MANCHESTER - Manchester's Bike Committee invites area residents and businesses in helping welcome more than 150 cyclists when they tour the center of town on Friday morning, Aug. 15 shortly after 8 a.m.

Some 150 Vermont Challenge cycling participants will gather at the Manchester Rec Center and ride through the new roundabouts and down Route 7A South to the Shaw's traffic circle before heading out Route 30 to embark on second day of the four-day tour.

Those interested may line the route from the roundabout to Shaw's circle, bring along signs or flags to wave and offer cheers of encouragment.

The Vermont Challenge is a four-day event that starts at Stratton on Aug. 13 and includes overnights in Manchester, Ludlow and Killington. Each participating town will receive funds raised by the Challenge for local non-profits. Manchester's designee will be Meals on Wheels. Last year over $3,000 was distributed after the event.

The Manchester Bike Committee is developing a variety of programs to encourage cycling tourism in the area, including an extensive mapping system covering the region with designated and delineated routes, bike-friendly local accommodations, restaurants and other services. Its activities are detailed at www.bikemanchesterVT.com.

The cyclists participating in the four-day Vermont Challenge event will spend the night in the Manchester area on Thursday, Aug.


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13, after completing rides from Stratton to Manchester on Routes 11-30, then along back roads such as River Road to Arlington and back, with the longer option of going out to Dorset and back.

Over four days, riders will travel up to 286 miles, with a shorter tour pegged at 197 miles. Full details are available at www.vtchallenge.com.