Jackson made the announcement Friday morning on Fox 6 WBRC’s “Good Day Alabama.”
Jackson said that unlike the 2012 ride, which spanned five days and 300 miles, the upcoming event will start and finish in Cordova.
“What we sat down and figured out over the off-season is, ‘Let’s pick a town where this could benefit the people in the town.’ So this year the lucky town that we are going to celebrate is the town of Cordova,” Jackson said in an on-air interview.
Later in the segment, Jackson showed a knowledge of one of the city’s unique challenges to rebuilding.
“We want to recognize those people that were affected by this the most, and ... they can never rebuild downtown Cordova because the state came in and found out that their downtown is in a flood plain,” Jackson said.
In December 2011, the city adopted a long-term community recovery plan that addresses the parts of downtown business district that are in the 100-year flood plain.
Several pieces of that plan, such as downtown demolition and a grocery store, are now falling into place. Mayor Drew Gilbert said hosting the second annual “Bo Bikes Bama” is another sign of good things to come for the city.
“This is totally centered around the city of Cordova,” Gilbert said. “It’s not an Alabama thing where Cordova is 10 minutes of the ride. We’re it, and that is such a tremendous boost.”
Gilbert, who met with Jackson in Birmingham about the event on Friday, said the ride will also impact other cities throughout Walker County.
As many as 1,500 bikers are expected to converge on Cordova on Saturday, April 27, and then take a route that will pass through several surrounding cities, including Jasper.
Gilbert said he will spend the next few weeks meeting with local officials to get them on board.
He added that area businesses will also have an opportunity to get involved by serving as a pit stop during the ride.
“We’re going to be looking for local flavor because we want to show off...We really want participation county-wide to help put eyes on Cordova during this time of need for us,” Gilbert said.
Jackson said the ride will have two legs — one 20-mile and one 60-mile. He encouraged bikers to sign up and seek sponsorships to help raise money for the Governor's Emergency Relief Fund.
Last year’s ride raised more than $600,000 for the fund, which was set up to help victims of the April 2011 tornado outbreak. The goal was $1 million.
Lance Armstrong, Ken Griffey Jr. and Scottie Pippen were among the celebrities who joined Jackson for the 2012 ride, and Jackson promised more big names will be participating in this event.
Jackson said that even some people associated with the first “Bo Bikes Bama” had their doubts before the ride began. However, it turned out to be so fun and successful that he decided to make it an annual event.
Jackson, an Auburn alum and native of Bessemer, explained Friday morning why he is so passionate about helping the people of his home state recover.
“It could have easily been my neighborhood, my family and my friends. I’m fortunate that it wasn’t, but still, this is home for me. This is one of the ways that I can give back to the state,” Jackson said.
Further details about the 2013 “Bo Bikes Bama” are expected to be released March 10 at www.bobikesbama.com.