by Dennis Markatos-Soriano
We’ve been planning for a while to host a big bike ride on Friday, October 22nd between two of central North Carolina’s landmarks. I’ve been promoting it with friends, family and colleagues. But you can’t really know how great a ride is unless you’ve been on it yourself. So this past Sunday, ride leader Dave Connelly led my friend Rob Cotter and me on a dress rehearsal. Afterward, I’m happy to report that I think this ride hits the sweet spot.
Good Exercise But Full of Fun
While the ride is a good workout for most of us thanks in part to a few hills mixed into the 39 miles, it’s a pleasure to explore. For those who don’t like riding alongside cars and trucks too much, you’ll be happy to know that most of the ride is off-road greenway (almost 75%). And most of those miles of greenway are either along creeks or on old rail-beds so they have easy gradients. In fact, the second half of the ride is almost completely free of hills so this could be a perfect ride if you have yet to bike 39 miles in one afternoon.
The ride is full of a range of beautiful vistas and corridors. If you like historic landmarks, it’s got those. Starting at noon at North Carolina’s leading art museum and finishing on the lawn by the Durham Bulls baseball stadium before sunset, this ride connects many of the Triangle’s key urban destinations. And if you want a dose of nature, there is a lot to enjoy like this rock outcropping by Black Creek in Cary pictured to the left. There are lakes and streams, forests and marshes — plenty to make a country boy like me happy. We pass from the Neuse River watershed into the Cape Fear River watershed, and do so without polluting them with fossil fuel exhaust.
A Popular Route
We won’t be the only ones on much of this scenic route. During our ride last Sunday, we saw a mix of people walking, biking, skateboarding and otherwise enjoying the corridor like the couple and their dog pictured to the left.
Mostly Paved and Other Logistics
And as you can see in the picture, a few miles of the trail are non-paved on stone dust and pebbles. For those wondering about tires, one of our riders, Rob, did the ride on his road bike and had little problem. I just recommend not taking the turns too quickly in the two-mile section in Umstead State Park. There aren’t really turns on the American Tobacco Trail section so riding that section isn’t problematic on thinner tires – but use your discretion.
We will have three rest stops along the route with snacks, water, a rest room, and a local speaker who will share exciting progress being made to complete the Cross Triangle Greenway as a safe and accessible route for all. For folks that can’t join us for the whole ride, our ride schedule is posted here so that they can join for whichever piece works for them. And the last 6.5 miles of the ride are family-friendly, so everyone is welcome to join us at 4:15pm for that stretch. We are excited that NC Secretary of Transportation Gene Conti will be one of the featured speakers to present at the finale between 5:15pm and sunset ~6:30pm as we celebrate all efforts to make the Triangle community safe, green, and healthy. This ride is free and open to the public, so please consider sharing this blog or at least the url www.CrossTriangleGreenway.org with people you think may be interested.
Hope to see you on Friday, October 22nd!