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Crowd of cyclists stops in Spencer for Cycle NC tour

SPENCER – A crowd of cyclists with Cycle North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Coast tour made an overnight stop at the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer on Monday.

The tour began Saturday in Blowing Rock and will end at Atlantic Beach on Saturday. Additional overnight stays on the trip include Hickory, Siler City, Clayton, Greenville and New Bern.

“We have a large number of cyclists camping out here tonight,” said Mark Brown, public information officer with the Transportation Museum. “It’s been amazing to watch the cyclists roll in, knowing they’ve already covered so many miles today.”

The 21st annual ride included representation from 37 states as well as the District of Columbia and Toronto, Canada. The cyclists vary in age from 6 to 82.

During their stop in Spencer on Monday, cyclists had the opportunity to be tourists taking in local facilities, including the Transportation Museum, and traveling to Salisbury, too.

“Some cyclists have booked a stay here, some are utilizing meal plans and some are partaking in restaurants in Salisbury. Overall, they are getting a real great taste of the city and all it has to offer,” Brown said.

And their chance to act as tourists in Salisbury meshes well with the point of the tour, according to Chip Hofler, vice president of North Carolina Amateur Sports, which organized the trek.

“This is a tour and not a race. They are not going for speed. We’re encouraging them to stop and see the sights while they are pedaling,” Hofler said. “We take them by interesting rest stops. … They’re riding in between 60 and 70 miles a day.”

Hofler said cyclists embarked on an eight-week training plan to prepare for the tour.

“They have to be very prepared and in shape,” Hofler said.

Cyclists such as Ken Maness are veterans of the tour, having participated since 2008.

“This is fun. It keeps me motivated,” Maness said.

Cyclist Mike Harvey described his experience on the tour so far as a positive one.

“Yesterday was hot and sunny. Today has been cloudy, but it’s been a great ride today. Each of the towns so far have been very welcoming,” Harvey said.

Tara Furr, chief marketing and communications officer for Rowan County Tourism, said her agency worked with Cycle N.C. and the N.C. Transportation Museum on logistics, specifically coordinating space at local hotels.

“It’s been really fun and really great to see and to talk with everyone,” Furr said.

Throughout the tour, stops include destinations such as Blowing Rock, the Gov. Charles B. Aycock Birthplace and Croatan National Forest.

Rider support vehicles are along to aid cyclists experiencing any physical or mechanical difficulties along the way, and rest stops are available every 15 to 20 miles.

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