This weekend: Bike, run, float

A bike tour that is indeed a tour, not a race; a race package that appeals to both your fun and competitive sides, an Asheville-based float that includes beer and possibly ice cream, but not together. Let the summer season begin in North Carolina.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACoast

Wasn’t so long ago that when you read of a “bike tour,” it was anywhere between 35 and 100 miles, and it was less a “tour” than a “race” (despite the fact the starter would note, “Remember, this is a ride, not a race,” which would draw a round of derisive chuckles). Steer clear of the hammerheads out front and you might have a decent ride;  you also might be out-of-luck by the time you reached the rest stops.

But that’s changing.

Witness Saturday’s Historical Southport Bicycle Tour, described as “a historical guide at a leisurely pace that everyone can enjoy.” It’s got to be leisurely if it’s “through the Live Oak canopied streets of Southport, along the Historical waterfront and the Cape Fear River,” as your guide fills you in on such sites as Fort Johnson, the Brunswick Inn, the Old Brunswick Jail, the Smithville Burying Grounds and the Indian Trail Tree. “We will be incorporating local history and cycling as your guide shares stories of Southport’s River Pilots, Blockade Runners, and Pirates,” says The Adventure Kayak Co., which is conducting the two-hour tour.

Logistics: Saturday, May 30, 9 a.m., 807 N. Howe St., Southport. $20 if you have a bike, $25 if you need to borrow one, helmets are required. For more information, go here or call 910.454.0607.

Saturday forecast: Sunny, high of 82.

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Looking ahead: June 6 and 7, paddle the creeks of Bald Head Island with a guide from the BHI Conservancy. Two-hour tour; boats provided. Details here.

Piedmont

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s a problem with races that offer various options: which option to choose?

Take Saturday’s annual Run the Ridge event in Oak Ridge, in Guilford County. There’s the 1-mile fun-run that you could do with your kids, there’s the Run the Ridge On and Off Road 5K, which might appeal to your competitive side, and there’s a new event for this year, the Rugged Ridge Obstacle Race, three miles “entirely in the Oak Ridge Town Park, through the woods, on trails, off trails, jump over stuff, throw water balloons, carry stuff, run through a creek, crawl through stuff, run across logs, climb stuff ObstacleRace,” which likely appeals to your fun and your competitive sides. Which to chose! Such hard decisions.

Turns out you needn’t pick favorites: because of the staggered starts, you can do all three! And for a pretty inexpensive $50 (which also gets your two T-shirts).

Logistics: Saturday, May 30, 8 a.m., Run the Ridge and Rugged Ridge Obstacle Race, $15 for the fun run, $25 for the 5K, $35 for the Rugged Ridge, $50 for the whole package. More info here.

Saturday forecast: Sunny, high of 87.

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4775776716-300x199Looking ahead: June 6, National Trails Day. Twenty-nine events are currently listed in North Carolina with the sponsoring American Hiking Society. Find a NTD-related workday, hike or celebration here.

Mountains

The French Broad Float: coming out of Asheville you might suspect it involves a dollop of handcrafted artisan ice cream splashed into a locally brewed IPA. In fact, it’s a five-day float of the French Broad River, from it’s headwaters near Rosman to Asheville. According to the Asheville Citizen-Times, “The five-day paddle starts at the confluence of the north and west forks of the French Broad River and winds through farmland, under a canopy of trees, before widening to reveal the stunning views of the Appalachian Mountains. The river cuts through the Biltmore Estate, and paddlers will catch a unique view of the majestic house and time to explore the Biltmore Estate grounds and tour the winery.

Logistics: Saturday, May 30 thru Wednesday, June 3, French Broad River. $400 for the full five days, $175 for the first two days only. Includes most meals and Oskar Blues Beer at the end of each day’s paddle. More info here.

Several-day forecast: The typical summer forecast: highs around 80, chance of afternoon thunderstorms.

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Looking ahead: June 6, National Trails Day. Twenty-nine events are currently listed in North Carolina with the sponsoring American Hiking Society. Find a NTD-related workday, hike or celebration here.

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Those are our thoughts on the weekend. Find more options at the sources listed 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 coastal 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

Great Outdoor Provision Co.
Calendar includes three weekly events for each of its seven markets: Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Greensboro, Greenville, Raleigh, Wilmington and Winston-Salem. Search by market.

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.

U.S. National Wildlife Refuges
Rundown, by month, of regular activities at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service refuges in North Carolina.

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