The Flattest Century in the East brings 1500 cyclists to Dartmouth

Sep 9, 2019

Dartmouth drivers may have encountered an unusual number of cyclists on the road on Sunday, as the 47th annual Flattest Century in the East bicycle ride drew in 1500 people from all over New England.

The Narragansett Bay Wheelmen bicycle club puts on the event every year. A few different course options are provided for riders, including the 100-mile “century”, all starting and finishing at UMass Dartmouth. 

But does the town of Dartmouth really have the flattest 100 miles in the East?

“It might have been back [when it started], because there weren’t many centuries,” said NBW president Ted Shwartz, a former Dartmouth resident, who was running the check-in table. 

“The president at the time was a marketing man,” supplied former club president Ray Foulkes, who was sitting nearby. 

He laughed. “It is relatively flat.”

Shwartz said that the ride typically draws participants aged 8-90 years old from 15-20 different states. 

This year, he said, there was even a family from the Netherlands.

“There are many professional and semi-professional centuries now,” said Foulkes. “Our ride is one for the riders.”

All proceeds from the event go towards running the club, and any excess funds go directly to other cycling organizations in the area.

“Today went very well,” Shwartz noted. “It’s beautiful weather, happy riders. They seem pretty happy to be done.”

“We really appreciate that now they’ve repaved Lucy Little Road,” he added with a wry smile. “Especially since it’s about mile 98.”

Kevin Garcia of Providence was resting on the grass after completing his third Flattest Century in the East. 

He called the event “Type 2 fun,” explaining that it’s only fun when you think about it afterwards. 

“It’s a grueling day, but it was such a perfect day,” he said, before making a face. “Now I need to cycle back to my car...Walking is kind of difficult.”

Lisa Prehodka and her girlfriends from the Ridgefield Bike Club in Connecticut were celebrating the completion of their first century.

“I feel very happy,” she said. “We thought [the ride] was fantastic. Very well organized, beautiful scenery, and not too too much elevation.”

Cape Cod husband and wife team Sue and Mike McKenna, on the other hand, have been doing the ride with their friend Mike Ledwitch for around 20 years.

“It’s the best course around,” said Mike McKenna. “It’s the scenery,” Sue agreed. “It’s everything. The ocean, and the countryside, and farms. It’s all that’s perfect about New England.”

“Of course,” she added with a laugh, “We’re very happy because it’s over now.”