Note: This schedule will vary as the season and weather change. Call if you have any doubts.
Sunday - 10:00 a.m. Meet in the parking lot at the Minnesott Beach Golf Club. Route will be decided by the group. Typically the ride is over 25 miles and at a pace over 15mph. Lunch is an option after the ride at the MBCC clubhouse. Call Tom Cochran (252-249-0761) for details.
Wednesday - 4 p.m. Meet at the Broad Street Grill in Oriental. Everyone rides together for the first 5 miles and then the group splits for either a 10+ or 20 mile ride. The longer ride usually moves at a 17+mph pace bringing all riders back to the Grill within a few minutes of each other. There is a pizza social after the ride.
Saturday - 8:30 a.m. Meet at Lou Mac Park on South Ave. This is a very relaxed 10 mile ride out to Whittaker Pointe Marina and back. At about mile 7 there is an optional 10+ mile loop available for those who wish to put on more miles at a much quicker pace. Either way the coffee at the Bean is hot when we all return. The Saturday ride consistently attracts 12 or more riders of all ages and skill levels. If you know someone who would like to start riding or return to riding invite them along (don't forget a helmet).
Around the Sound 2008
Notes from the Sag Wagon, by Pat Thomaier
A team of 15 brave souls, aged ten to "too old to be doing this" set out at 9 AM, Oriental time, on Oct 23 for the third annual OEBC multi-day ride, "Round the Sound". Organizers Mary Ann Parham and Doug Sligh developed a tour plan that spared riders the grueling 98 mile Belhaven -Manteo stretch, and built in a day off in Ocracoke. So far, so good...
Day #1 - Wednesday
How could the wind shift against us at every turn? Even the best riders battled to maintain 13mph today, and lesser mortals hoped to break into double figures. Bread slices took flight as the SAG team battled to weigh them down with peanut butter. Up to the Aurora ferry, on to Belhaven: forty-two miles seemed like fifty-two - actually, for John Messer, who missed a turn, it WAS fifty-two. Finally, the whole group converged on the River Forest Inn, the grand dame of Belhaven. A faded beauty, the inn is more cherished now for her eccentricities than her beauty (or hot water). But evening and dinner at "Wine 'n Words", with plenty of both, put the riders back in good spirits and ready for Day #2.
Day #2. - Thursday
The dawn patrol, comprising seven speedsters, set out for a 30 mile ride to make the 9:30 Swan Quarter ferry. The train of yellow jackets (not those kind, Doug) took advantage of relatively calm air and arrived well ahead of schedule. More sensible folks caught a SAG ride for the first ten or so miles. Boarding the ferry, the OEBC commandeered the upper salon, feasting on pb&j, smoked salmon and assorted treats, carbo-loading for the one mile stretch to the Pony Island Motel.
Once on the island, R&R was the rule, with riders meandering through town, relaxing on the porch, or in a few cases, napping until dinner at Howard's Pub. These "bikers" weren't what the waitresses were expecting, but Cynthia regained some street cred for us. When a waitress placed a bottle of wine in front of her and asked, "How many glasses?" she replied, "ONE!" It was that kind of ride, so far.
Yet another case of mistaken identity: the early rising fisherman saw Russ in lycra shorts and a yellow mesh vest: "Going golfing?" Russ, having won a "best legs" contest in college, was unfazed. Later that day, Diane had son Tristan buy a purse (one coupon per customer and Diane, having multiple coupons, was not about to pass up the bargain for lack of another 'customer')... not a good day for the men of clan Stewart!
Although it was windy, the day was pleasant, with many folks riding up to the Hatteras ferry and being blown back - nice to see 17+mph on your odometer. Two hard core riders decided to do a couples century: Tom and Cynthia each rode to the Hatteras Lighthouse and back, a 50 mile round trip. Showoffs!
Day #4- Saturday
As we rode back on the ferry, we watched the sky get darker. Could it really get any windier than it had been so far? Yes, it could, and wetter, too. This was the Alpe d'Huez of the trip, a test of mettle for each rider. Wind pushed bikes sideways, rain fell in faces, but the now deranged riders continued, taking a lift from the SAGs only under duress. A timely correction from Lesley kept John Messer from once again sneaking in more mileage. One team, not the slowest, clocked 4 1/2 hours for the 38 mile trip to the Carteret County Home B&B in Beaufort. Lesley and Donna pedaled from ferry to hotel on town bikes, a feat worthy of special mention. And note that they were smiling the whole way! Diane's bike was probably the only one not being blown sideways- but how she pushed that tank forward we'll never know. At the hotel, veteran cyclist Enrique pronounced this day one of his top ten all time worst rides. The only disagreement would have been from other riders who were convinced it was their absolute worst ride ever—and they would never try to top it! SAGs Ron and Pat were by now grateful to have a job to do that provided an excellent excuse to stay dry. Cozy lodging and hot showers were a welcome relief. Everybody ate well at Clawson's that night.
Day #5 Sunday
Sunshine! With breakfast delivered to our rooms, it was a slow start to the last day. (Once again, Lesley had to provide a gentle correction to a certain rider who 'took a wrong turn' into her room). We gave the B&B dogs a farewell belly rub, and set out for home. A perfect riding day! Newly energized, the group moved along smartly, and Donna, with David coaching (you can go faster, you can go faster) likely had a personal best time to catch the group so that we could take an earlier than planned ferry. PS, Donna was NOT smiling when she arrived.
For the most part, wind and rain were a memory, and happy riders made their way over Mt. Oriental, back to the house with the yellow shutters on Mildred.
What a great trip!! For those of us who had only spent a few hours riding with the group in Oriental, it was a chance to spend time with new friends. As after many journeys, life changing decisions were made: Lesley and Cynthia vowed that road bikes were in their futures. This was Kathryn and Enrique's last ride before leaving on their grande voyage We had Doug and Mary Ann back, who had missed last years trip while cruising. Cynthia and Tom, newly arrived from Greece, saw the wonders of Eastern NC - if not exactly the Acropolis, at least the charms of Ocracoke. David and Donna came up from Lake Waccamaw and we can only hope they'll spend more time with us in Oriental (Donna might just be thinking of a new bike too). And the Russ, Diane and Tristan brought the average age of the group down considerably - nice to see folks maintaining that much energy while the rest of us were wearing out. SAGs Ron and Pat didn't even try to pretend to miss riding and were happy to stay dry and warm, and even happier that there were no true emergencies.
If you're reading this and wondering about taking a bike trip, consider this: last year it was very hot, this year is was cold and windy...the 2009 trip should be just perfect!
OEBC Century - Oct 12, 2008
For those who missed the OEBC Century this past Sunday, you missed a great ride through the beautiful NC countryside. The weather was absolutely perfect with just the right amount of sun and clouds. The wind kept us guessing but as expected was usually in our faces.
A HUGE thank you to the very special SAG Sisters for keeping us PB&J'd , banana'd and watered throughout the ride. We could not have completed the ride without them. The SAG Sisters were Chief Organizer Mary Ann, the very appreciated and omnipresent Tonya and photographers extraordinaire Cynthia and Barbara.
John is currently sorting through more than 200 photos, ah... digital is a wonderful thing. They will be posted in the near future.
Croaker Festival Parade
The OEBC crew showed up in full force for the Croaker Festival Parade on July 5th. The theme was A Patriotic Croaker and the club was wearing the right colors!
CYCLE NORTH CAROLINA IN ORIENTAL April 10-13, 2008
The Oriental Express Bike Club was thrilled to share our part of the world with over 700 cyclists. It was an opportunity for many to learn what we already know - that this a great place to ride and reside!
The club suggested routes, organized a roadside clean up, and hosted a famous Tennessee Ronnie Pig Pickin. A cast of thousands (maybe less) did all the rest and did it well. Some of us were able to ride each day and enjoy seeing all that spandex on the roads we frequent.
As a portent of good weather to come, the sun finally broke out a few hours before registration opened on Thursday, a serious band of thunderstorms passed just inland of Oriental on Saturday and Sunday's early morning showers quickly dissipated. The wind was an issue on Saturday's rides, but around here we refer to headwinds as "the Hills of Pamlico County."
In addition to great rides, cyclists were able to enjoy a friendly town, waterfront campsites, and numerous other activities. Based on the number of smiles observed, it appeared it was a successful weekend.
If you want to read another person's opinion of cycling in Pamlico, check this out. And, here is the Cycle North Carolina website report.
This is part of the OEBC crew at the rest stop in Hobuken.
Historic Walking (and Biking) Tour of Oriental
1.2 mile loop - map & directions available at the Museum, 802 Broad St. While you are there, check out the museum. It's worth a visit to see how we came to be.