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April 10, 2014
The Cycle NC weekend went as smoothly as a well-oiled bike — considering that 11 hundred cyclists more than doubled the population of Oriental for a few days. For several days they made Oriental their base camp and spent the days riding around Pamlico County. The cyclists came from across North Carolina and from 25 states and the District of Columbia and Ontario, Canada for Cycle NC’s 2014 Coastal Ride.John Robinson of Charlotte, the last rider on a bike built for three near Florence on Saturday. He may have been the youngest participant all weekend. He certainly was the youngest on the bike; the longer legs on the bike belonged to Mike and Cheri Robinson.
It seemed to be, overall, a great weekend for Oriental and all those people a boon for local businesses. Some restaurants were so busy they had to restock after Friday night. The Bean had lines out the door. Retail businesses saw a steady flow – something to cheer about after the cold, slow winter.Cyclists take one of Straight Road’s many curves.
There was some grousing about the wind that kicked in, especially on Sunday, and made the flat terrain more of a challenge. But in general, cyclists and motorists shared the road, and police reported zero incidents. The Oriental Dragon even made a rare non-New Years Eve appearance on Saturday night.As seen from the pier, Lou-Mac Park — which along with a few South Avenue lawns — became a campground for the weekend. Oriental has only so many hotel and inn rooms and all were filled. The temporary tent city was a way to accommodate more than 500 of the cyclists.
Taking the long view, the benefits to Oriental aren’t just this one big economic shot during the weekend but the repeat visits by the individual cyclists. Many cyclists said they’d come back to visit Oriental when they weren’t part of the large pack. Some said they’d come to cycle again, or take to the water, try kayaking. One man from western NC said he wanted to bring his wife and dog next time and just walk around.Cyclists became part of Pamlico County’s landscape during the weekend. Here, some are seen across a field on Silverthorn Road in Florence.
This was the third time that Cycle North Carolina brought its Coastal Ride Weekend to Oriental. The town has been on three-year rotation with Edenton and little Washington in hosting the cyclists.
Many more photos – 12 pages worth — are ahead.While Friday and Saturday were balmy, Sunday dawned colder and windier. Coming from the north, that presented a tail wind for riders pedalling up Oriental’s one and only hill, the Robert Scott Bridge. ( That same north wind was pushing Pamlico Sound water up the creeks and the harbor, which meant Hodges Street got a chance to show the visitors Oriental’s wind tide phenomenon.)A few of the 1100 cyclists in town for the Cycle NC Coastal Ride weekend .A group of riders wearing bike jerseys from a Triangle area karate studio approach the Oriental town limits at the end of their ride on Saturday.
Posted Thursday April 10, 2014 by Melinda Penkava
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