Potomac Pedalers Hope to Avoid Bumps Caused by Earlier Bike Event

A Washington-area biking club is seeking to differentiate itself from another biking group that visited the Berryville area earlier this summer but failed to deliver much of the economic punch that area businesses had hoped for.

Organizers of Bike Virginia, a pedaling organization that spent five days in and around Clarke County in June, had said that the tour’s impact on local economies in rural areas brings over $2.8 million in spending and indirect revenue. But the high hopes for an economic bump to Berryville merchants from the event quickly evaporated as Bike Virginia riders apparently carried their wallets toward the bright lights of Winchester at the end of each day of biking.

Now another biking group, Potomac Pedalers which is planning its Back Roads Century ride through Clarke County on Sunday, September 23, 2012, is trying to smooth some of the feathers that may have been ruffled by Bike Virginia’s less-than-hoped-for delivery.

“We are a 501(c)(3), non profit, 2,500+ strong bicycle club in the Washington DC area,” said Potomac Pedalers chairman Robert Bernstein in a letter to area leaders and media outlets. “For the past number of years we have had our premier event, the Backroads Century in the Berryville/Clarke County/Jefferson County area. This is our major fundraiser, allowing us to give grants in accordance with our By Laws purpose. Having successfully grown this event over the past three years from 700 riders to 2,000 riders, we feel it is time to involve the community more. We have already begun reaching out to local businesses for the supplies we need, but we wish to do more.”

Bernstein said that unlike Bike Virginia, Potomac Pedalers returns to the Clarke County area every year and is “linked inexorably to the community and we wish the community to feel linked to us and to look forward to our ride.”

To ensure that Potomac Pedalers’s message reaches community leaders Bernstein  plans to meet with any interested parties at the Barns of Rose Hill in Berryville on Wednesday, 12 September from 7 to 9 PM.

“I will start the meeting with a short history of the Backroads Century,” Bernstein said. “I will continue with some of the challenges that we face and my vision of the future. I will then entertain questions. I hope that my vision excites you and that this, as Humphrey Bogart said in Casablanca, ‘is the start of a great friendship.’”

Bernstein said “We want our riders to savor the area and to return at other times during the year.”


  1. Potomac Pedalers is the real deal and they back it up. They’ve been coming here for years and do a great job working with the community.

    We never did get the final numbers from that other bunch, did we? Of course not, it would make the “Town Leaders” look like a bunch of fools.

  2. Luv-Bville says:

    This should be a good event. I live in town and will be riding in this event as well as helping out the organizers. This area is perfect for road cycling. We have great roads, gorgeous scenery and very courteous drivers.

  3. Ah Jes Luv Jurassic Clarke says:

    First question comes to mind: What exactly did the town of BARELYville do promote the vast array of businesses eagerly awaiting the arrival of the bikers? Was there a handout in the wecome package the bikers received? Any local representatives there to answer questions? Or did we simply miss the 2.8 million dollar tip that the bikers left in a bag on the old high school grounds?

    That’s BARELYville in Laughingstock County, Jurassic Clarke, U S of A for ya.

    • Sharon Strickland says:

      As a participant and one that attended the planning meetings for the Bike Virginia event, I must defend the planning. Each welcome kit was packed full of information on our town and there were coupons included and information for bikers to use in planning their evenings. My husband and I also worked the event and we welcomed the bikers as they came into town. We often walked them towards our businesses and restaurants. I think a big problem came with the wine event. It did not take place as planned and many were disappointed. I was! But, we have lessons learned now and we can proceed forward to bring other events to our town that will help our business owners. And, there were many local leaders wearing the bright teeshirts. On the back was one word: volunteer. Did you?

  4. What was there to promote from the business standpoint? Other than a few nights of dinner at the Berryville Grille or Marios Pizzaria, I’m not sure where you thought Berryville would reap in an amazing 1million dollar payday! What a JOKE!

  5. Speaking of making money on bike riders is fundamentally at odds with each other. What draws the bicyclists to our area is the lack of commercialism and undeveloped scenery. Quite back roads with little traffic is nirvana to anyone who enjoys riding. Just accept the fact that there is no money tree to shake. Sure, there will be the odd food stop where monies are exchanged but the bikes are here to enjoy the ride so just smile and wave when they pass by. I enjoy seeing them pass by my home as it brings back memories when I participated in similar rides. What will generate money is events that draws all sorts of families. For example, back in the day the little village of White Post had a festival that drew thousands every year. The numbers grew incredibly every year and it outgrew the resources of the little village and sadly stopped. I believe I remember that Long Branch wanted to have a festival of sorts and the county government had other plans..

  6. Well the last biking group certainly did not do much for Clarke Co businesses but hope the next one will. I was apart of the local B&B’s that offered space for the bikers to no avail. Not one request or inquiry so I do hope this time some guests will be interested. I do offer a good breakfast! Linda

  7. Looks like the ride commences in Berryville, with scheduled stops at, for example, Burwell Morgan Mill/ Locke Store in Millwood and White Post Restoration in White Post. I know Locke Store has a robust stream of business when these bike tours are in the county. Here is the Back Roads Century website advertising the September 23 Potomac Pedalers event. http://www.backroadscentury.org/component/content/article/37-headlines-frontpage/74-back-roads-century

  8. True it is a one day event but the rides starts early Sunday (7am I think) so riders maybe looking for a room the night before.