Cross the Triangle: A greenway adventure

Wanna do something more fun than work tomorrow? Wanna do something … epic?

Like ride your bike from Raleigh to Durham, mostly on greenways?

Friday at noon, 40 bikers/greenway enthusiasts will set forth from the N.C. Museum of Art on a 39-mile bike ride that will wind up five hours later in downtown Durham, at the American Tobacco Complex/Durham Bulls Athletic Park. It’s part of an effort to boost support and awareness of greenway development, support for riding greenways not just from Raleigh to Durham, but from the Triangle to Key West, Fla., or to the Canadian border. The latter is the goal of event sponsor the East Coast Greenway Alliance, which is putting together a mostly paved, off-road bike path that will run more than 3,000 miles along the East Coast. The event is also sponsored by the local Cross Triangle Greenway group.

The path for tomorrow’s ride is the East Coast Greenway’s route through the Triangle. And a surprising amount of it — nearly 75 percent, according to ride organizers — is finished.

Reasons to ride:

  • You’ll be able to discover the 75 percent of this 39 miles that is finished. More importantly, you’ll be able to find the best way to bridge the stretches that aren’t.
  • Except for those brief on-road stretches, the ride will be devoid of competition from cars. (Do you know how difficult it is in the Triangle to ride 39 miles free of cars? It’s difficult, but thanks to the region’s growing greenway network it’s getting easier.)
  • The ride has rest stops: at mile 10.5 (Cary’s Godbold Park), 22.6 (White Oak Church trailhead) and 31.4 (the REI at Southpoint Mall in Durham). Snacks, drinks, rest rooms — can life get better?
  • It’s supposed to be sunny and 68 degrees.

Perhaps the best reason to ride? The list of confirmed attendees, which reads like a  Who’s Who of Greenways — not just in the Triangle, but anywhere. Among the confirmed riders:

Dennis Markatos-Soriano, executive director of the East Coast Greenway Alliance (and UNC grad who grew up in Pittsboro).

Chuck Flink, president and founder of Durham-based Greenways Inc. One the nation’s top authorities on greenways.

Sig Hutchinson, whose contributions to local trail, open space and greenway development are two numerous to mention (go here for a rundown). The driving force behind greenway and trail development in the Triangle.

Some things you should know if you plan to ride:

  • The ride starts at noon, at the N.C. Museum of Art.
  • Can’t make it to the start? The peleton plans to hit the following locations at the following times: Cary’s Godbold Park, 1:20 p.m.; Bond Park, 1:25; White Oak Church trailhead, 2:45-3; REI in Durham, 4-4:15.
  • There will be a shuttle, but you’ll need to sign up, pronto, when you sign up for the ride. Go here for that.
  • The ride is free. You just need a bike and a helmet.
  • What kind of bike? you ask. The route is mostly paved, mostly flat. However … there is five miles of fine, compacted gravel screenings through Umstead State Park and a little less than that on the American Tobacco Trail. Road tires will be OK; be advised there are some good hills in Umstead.
  • A pace of 10-13 miles per hour is anticipated.
  • * The ride is expected to reach downtown Durham a little after 5 p.m.
  • There will be a little get-together at the end of the ride. Come prepared to get together.

You can find more information on the ride at Cross Triangle Greenway.

Be prepared to share the path.

If you can’t make it, you can still live the ride in real time by following my account on Twitter at JoeAGoGo. And if the boss busts you for Twittering in your cube, I’ll be writing about the ride next week. That report will also include a map of the route so you can ride it in your free time. Still, much as I’d like to pretend that reading my account will be like being there, there’s no substitute for actual participation. Try and join us.

Did I mention it’s supposed to be sunny and 68?

Photo at top: A goodly portion of Friday’s Cross Triangle Greenway ride is on the American Tobacco Trail.

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