Sunday, April 29, 2012


April 29, 1944

From the daily diary kept by S.Sgt. G.C. Watts, while stationed in Italy during WWII… “Work on 2 props – Most of  day. Plane on landing gets n prop wash and crashes into another P38. Go up in flames. I photo it..”

Blackberry Winter has apparently now come and gone and we’re back to summer like temperatures here in the mountains of Western North Carolina. It has been quite a weather roller coaster the last week with severe storms interrupting our most recent Thursday night ride.


(l – r Tom, Ashley, Yvette Hart make riding a family matter!)

Our Thursday night “new and newly returning” cyclists group rides have gone well thus far…

My latest cycling column in the Waynesville Mountaineer summarized how things are going in this young riding season.


BicycleHaywoodNC, the local bicycle advocacy council, is enjoying a very nice start to their sponsored seasonal cycling group rides. This year’s “new and newly returning cyclist” rides on Thursday evenings have been quite successful. The first ride consisted of 12 individual and the second ride was populated by 14 riders. The best news about these numbers is that 50 percent of the riders are either “new to the area” riders or local residents rediscovering the joys of cycling. This season, all Thursday evening group rides will originate at Rolls Rite Bicycle Shop on North Main St. in the old Nelson Building just past the Board of Education building. Participants should arrive by 5:30 p.m. with their bicycles and helmets and be ready to roll at 5:45 p.m. on an easy 10 to 12 mile spin around town.

The Family That Rides Together… This past Thursday we had 3 generations of the same family enjoying the ride through the neighborhoods of the Village of Hazelwood. Tom, Yvette, and Ashley Hart joined the other 11 riders as we explored the residential areas between East Waynesville and West Waynesville. Tom, 77 years young, is a former bicycle tour guide and is getting into shape to ride the Great Ohio Bike Adventure this summer. His granddaughter, Ashley, will accompany him again on this cycling adventure. Ashley, age 16, is an incoming junior at the HCC Early College. She is an experienced cyclist already having accompanied her grandfather on other cycling adventures. Mom, Yvette, who is employed by the US Postal Service, fits the category of “newly returning” cyclist and survived nicely what turned out to be an unexpectedly tough “beginners’ ride” two weeks ago. It seems that the road through Greenhill Cemetery from Shelton Street to Main is, in fact, quite steep!

Courtesy and friendliness abounds… I would be remiss if I didn’t report on the friendliness of area motorists during these two rides. Not only have auto drivers graciously shared the road with this group of relatively new cyclists but have gone “beyond the call” by stopping and pleasantly allowing the group to cross intersections together, called out encouragements as they passed, and thrown up hands in greeting. Because we often hear about the conflicts between cyclists and motorists, so it is quite pleasing to report on these friendly encounters. For our part, we strive not to hold up traffic and teach, during the rides, proper and legal riding skills. Again, thanks to all those friendly motorists out there last Thursday evening!

Intermediate level rides on the horizon… This year BicycleHaywoodNC leaders are adding longer distance rides with more climbing involved for the cyclists that are more advanced in conditioning and skills. These rides will cover 20 to 40 miles each and will focus on the different routes of the Blue Ridge Breakaway. Times will alternate but all rides will start at Lynn Park in Clyde. Ride details for all rides are listed on BicycleHaywoodNC’s website.


Planning for the Blue Ridge Breakaway

This past week has also been busy with meetings getting ready for our 3rd Annual Haywood County Chamber of Commerce’s Blue Ridge Breakaway that will be held across August 17th and 18th. The event is expanding to have activities over two full days this year. More details on our featured INTERNATIONALLY KNOWN speakers will be forthcoming shortly. We will also be offering for sale a new ride jersey this year. We are close to the finalized design. We’re pleased to be working with George Hincapie Designs to produce this great jersey.

The Navigator and I are in the process of purchasing her family home and that, along with other commitments,  has resulted in a shortage of miles in my legs this spring. I’m glad that our BicycleHaywoodNC sponsored rides require me to give some priority to those events or I might not be riding at all!

Bike Month, Week, Day is upon us…

We’re looking forward to Bike Month related activities here in Haywood County. So far, we have multiple rides planned, a bike rodeo in cooperation with the local Viet Nam Veterans’ chapter, the Town of Clyde, and Haywood County Parks and Recreation. We’re also planning the second annual Bike to Work day event with the help of Chief Bill Hollingsed and the Waynesville Police Department.  More of those details will be posted as we get closer to the actual events!

As always, I appreciate all of the kind folks that stop by and read my postings.

Until later,

- Zeke

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