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Big opportunity for Bladen County to increase economy

Bladen County Bike Riders

UPDATE on Thursday, October 1st: Cycle N.C. ends today due to weather

According to Dawn Maynard, Executive Director of Elizabethtown – White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, Chris Wicker one of the Cycle N.C. organizers had to cancel the ride expected to travel through Bladen County tomorrow. The event has been called off due to the weather. The annual Mountains to the Sea bike ride will end in Lumberton today.

Bladen County will once again be honored for Cycle N.C. Mountains to Coast week-long ride to have stopping points locally next Friday, October 2nd. The 500-mile bicycle ride across the state of North Carolina will begin this weekend in Waynesville with the goal to introduce the 1,100 cyclist and their families to the rural areas in our state according to Chris Wicker, one of the Cycle N.C. organizers.

According to Elizabethtown Town Manager, Eddie Madden, the cyclists, some of which will be looking for a nice community to retire in, will be coming through Bladen County on Friday, October 2nd. The stops in our county according to the plan will first be at Lu Mil Vineyard. The riders will then travel down Broad Street in Elizabethtown, hopefully stopping to shop and eat, and then move down Airport Road turning on Gibson Dairy Road, and stopping for lunch at White’s Creek Baptist Church in Clarkton.

Karla Ward with Lu Mil Vineyard said, “We stay in he loop with them (Cycle N.C.) because we do it every year, but this year is different. Instead of providing lunch for the riders, this year we will be their first rest stop outlay which means they will be spending more time here.” According to Ward the event organizers have a touchdown meeting with local representatives in October to go over their plans for their riders in Bladen County. Ward estimated the crowd stopping at Lu Mil from 9 am until around 1 pm.

Dawn Maynard the Executive Director of the Elizabethtown – White Lake Chamber of Commerce explained when and how people can help with this event. Maynard said, “You should expect to see riders coming through Elizabethtown 10 am through 2 pm. If people have banners from past years, if they will put them up, if they don’t have banners, step out and wave, or make signs to hold up.” Maynard also said, “If you don’t have a banner and would like to get one, you still have time to get one made.”

Ray Britt with Ray’s Furniture and Jewelry Liquidation on Broad Street in Elizabethtown said, “I think this opportunity is fantastic. The Town Council, the Mayor, and the Town Officials have done a wonderful job promoting our town. I would like to see everyone out on our street waving, applauding and welcoming the riders with open arms. I know we will be out there.”

According to Madden, some of the riders are planning to stop at Brown’s Creek Bike Park. “If we could have people there holding up signs and welcoming the riders, that would be great.”

Kincy Barrow, excited about the riders making White’s Creek Baptist Church their lunch stop saw it as an opportunity to showcase several different aspects in our county. According to Barrow the group will be able to choose from Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches, and power aides, which will be offered by the event organizers, or they can enjoy hot dogs and slushies for a small donations which will benefit both Southeastern Crossroads, a fairly new rehabilitation center for men in our county, and the church.

Barrow said, “We will also have some representatives here from North Carolina Baptist Men Disaster Relief to talk with the riders about that organization. We will also have people taking the day off work and we will have name tags. Anyone is welcome to come out to the church to help serve food or show support for the riders. We would be happy to give them name tags as well.”

Everyone we spoke to about Cycle N.C. feels this is a great opportunity for Bladen County. Everyone is encouraged to roll out their “red carpets” and make all 1,100 riders and their families feel welcome in Bladen County.

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