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Pedaling the Prairie for 2014 to take place Saturday, February 8

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After a dead first weekend in February - what's up with that, anyway - Houston cyclists can get back to business as they get their legs (and other body parts) ready for the BP MS150, looming just over the horizon in April. Whether that's your goal or you're the type of cyclist who prefers to take it easy while others are headed for Austin, your February calendar opens with the 2014 edition of Pedaling the Prairie. Festivities begin at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 9, 2014.

For this ride, recreational cyclists get to choose one of four distances; 24, 45, 55 and 71 miles, all departing from the Waller County Fairgrounds in Hempstead. That's northwest of town, out near where TX 6 and US 290 split on the way to Bryan for you Aggies. Proceeds of the ride benefit Faith West Christian Academy near Katy.

To register, visit BikeReg or Active.com. Registration fees are $35 per participant until January 25th, $40 after that time. Walk-up registration the day of the ride will set you back $45. There's also a family registration for four at $125; early registration only. The first 500 registered riders are guaranteed a Polar water bottle.

It's a BP MS150 Recommended Training Rideā„¢, so the usual conditions apply: rest stops and plentiful course marshals, SAG and mechanical support available, Snell or ANSI-approved helmet required, and no headphones or radios (as if!). No cancellations; event will take place rain or shine.

Getting there: Take US 290 (the Northwest Freeway) to the Farm to Market 359 exit, about 32 miles outside Beltway 8. Turn left (south) on 359 and immediately left again onto Old Houston Highway (NOT the feeder road). After 0.3 miles, turn right on Fairground Road and follow the signs. PtP asks riders to carpool because of limited parking.

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