Flip the next few sheets of the calendar, and you'll see that the 2015 version of the BP MS150 (Houston to Austin over two days) is only seven pages away: does April 18-19 sound familiar? So it's time to take the bike off that hot-weather trainer and get back on the roads to build the necessary butt calluses. The following is a list of organized rides for the remainder of 2014, which should give you a chance to start getting back in shape. Happy cycling! (Note: ride names in italics are not designated MS150 recommended training rides.)
Saturday, September 20: Houston Tour de Cure, starts in Katy, Texas (west along I-10). Routes of 10, 27, 47, 63 and 100 miles. Benefits diabetes research - registration requires pledge minimum.
Sunday, September 21, 2014: Magical Museum Mystery Tour, starting in Katy, Texas (west along I-10). Rides of 19, 41 and 64 miles. Benefits the Houston Bicycle Museum.
Sunday, October 5, 2014: Cy Fair Lions Club Biking for Sight, starting in Montgomery, Texas (north of Houston, west of Conroe). Routes of 24, 40, 62 and 100 miles. Benefits the local Lions Club.
Saturday, October 18, 2014: The Heroes Ride, starting at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Conroe, Texas (north of town, up I-45). Routes of 23, 50 and 71 miles. Benefits Wheels of Justice, a charity supporting the families of fallen peace officers.
Sunday, October 19, 2014: Bike Around the Bay, starts in Baytown, Texas (east of Houston along I-10). Two-day tour of the Galveston Bay with a one-day option, two-day total 176 miles. Benefits the Galveston Bay Foundation - minimum fundraising target required.
Saturday, October 25, 2014: Kiwanis Sealy Fall Classic, starts in downtown Sealy (west on the Katy, I-10). Rides of 22, 33, 45 and 60 miles. Benefits Amigos de las Americas.
Saturday, October 25, 2014: Annual Houston Moonlight Bike Ramble, starts in downtown Houston at 11:59 PM. Routes of 8 and 20 miles, lights required. Benefits BikeHouston.
Saturday, November 1, 2014: T-Mobile Independence Ride, starting in Wallis, Texas (west of town between Sealy and Rosenburg). Routes of 12, 23, 42 and 65 miles. Benefits the Independence Fund in support of disabled veterans.
Sunday, November 2, 2014: Houston Donut Rally, starts at Katy Mills Mall (west of Houston via I-10). Rides of 28 and 57 miles; plentiful donuts on the shorter route. Benefits Boys and Girls Country. [late NOTE: organizers now call this the "Breakfast Bash"]
Saturday, November 8, 2014: Pedal Palacios, starting in Palacios, Texas (about 100 miles southwest along US 59, on the coast). Rides of 12, 36 or 60 miles. Benefits the local parks department.
Saturday, November 15, 2014: Just Ride for a Just Cause, starting in Simonton, Texas (south of Katy and west of Fulshear, west of Houston along I-10). Rides of 11, 20, 40, 60 and 73 miles. Benefits organizations that provide support to victims of sexual exploitation.
Saturday, November 15, 2014: Spirit Ride 2014, starting in Livingston, Texas (about 75 miles north along US 59 / I-69). Routes of 25, 35, 44 and 74 miles; benefits Polk County Crime Stopper.
SUnday, November 16, 2014: Kate's Ride, starting in Sealy, Texas (about 50 miles west along I-10). Routes of 33, 44 or 58 miles; benefits HelpHOPELive, a charity that supports transplant and spinal cord injury patients.
Sunday, November 23, 2014: Bike the Bend for Literacy, starts in Richmond, TX (about 35 miles west via the Southwest Freeway, US 59/I-69). Last year featured rides of 20, 35 and 63 miles. Benefits literacy programs for the Fort Bend County schools.
To qualify as a BPMS150 recommended training ride, an event must provide course marshals, SAG support, and staffed rest stops. Participants are also required to wear ANSI or Snell-approved helmets and are prohibited from wearing headphones or using a radio. Individual events may have special rules and regulations. Registration fees are set by the event organizers; many offer discounts for registering early. Many now allow only on-line registration.
This list is incomplete at press time, so check back frequently for new additions!