"...The Old Howard 100 will feature routes of approximately 30, 50, 70 and 100 miles in and around Perry County, where Samford was founded as Howard College in Marion in 1841..."
by Mary Wimberley
Samford University's Howard College of Arts and Sciences is sponsoring a bike ride through Alabama's historic Black Belt on
The Old Howard 100 will feature routes of approximately 30, 50, 70 and 100 miles in and around Perry County, where Samford was founded as Howard College in Marion in 1841. The school moved to the East Lake section of Birmingham in 1887, and relocated to Homewood in the Shades Valley area of Birmingham in 1957.
The ride will begin at 9 a.m. on the parade grounds at Marion Military Institute, site of Samford's campus before its move to Jefferson County. Completion times will vary according to route length and each bicyclist’s pace.
Proceeds from the ride will benefit Sowing Seeds of Hope, which seeks
to improve the quality of life and work in Perry County through improved
education, healthcare, tourism, transportation and economic development.
Sponsorship of the Old Howard 100 project is one of several ways Samford seeks to assist the area that nurtured the school during its early days. Students and faculty members regularly visit Perry County to serve as volunteer tutors, healthcare workers and community boosters.
The route will take riders west from Marion into Hale County and Newbern, site of antebellum structures and Auburn University's Rural Studio project headquarters, north into Greensboro and to Magnolia Grove plantation. Riders on the 30-mile route will return to Marion from Newbern; 50-mile riders will return from Magnolia Grove.
Riders on the 70- and 100-mile circuits will proceed into the hill country that borders the Talladega National Forest, returning into Perry County past pine plantations and antebellum mansions. After reaching Marion, 100-mile riders will continue on a final 30-mile loop through the wetlands of southeastern Perry County, ending back in Marion.
Five Support and Gear [SAG] stops will be staffed by Samford volunteers and local hosts who will share historical information and lead walking tours.
The day's events for non-riders will include a mid-morning ceremony near Greensboro to dedicate a newly-installed historical marker that recognizes the founding of the Alabama Baptist Convention there in 1823.
Registration fee is $25 through March 31 and $35 after that date. The
fee includes a t-shirt and a meal that will be served at MMI from 2 p.m.
to 5 p.m. Participants must wear helmets and sign a liability waiver.
In case of severe weather, the ride will be held on April 16.
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