Southern Hospitality: The 2015 Week a Year Tour

Photo: Jim Sharpe

Photo: Jim Sharpe

Each year the ECGA Week a Year Tour fundraising ride explores a section of the ECG, beginning where the last year’s tour concluded. Beginning in Calais, ME, in 2011, the WAY Tour is on track to arrive in Key West, FL, in 2019.

Earlier this month, 35 WAY Tour riders pedaled the ECG route from Fredericksburg, VA, to Raleigh, NC. Below is a snapshot of their 325-mile 2015 WAY Tour.

2015 East Coast Greenway Alliance Week a Year Tour

(For personal accounts from Week a Year Tour’s riders, check out the blogs Exploring by Bike and Miles of Spin.)

Early October in the South-Atlantic can mean hurricane season. Sure enough, as the Tour headed out of Fredericksburg, VA, the first two days included some wet weather and resulting unplanned detours.

On the way into Richmond, the first detour included a bridge that was under construction, and on the way out of Richmond, the second detour involved a flooded trail. Nonetheless, riders’ dispositions were warm and sunny – and after the first couple of days – the weather was too!

One highlight from the first few days of the Tour was the new Richmond Hostel. It is quickly becoming the destination for long distance cyclists and others seeking community-oriented and low-cost lodging in the city’s downtown center.

2015 East Coast Greenway Week a Year Tour Richmond Hostel

Photo: Jim Sharpe

The Richmond hostel hosted the WAY Tour riders for our first night’s dinner, which included 6 members from the Virginia ECG State Committee who are working to advance and connect the ECG throughout the state.

Heading south in the Commonwealth State, riders continued to be greeted by and meet with local leaders and trail advocates. In Petersburg, VA, riders were joined by leaders from Friends of Lower Appomattox River (FOLAR), who are advancing the Lower Appomattox River Trail system.

In Lawrenceville, VA, representatives from the Tobacco Heritage Trail set up a tremendous welcome that included a trailside rest stop complete with signs, homemade snacks, and chair massages!

Photo: Dave Read

In NC, the Tour visited the town of Oxford and met with Mayor Jackie Sergent at another rest stop hosted by NC State Committee members.

Once in NC’s Triangle region, the WAY tour wrapped up with some NC BBQ in Durham, a visit to the ECGA’s Durham headquarters office, and some company on the last day of riding into Raleigh, NC.

The East Coast Greenway Cross-Triangle Ride, a public day ride with over 42 local ECGA members, accompanied the WAY Tour on its last 48 miles from Durham to Raleigh. The last day’s ride featured two rest stops provided by local ride partners SAS and the American Diabetes Association.

2015 East Coast Greenway Alliance Week a Year Tour

Photo: Jim Sharpe

Thank you, 2015 WAY Tour riders and supporters! These ECG champions, dedicated to the ECGA mission, worked hard to raise funds, and in doing so, continued to spread word about the East Coast Greenway to their families, friends, coworkers, and neighbors. Some were WAY Tour veterans who return year after year, and some were new to the adventure.

Through their combined efforts these ECG leaders raised over $50,000 this year. Our top fundraisers were Trustees Robert Spiegelman of New Hampshire and Robert Russo of New Jersey. Together they raised over $17,000!

We thank all the WAY tour riders for their commitment and dedication to our shared goal – the completion of the ECG! Next year, we hope to have you join us for the Week a Year Tour!

2015 East Coast Greenway Week a Year Tour

Photo: Jim Sharpe

The 2015 Week a Year Tour also received some great press in Petersburg and Henrico County, VA, as well as Oxford, NC.

For more pictures from the 2015 WAY Tour, please visit our Flickr albums here and here, or on Shutterfly here.