On October 3rd, 39 cyclists set out on our 6th Week a Year (WAY) Tour. This tour series started in 2011 at the US/Canada border with a ride to Portland, Maine. Since then, a group of around 40 riders has pedaled over 300 miles further south on the ECG each year, connecting with local communities along the way.
This year’s tour began in Raleigh, NC, with the goal of reaching Myrtle Beach six days later. Unfortunately, Hurricane Matthew was on a similar path. Despite ending two days early due to the storm, riders enjoyed their North Carolina adventure along the Neuse and Cape Fear Rivers.
The tour kicked off Sunday evening with beautiful roof-top views of downtown Raleigh, thanks to one of generous our tour participants. Riders also enjoyed a delicious pre-tour dinner at Taverna Agora in Raleigh and an energizing speech by ECGA Executive Director, Dennis Markatos-Soriano.
On the first day, riders pedaled along the scenic Walnut Creek and Neuse River trails in Raleigh, enjoying the 20-miles of continuous greenway. Near the Neuse River Trail terminus in Clayton, riders refueled at Jones Lunch, a 1950’s era diner and downtown landmark. From Clayton, the group biked 20 more miles to Smithfield, ending the day by riding the Buffalo Creek Greenway along the Neuse River.
In addition to Smithfield, the tour spent evenings in Fayetteville and Elizabethtown and biked two of the region’s most popular greenways: the Dunn-Erwin Rail-Trail and Cape Fear River Trail, both 5-mile sections of the ECG.
On the last day of the tour, riders faced windy and cloudy conditions to Moores Creek National Battlefield in Currie, NC, which is 20 miles north of Wilmington. The American Revolutionary War battlefield marks the beginning of the Gullah-Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor that extends south to St. Augustine, FL. Next year’s WAY Tour will explore the Gullah-Geechee Corridor from Wilmington, NC, to the Low Country of South Carolina.
Although the tour ended sooner than expected, everyone enjoyed four days together, biking 190 miles, escaping a hurricane, and making it through without as much as a single flat tire!
Thank you so much to our tour riders, who each donated or fundraised a minimum of $750 to support the development of the East Coast Greenway. Top fundraisers were Board Chair Robert Spiegelman of NH and Vice Chair Robert Russo of NJ – they each raised around $10,000! We really appreciate everyone who donated, fundraised, or contributed to someone’s tour. This was our largest fundraiser yet, as participants in this and our Maine tour raised $70,000 for the ECG!
We’ll provide details about our next WAY tour early next year. Want to “ride” your own tour virtually? We have partnered with Racery so that anyone can do their own virtual ECG tour!
This blog post appeared in our October 2016 E-newsletter. Click this link to read the entire newsletter.