The first ever, to my knowledge, Bike to Work Day Ride came off without a hitch this morning in my hometown of Waynesville, NC. I managed to pull myself from bed earlier than my typical 7:00 a.m. in order to be at the starting point to greet participants…
(Waynesville Alderman LeRoy Roberson meets some powerful women!)
The Navigator had already made her way downstairs and was in full preparation for her day of work. I managed to clear my eyes enough to make some attempt at raising the blinds. (Did I mention that I was up earlier than I wanted to be?) The first blind raised presented a heavy looking gray sky full of what looked like cloth bags ready to split open and drop their precious contents on the land below. Oh No! I thought to myself. It’s supposed to be pretty today! Thoughts of a low turnout or no turnout due to rain swiftly slipped through my sleep deprived brain. (I’m not kidding – I really don’t like to get up early!)
Being quite aware of the condition I would be in this morning, I took steps last night to minimize any required activity to get me from point A (my bed) to point B (the starting point of the BTWD ride) this morning. I loaded my bike up last night leaving me only to complete the most basic of duties before departing. (I’ll leave those to your imagination at this point.)
As I topped the mountain on my way into Waynesville, the first drops of rain started to smear the remains of bugs on the windshield. I could see one rather ominous cloud rolling in from the southwest headed directly for our town. Dropping down the mountain and coming into Waynesville proper did not change the circumstances – light rain continued to fall and the roads began to lightly glisten.
With a sense of dread, I made my way to our starting point on the southwest end of Waynesville and awaited the arrival of the first participant of the day… and waited… and waited. (Seems that in my eagerness, I had arrived perhaps 30 minutes earlier than needed. Still, I’m glad I was there and ready to ride.) First to arrive was Don Kostelec, our Haywood County Bike Plan Project Manager, who had joined us from some 20 miles away to participate in this first ever BTWD event.
Then I noticed – it wasn’t raining! The light drizzle had drizzled away and the roads were dry! More riders began to appear. The parking lot took on the hues of fully kitted riders and riders dressed for work alike!
After some brief welcoming remarks by yours truly, we headed out on our ride under the escort of the Waynesville Police Department “cycle patrol” and car mounted officers, who controlled traffic at each intersection along our route granting us free wheeling movement. We got strung out fairly quickly as the lead patrol car was hitting about 22 to 25 mph. A quick radio call to the lead car allowed the group to compress.
Our route took us through the Village of Hazelwood, by two schools, two churches, the public library, and ended with a downhill coast to the mini-park in downtown Waynesville. At the end of the ride, we were feted with coffee and pastries by event co-sponsor Smoky Mountain Café.
(Good coffee and fresh muffins greeted our first ever participants!)
(Brian and Nancy chat post ride!)
(Fellow commuters get to know each other!)
(Rob and Tyler – THANKS GUYS!)
Our ride and event wrapped up within an hour or so. For the record, 14 cyclists comprised this first Bike to Work Day ride. Other places may surely have had more participation but, I’ll bet none of them had more fun! Thanks to all who participated including co-sponsors Smoky Mountain Café and the Waynesville Police Department! I think we should do it again…