10/04/13 — Cyclists make stop in city during trek

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Cyclists make stop in city during trek

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on October 4, 2013 1:46 PM

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A bicycle rider erects a tent for an overnight stay at Herman Park on Thursday afternoon. Nearly 1,200 cyclists passed through the city as they took part in the Cycle North Carolina ride across the state.

Goldsboro got an economic shot in the arm Thursday in the form of nearly 1,200 bicyclists riding into the city for an overnight stay on the 15th annual Cycle North Carolina bicycle ride.

The week long ride is held every year to promote physical fitness and to strengthen the local economies of smaller towns across the state. Riders started arriving at the park around noon and kept arriving until mid afternoon.

Some camped for the night at Herman Park. Others stayed in local motels and hotels, with shuttle buses running back and forth from the park, where the ride ended, to the motels and hotels.

John Morris and his 9-year-old daughter, Eleanor, were on their fifth ride across the state, riding together on a purple tandem bike. They live in Durham.

"Eleanor is in year-round school and she has this week off," Morris explained.

Eleanor said she enjoys the ride because of the great snacks she gets to sample along the way.

"It's really fun, and Dad prints songs and laminates them and we sing," she said.

When asked how long it will be before Eleanor rides her own bicycle in the ride, she responded, "30 years."

"I don't know if it will be quite that long," her father said. "It's fun to see different towns every year. I don't know if we've been here before."

Mike Stanley works in Boone at Appalachian State University and tries to make it for at least three days of the ride each year with a group of friends.

"We do it for the fun and exercise," Stanley said.

He said he likes being able to come through small towns and see them at a slower pace than just flying by on the highway.

Bailey Mabry is part of the group riding with Stanley.

"It's hard, for sure. It's challenging. If you haven't challenged yourself you haven't done anything," Mabry said.

He has an aunt in Goldsboro who was going to take him to a local restaurant Thursday evening for supper.

A first timer on the ride is Scott McLeod from Waynesville.

"The first couple of days it's your legs sore. Then your rear, from sitting on the seat that long. Everyone kept telling me it was coming," McLeod said.

While he has spent a lot of time in eastern North Carolina, he said he enjoys being able to visit cities and towns along the way.

"I have never been to downtown Goldsboro until today. It's a great ride for someone who really likes North Carolina," he said.

As far as cyclists go, McLeod said that the Cycle NC group is about as polite as they come.

"We're all tired, so we're in bed by 8:30 p.m. It takes a toll. The average age of rider out here is 53," McLeod said.

Parks and Recreation Director Scott Barnard was at the park greeting the incoming cyclists. He was grinning from ear to ear at having the park packed with cyclists setting up their tents for the night.

"You haven't even seen all of the (tent) bags yet. We have the park and the Holiday Inn Express and Comfort Suites stuffed to capacity with overflow in other hotels," Barnard said. "This is such a cool event."

Donna Mills was visiting the park Thursday and reveled at the number of cyclists milling around after their morning ride into the city.

"I think it's great. I wish we could host more things like this," Mrs. Mills said. "I'm tickled to death Goldsboro is on the route. I'm glad I came out and got to see this."