This weekend: Test your mettle with the pedal

The 2011 ride

Bike rides of the mama bear, papa bear and baby bear variety abound this weekend in North Carolina. Whether you’ve been riding a day or a lifetime, there’s a ride for you.


The thing that freaks some casual cyclists out about organized rides is the suggested competitive element. Sure, it’s billed as a ride. But you’d never guess that from jackrabbits-in-kits at the front of the pack. And the distances: 25 miles is considered the “fun” ride!?

Saturday’s 24th Annual River to Sea Bike Ride dispels the competitive notion right off the bat. First, it’s self-described as a “casual-pased bicycle ride from downtown Wilmington to Wrightsville Beach.” Second, it’s only 11 miles, following Wilmington’s River to Sea Bicycle Route. And who wants to ride fast, anyway, when you’re pedaling past the likes of Riverfront Park, the Children’s Museum, Empire Park, UNCW, the Arboretum, Airlie Gardens and the Wrightsville Beach Museum? Plus, you can either ride your bike back from Wrightsville Beach or  take the trolley!

Logistics: The ride is free, but registration is requested — just show up at 8 a.m. on Saturday (May 4), sign up and you’re good. The ride begins at 8:30. Helmets required. More info here.

Saturday forecast: Some clouds, high of 73.


Another sign of a mellow organized ride? It starts — and more importantly, ends — at a winery.

Such is the case with Saturday’s Bike MS: Gears and Cheers ride out of the Grove Winery in Gibsonville. Ride options of 20, 40 and 50 miles are available, registration includes lunch and wine from 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Civil cycling at its best.

Logistics: Saturday, May 4, with check-in and day-of registration beginning at 7:30 a.m., the 50-mile ride at 8:45 a.m., the 20- and 40-mile rides at 9 a.m. $45 online through May 2, $50 day of. More info here.

Saturday forecast: Partly cloudy, high of 70.


So the hard-core cyclists among you are probably wonder, “Where’s our ride?”

In Cashiers, site of the 21st annual Tour de Cashiers, where 300 riders are expected to tackle one of three mountain routes: The 25-mile (Quarter Century) route which heads out to Pine Creek Road, then hits North Norton and Norton Roads before returning via U.S. 64; the 62-mile Metric Century, which takes in Toxaway, Balsam Grove and Tuckasegee; and the 100-mile Century, which climbs a total of 10,500 feet. Post-ride meal provided by The Gamekeeper’s Tavern and The Orchard restaurant.

Logistics: Saturday, May 4, 9 a.m. Pre-registration is from 4-6 p.m. Friday at Bucks Coffee Cafe in Cashiers. For more info and to register online, go here.

Saturday forecast: High of 55, 20 percent chance of rain.

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

Todd’s Calendar



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.

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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