Johnny Ray Century to start & end at Red Clay Brewery on Sept. 7


Johnny Ray Century to start & end at Red Clay Brewery on Sept. 7

Cat Bobo | Auburn-Opelika Tourism

The 17th annual Johnny Ray Century will take place on September 7, starting and ending at Red Clay Brewing Company in downtown Opelika.

This year, the non-competitive Johnny Ray Century has been added to the Alabama Backroads Century Series and will be hosted by the Opelika Bicycle Advisory Committee. Participating cyclists will enjoy “riding a classic rail line” on the scenic (though rugged) rural roads of Lee, Chambers and Randolph counties.

The Johnny Ray Century benefits the Davis-Phinney Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease. Proceeds from the $50 registration benefit the continuation of the work of promoting physical activity—especially cycling—to slow the progression of the neurological disease.

New this year, the ride will start and end at Red Clay Brewing Company, where over 300 participants will sip Mama Mocha’s coffee and fuel up with a light breakfast before the 7 a.m. start time. A lunch of lasagna and salad—and, of course, a frosty craft beer—awaits the cyclists upon completion of their ride.

Another new addition to the event is a simultaneous gravel route called “The Dirty 66.” Riders will have the choice to participate in this route in addition to four others: the 20 mile “Cusseta Commuter,” the 34 mile “Twin Silos Shuttle,” the 60 mile “Lafayette Short Line” or the 104 mile “Johnny Ray Century.”

All routes will be fully supported with friendly volunteers, support and gear vehicles and rest stops with plenty of fluids and snacks.


The Johnny Ray Century began in 2002 after a push from the local community to create a trail following the rail line between Opelika and Roanoke. The name of the event is in remembrance of Opelika native Johnny Ray, a train engineer who engineered a passenger train along the rail line twice a day over 75 years ago and became a well-loved local celebrity.

Online registration for the event is now open. All participants are guaranteed a free t-shirt if they register by September 1.

Pre-registered participants can attend the Packet Pick-Up Party at James Bros Bikes in Opelika on Friday, September 6, from 4:30-7 p.m. Day-of registration begins at 6 a.m. at Red Clay Brewing Company on September 7.

For more information on the ride, contact Shirley Lazenby at or visit

If you're interested in volunteering for the Johnny Ray Century Ride, click here to sign up. 


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