It's Thursday March 23, 2017
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Spoke’s eye view
In August of 2005, just 2 months after acquiring her new Raleigh bike, just 2 months before her inaugural Cycle NC ride, “I got distracted one day and ran into the curb.” A medical seamstress tended to the consequences.
“It did not keep me from doing the Cycle NC ride,” Julia says. “I had told everyone I was going, so I had to go, stitches or not.”
“I also had to learn how to go downhill as much I had to learn to go uphill.”
Her first mountains to the sea trip left a lasting impression. “Some of the riders camped,” Julia recalls, “I stayed in hotels because I had never camped before and I thought one new adventure would be enough to try on this trip.”
“The first days were beautiful, but when we woke up on Thursday morning in Albemarle, it was raining. Our goal was Laurinburg that day. A rider from Seattle said she was tired of sun and was glad to see the rain. That got a few laughs. But on that day, even during the rain, we went through Rockingham and got to ride around the NASCAR North Carolina Motor Speedway track.”On long treks across the state or across the village topography, Julia’s drive-train leaves no carbon footprint.
“At the end of that day – and it really rained hard for a while – those of us who were staying in hotels were met by the hotel managers with towels, for us and for our bikes. We figured out the managers didn’t want wet bikes in their hotels. Even though it rained for the the next two days, I was ready to go back the next year.”
Were there times she ever asked herself why she was doing this? She said that the going was never that tough. “One year I had a flat tire, but somebody helped me fix that. There was always a support crew along. There was only one time that I walked hills. It was around Pilot Mountain; the hills seemed like they were straight up.”Her advice to those who think they want to try the mountains to sea: get out an ride for stretches at a time. “You should think of doing 10 or 15 miles in the beginning. In Cycle NC there is a rest stop every 15 miles.”
During the 8 years that Julia rode across the state, the journeys would start in different mountaintowns. She recalled Boone, Black Mountain, West Jefferson, and Asheville as starting points with a location at or near the Outer Banks for a destination.
Eight was enough. A few years ago, she stopped making those mountains to the sea treks, but she hasn’t stopped bicycling.
“I keep riding and now I do the MS ride in New Bern every fall. I have done that since 2005, the first year I did Cycle NC.”To test her endurance, Julia tackled the Bike MS Ride in New Bern just prior to her first Cycle NC adventure.
This weekend will be her 12th MS Ride in New Bern. For many weeks now, her bike has sported a hand-lettered sign promoting the ride which raises funds to help fight multiple sclerosis.
You may also see Julia out riding in Oriental. In her retirement, she splits time between her hometown and her home in Raleigh. “I’m here in Oriental as much as I am in Raleigh, more in the summers. I’m here if I’m not in Raleigh.”Julia has found most motorists share the road.
Now a veteran rider with thousands of miles under her tires, she says she finds most drivers coexist amicably with cyclists. Sometimes she encounters those who don’t share the road so well.
“Most drivers are good, but occasionally…… You can be riding on a straight stretch of road, no yellow lines, no oncoming traffic, and a car will come up behind you and not move over one bit passing you.”
It’s been almost a dozen years since she was inspired to ride. “I’m on my third bike now. I wear them out.”
She, however has not. It’s been great for exercise for one. And she hasn’t lost sight of that thing that first drew her to cycling. “I still do it for fun.”
Give Julia a bit of space on the road and a wave. You’ll likely get The Wave from her in return.Julia’s shadow leaves a wave on the Oriental bridge.
Spokes. TownDock.net explores bicycling in Oriental - from Spandex carbon fiber to rusty village single speeds.