments the local green initiative.

The plan calls for riders to travel on June 11 from Smyrna to Manchester, camp a couple of miles from the festival site, and then either bike back or hitch a ride from Roo Ride organizers.

It’s an idea for those who want to enjoy musical jams without worrying about traffic jams.

“Who wouldn’t want to do that?” said local biker Melissa Hudson-Gant. “You could sit in traffic for an indefinite amount of time and arrive with an empty gas tank and be frustrated, or you could ride your bike places you might not otherwise ride, have someone carry your stuff for you without any frustrations, and it’s all for a good cause.

“It’s a complete win.”

The event also supports local charities. Twenty percent of the $125 fee will be donated to organizations like Ride for Reading, which promotes literacy and healthy living by distributing books via bicycle to children in low-income areas.

“Planning a bike ride is fun, and benefiting the community is even better,” Springer said.

The idea has the interest of Nashville cyclist Andrew Perlmutter, who says he has avoided Bonnaroo after hearing “nightmares about the traffic. He said the green ride has him considering the trip.

“It makes perfect sense,” he said. “You can bike instead of sitting in a car that’s running for hours on end and contributing to the carbon footprint.”

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