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This year the ride will be prior to the Handy festival!

The WC Handy Festival Three State Bike Ride is the premier cycling event held in "The Shoals" each year. The ride begins and ends at scenic McFarland Park, on the banks of the Tennessee River near downtown Florence, Alabama. Distance options of 21, 39, 61, 70, 100, and 107 miles are available to suit riders of all ability levels.

The Handy Ride will get underway with a mass start at 7:15am. Leaving the park, all riders will travel two miles on Alabama Highway 20, turn left onto Lauderdale County Road 2, and continue some nine miles to the first rest stop. Those choosing the 21 mile option will turn around here and return to the start.

All other riders will continue westbound on CR2 to the beautiful Natchez Trace Parkway. Once on the Parkway, the route turns south and crosses the Tennessee River. A series of rest stops along the Parkway serve as the turnaround points for the various distance options. Because July can be quite hot in northwest Alabama, a total of five rest stops are provided for participants to visit while riding either outbound, inbound, or both. There will also be several SAG vehicles, manned by Shoals Cycling Club members, patrolling the entire route. (Please refer to the "Ride Details" page for further information on rest stops and distance options.)

Back at McFarland Park after the ride, all participants will be treated to Post Ride Lunch:  We'll be having a catered BBQ lunch with smoked pulled pork, smoked pulled chicken, tossed salad, baked potato bar and desert. Soft drinks or bottled water. Showers will be available at the park campgrounds.

Participants are further invited to spend at least one night in "The Shoals" and enjoy some of the many musical performances that make up the W.C. Handy Music Festival. The Festival is a week long celebration of the life and music of W.C. Handy, who was born in Florence and is known as the "Father of the Blues." Rated as one of the top 100 events in the nation, the WC Handy Music Festival offers an excellent opportunity to relax and enjoy the blues as played by both local and nationally-known performers.

The WC Handy Three-State Bike Ride has a long and rich tradition, with 2017 being its 33nd edition. Every year, many participants tell us that it is one of the most scenic and best supported rides they've ever done. Please save the date and make plans to join us this year!

Our Sponsors







Shoals Radio Group


View W.C. Handy Bike Ride in a larger map




Mileage Options:
21, 39, 61, 70, 100, 107

Course is fully sagged.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Registration booth will be open between 6 am and 8 am.

Mass Start at 7:15 a.m. Aid stations will close at 3 p.m. Route closes at 4 p.m.

Start Location:
Start/finish at McFarland Park in Florence. Click here for map.
  A meal and showers after the ride.

Accommodations & Questions:


Handy Festival Office (256) 766-7642

Colbert County Tourism (256) 383-0783

Florence/Lauderdale Tourism at (256) 740-4141 or (888) 356-8687

All riders must wear helmets and must obey all traffic rules and signs.




Copyright ©Shawn McDowell  2017