Weekend plans? Get mtb religion, howl, hike

Get religion at a Fat Tire Festival, howl at the coast. It’s all happening this weekend.


Saturday, we salute the Fat Tire. If you’re already familiar with the Church of the Fat Tire, we need only say that Saturday is something of our high holy day here in the Triangle. If you’re not already among the faithful, the 5th Annual TORC Fat Tire Festival is a great way to explore a different branch of exercise ecclesiology: mountain biking.

For the mountain biking tent is open to all, from the young to the old, the tall and small, male and female, fit and not-so. And there’s no better place to explore Fat Tireism than at this annual gathering.

But I don’t even have a bike! You protest. Not a problem: Bike manufacturer GT will be on hand with a demo fleet of bikes. Fork over proper ID and you can take one of the latest mountain bike models for a spin, either through the Briar Chapel neighborhood south of Chapel Hill (where the festival is being held) or on the single-track mountain bike trail developed by TORC at Briar Chapel. No charge. Be prepared to be smitten. Runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Maybe you have a bike but lack confidence in your skills? Well, hallelujah! There are two group rides where you can pick up vital tips from accomplished TORC riders! More experienced intermediates will head out at 9 a.m., a beginner ride departs at 9:30 a.m.

Shy and prefer to sit on the sidelines and watch? Then make sure you’re on hand from 2-3 p.m. for the “bike trails” courtesy of the NC Trials bike club. In the religion of mountain biking, bike trials is the denomination that the rest of us look at in awe. Bike trialers don’t ride their bikes so much as they hop them: from the ground to atop a picnic table, from a picnic table to atop a trash can, from a trash can to atop an SUV. (Oh yeah, don’t park too close to these guys.) Truly astounding stuff. (And well timed, considering Johnny Knoxville returns to theaters Friday, this time in 3D!)

I’m not a mountain biker, I’m into climbing! The Church of the Fat Tire realizes that bouncing over rocks and through between trees at 20 mph isn’t for everyone. In an effort to reach out to other fitness faiths, there will be a climbing wall on the premises. (From 1-5 p.m.)

Bike rodeo, clunker toss (see photo) contest, safety seminar, vendors, food, an attempt at the Guinness Book of World Records for Longest Track Stand and much, much, more, including a chance to rub elbows with actual mountain bike racers taking part on the 6 BC endurance mountain bike race, which begins at 11 and runs until 5. (In addition to actual mountain bike racers I’ll be there, riding with Jammin’ John Holloway as Team Haven’t-Gotta-Clue. Stop by our blue tent in pit row and get a free … well, we don’t have anything to give away, but stop by anyway and we’ll chat.)

Enough proselytizing! Open your mind, expand your horizons, plan to attend Saturday’s 5th Annual Fat Tire Festival. Details, directions and more here.


I never got into the drumming thing. Howling, on the other hand … .

As part of Wolf Awareness Week (you’ve been observing, haven’t you?), head to the coast Saturday and take part in Howl-O-Days II at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. Learn about the red wolves reintroduced to the area in the 1990s, then try talking to the animals by following the lead of a trained howler. There’s no fee for the event, which takes place on the refuge’s Creef Cut Wildlife Trail (about a 20-minute drive west of Manteo). Starts at 6 p.m., bring a flashlight and insect repellant, dress appropriately (including sneakers, in case the wolf you contact decides it would like to meet you.

More info here or by calling 252.796.5600.


The Chargers & Rechargers Hiking Club is doing one of our favorite — and more accessible — hikes Saturday: A 7-mile walk of the Bluff Mountain Trail at Doughton Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Bluff Mountain Trail never strays far from the Blue Ridge Parkway, yet the scenery is swell, from passages through dense hemlock forests to open balds and meadows, this trail offers something to ogle at every turn. And, it’s conveniently located along the parkway between NC 18 and US 21. Estimated hiking time for the 7-mile roundtrip is 4 hours; there’s some up and down on this hike, but not a lot, making this a good pace for seeing the sights.

More info (such as time and where the group will meet) here or by calling 828.295.6385.

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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.


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.

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).


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.



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.


Comprehensive calendar includes a Sports & Recreation category.

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


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.


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.