Lake County, Florida, ARES and the Lake Amateur Radio Association (LARA) this month again supported radio communication for the Mount Dora Bicycle Festival — something they’ve been doing for almost 25 years. During the October 9-11 event, ham radio volunteers provided communication from each rest area as well as from mobile radio units patrolling the various bicycle routes. The Mount Dora Bicycle Festival is sponsored each year by the Mount Dora Chamber of Commerce and attracts cyclists from all over the country.
“Despite a little early morning fog, good weather prevailed for the 3 day event,” said Ted Luebbers, K1AYZ. “Temperatures were moderate with some humidity. For many of the riders this has become an event they look forward to enjoying each year.” Luebbers explained that the festival is not a competitive race but a series of 12 separate bicycle tours of Florida’s scenic Lake County countryside.
“Lake County is blessed with 1400 named lakes and is considered to be Florida’s hill Country,” Luebbers said. “Some of these hills offer a unique challenge for even the most experienced bicycle riders. The longest ride is 100 miles and the shortest is 12 miles. Riders choose which rides they want to take each day.”
This year saw 1325 festival participants. The radio-equipped mobile vehicles the hams provided transported 30 riders and their bicycles back to the starting area over the 3 days, due to mechanical breakdowns, medical issues, or fatigue. The most serious injury was a broken collarbone. Twenty-five Amateur Radio volunteers took part. — Thanks to Ted Luebbers, K1AYZ