Ride, ride, ride, hitch on to a ride*

No matter where you plan to be in North Carolina this weekend, you can hook up with a good bike ride.

Piedmont

Often when you move into new digs there’s so much going on you don’t have time to throw an open house. A couple months may pass before it dawns on you, “Oh, yeah … .”

That’s sorta the case with the East Coast Greenway Alliance. In February, the Alliance, which is spearheading an effort to create a 3,000-mile greenway from Key West, Fla., to Canada, announced it was moving its headquarters from Rhode Island to Durham. The move was seen as the Alliance’s recognition that while the greenway was progressing nicely in the Northeast (60 percent of the trail is done through New York, about 50 percent in New Jersey and a number of other states), development in the South was lagging. North Carolina, which stands to house about 390 miles of the East Coast Greenway, only has 14 percent of it complete. Thus, while it was unpacking boxes, signing a lease, getting its mail forwarded AND pushing for more greenway development in the South, an open house was delayed — until this Saturday.

And what better way to meet your new cycling neighbors than by throwing a bike ride?

The 28-mile ride will start and end in the heart of Durham, at the Diamond View lawn, next to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park and across from the American Tobacco Campus. Fittingly, more than half of the ride (57 percent for you sticklers) will be on greenway (including the American Tobacco Trail and the recently completed Third Fork Creek Trail), “with the safest roads we could find for the rest,” according to ride organizers.

U.S. Rep. David Price will say a few words at 9:45 a.m. before the ride departs at 10 a.m. There are two rest stops, including one at the East Coast Greenway Alliance’s new office, and riders are expected to return at 1:20 p.m. Smaller riders can partake of the last 4.25 miles of the event with a small fry ride departing Solite Park on the ATT at 12:30.  Go here for a map of the route.

I’ll in the mix (look for a red cross bike), tweeting, shooting video, taking pictures — the whole multi-media thing. I’ll have a report on the ride next week, but really, it won’t be the same as being on the ride, which requests only a $5 donation (it’s free if you’re a member of the East Coast Greenway Alliance.) Should be fun.

For more on the ride, go here.

Photo: Saturday’s ECGA open house ride finishes on this stretch of the American Tobacco Trail heading into downtown Durham.

Coast

Meanwhile, at the coast it’s the 22nd Annual River to the Sea Bike Ride, a “casual-paced 20-mile ride” from Wilmington’s Front Street out to Wrightsville Beach Park and back using the River-to-the-Sea Route).  The ride is intended for all level of riders, it’s flat and there will be refreshments at the midpoint, in Wrightsville Beach Park. You must wear a helmet for this free ride that starts at 8:30 a.m. from Bailey Theatre Park, 12 N. Front Street in Wilmington.

More info, call 910.798.7165 or 910.256.7925

Mountains

Whenever I think of mountain rides I tend to think of long, grueling climbs up grades approaching 20 percent being pushed by lean, large-lunged cyclists. Maybe that’s why I tend not to think of mountain rides all that often. But Saturday’s ride sponsored by the Watauga Leisure Bike Club (just the name inspires comfort) is one worth giving  a thought.

The Watauga Leisure Bike Club (motto: “Biking for The Fun of It”) is, says its Web site, “an informal club consisting of cyclists of varying ages and abilities who enjoy biking and sightseeing.” They sponsor two or three rides a week, most taking two hours or less, on routes that can range from “very flat to quite hilly.”

Saturday’s ride begins at 9 a.m. and is rated “Low Intensity with higher intensity option.” It starts (and ends) from the Bethel Community Park in Sugar Grove (here’s a map.) It’s free.

For more info on the ride and the club, go here.

* * *

* Apologies to Vanity Fare (and to you).

Those are GGNC’s thoughts for an active weekend. Find out other ways you can get out this weekend by browsing our super calendar, a collection of events calendars from throughout the state, below.

Coast

CapeFearCoast.com
Comprehensive calendar for the Cape Fear/Wilmington/southern N.C. coast searchable by date and event name.

Coastal Guide
Comprehensive calendar including nature programs from a variety of costal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs. Covers the entire coast.

Crystal Cost Tourism Authority
Comprehensive calendar focusing on the Crystal Coast. Good source for programs offered by N.C. Coastal Federation, Cape Lookout National Park, N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve and other costal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs.

NCCoast.com
Comprehensive calendar including programs for the Outer Banks and Crystal Coast.

North Carolina Coast Host
Comprehensive calendar for the entire coast that lets you search for events by day, by region, by county, by city or by event (based on key word).

This Week Magazine
Primary focus is the Crystal Coast (North Carolina’s coastal midsection).

Mountains

Asheville Citizen-Times
From the main page, click on “Outdoors,” then WNC Outdoors calendar.

Blue Ridge Outdoors
Searchable calendar lets you extend your reach to events throughout the mid-Atlantic and Southeast (or you can just limit it to North Carolina). Also lets you search a boatload of categories, ranging from Hiking, Mountain Biking and Climbing to Trail Running, Triathlon and Road Walking.

The Mountain Times
From the main page, click on “Calendars,” then Main Events.

Todd’s Calendar

Piedmont

Charlotte

Charlotte Observer events calendar
Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including Nature, Recreation, Recreation & Wellness, Running

Charlotte Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Triad

GoTriad.com
Comprehensive calendar includes a Sports & Recreation category.

Piedmont Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Triangle

Triangle.com
Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including: Birding, Boating, Cycling, Nature, Rec & Wellness, Recreation, Running, Swimming, Tennis, Yoga.

Carolina Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Statewide

Office of Environmental Education
One calendar for the numerous Environmental Education Centers statewide.

North Carolina State Parks
Lets you search for programs at the state’s parks, recreation areas and natural areas by location, by month, by topic. To reach the calendar from the home page, click on “Education,” then “Fun & Free Programs at Parks.”

National Forests in North Carolina
From the home page, click on Carolina Connections for news updates on the state’s four national forests as well as hints on recreational opportunities and a detailed rundown of recreation areas and the amenities at each.

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