Elkin will play host to yet another major state event this year, with the announcement late last week that the town will serve as the second stop on the 2017 Cycle North Carolina Mountains to Coast route in the fall. The town already is hosting the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail gathering in March.
Wit Tuttell, executive director of Visit NC, announced the route of the Cycle NC fall event, slated for Sept. 30 through Oct. 7, on Thursday, with the trek to begin in Jefferson at Family Central Park. The journey will end for cyclists at Hammocks Beach State Park in Swansboro.
The cyclists, totally around 1,100, will pedal about 60 miles each day of the trip, with the route starting with moderate to intermediate terrain, and then transitioning to flat, coastal riding, explained Chip Hofler, director of marketing and sponsorships for North Carolina Amateur Sports.
“Elkin has historically been a fantastic stop for us, and was the beginning town in 2011 when the route went from Elkin to Corolla,” said Hofler.
As far as the other towns on this year’s route, after Jefferson and Elkin, riders will have overnight stops in five new towns — Oak Ridge, Chapel Hill, Knightdale, and then the end stop of Swansboro.
“We change the route ever year. We are always looking to take the route to new towns and new places,” Hofler said. “The fact that we were able to include five new communities this year made it particularly attractive. Also, the addition of Elkin was attractive for the committee.”
In addition to the new towns, stops will be made in Wilson and Kinston, between Knightdale and Swansboro. Hofler said the Cycle NC route has not included Wilson since 1999, and Kinston since 2006, with it being “one of the more scenic stops towards the coast because we camp on the banks of the Neuse River.”
Cyclists will camp indoors and in the gym at Elkin Municipal Park during their overnight stay here, or the riders can opt to take shuttles to local hotels for the night but must coordinate lodging on their own.
The cost to participate for the full week is $330, but shorter options are available for those who can’t participate in the entire route. While the camping options are included in the cost, meals, bus transportation and hotel luggage service are additional fees.
The route announcement was made with the help of town representatives in a prerecorded video released at the Cycle NC Route Announcement Party held at Crank Arm Brewing in downtown Raleigh Wednesday night. To view the video announcement, visit https://youtu.be/4ngvfbYdfMg.
This is the 19th annual ride for the Mountains to Coast journey, and is the state’s only cross-state, fully-supported ride created in 1999 with the N.C. Division of Tourism, Capital Broadcasting Company, the N.C. Department of Transportation and North Carolina Amateur Sports as founding partners.
Cycle North Carolina was developed to promote North Carolina’s scenic beauty, heritage tourism, visitor attractions, historic sites, state parks, fitness, healthy lifestyles and the benefits of bicycling to individuals and the state. During the past 18 years, Cycle North Carolina has stopped overnight in more than 100 towns and visited nearly 700 communities.
Registration brochures are available and online registration is open at www.cyclenorthcarolina.org. Cycle North Carolina will be capping registration at 1,100 riders, so those interested are encouraged to register early to avoid missing out on the highlight of the year for cycling in the state.
In addition to the Mountains to Coast tour, Cycle NC will host the Coastal Ride in Oriental April 28-30, and its fourth Mountain Ride in Bryson City Aug. 5-6. The coastal ride is sold out, but registration remains open for the mountain event.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.