TWO MILLION DOLLAR TEAM
In 2023, the Selma Cyclepaths became the first MS bike team in North or South Carolina to raise over $2,000,000.
While the original Cyclepaths team members first rode together in the second year of the annual Eastern North Carolina MS Bike Tour in 1990, they did not appear as an official team until 1991. In 1993, the Selma Cyclepaths won the Best Team Name Award. While the Cyclepaths have raised a lot of money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the team members also have enjoyed the friendships and the team training rides. Training rides are fully supported by volunteer Support and Gear vehicles and are meticulously charted in map and cue sheet formats and posted on the team website in advance of each ride.
The Founders and the Senior Cyclepaths
Captain Emeritus and team founder, Dave Holmes, first rode in the Tour in 1990. Kinney Williams rode with Captain Dave in those early years before the Cyclepaths were the Cyclepaths. Bob Bryant is another early team member who continues to ride with the Cyclepaths. Both he and Kinney have ridden in over 30 MS bike tours. Marcus Lowery and Lynn Burleson have ridden in over 25 tours. Bob rides in memory of his brother Larry, who passed away from complications related to MS in 2008 and was the inspiration for starting the team. By having separate routes of varying distances for each training ride, Cyclepaths of all ages and abilities are able to find riding companions of comparable abilities.
Cyclepaths Leadership and Riders
The Cyclepaths have been fortunate to have had great team captains over the years. Founding Captain Dave Holmes led the team through its first decade. Captain Dave did everything for the team during those years, including mapping the training routes long before the advent of GPS. Bob Bryant, Lynn Burleson, Gaines Weaver, Jenny Bradley, Cole Warren, Cindy Chastang, Adrian Buie, Janet Ruby, and Lisa Phillips are other Cyclepaths who have stepped forward to captain the team. It was under Lynn’s leadership in 2003 when the team exploded from three to sixty-four riders and from $5,700 to $57,000 in contributions in a single year. Two years later, the team raised over $100,000 and then went on to raise over $100,000 in twelve consecutive years. Many team members have stepped up to handle specific duties during a season such as driving the SAG wagons for training rides. Cyclepath Tommy Fitzgerald, owner of the Grocery Bag in Clayton, was very generous in allowing us to store team coolers and fill them with ice from the back of his store. Tommy passed away in 2021. Becky Flowers has also been generous in allowing the team to start their training rides on Flowers Plantation property for many years. Richard Hibbits has been handling the route master duties for years and carefully maps out and tests the routes for each of the Saturday morning training rides. Richard and his Cyclepath wife Ford have hosted the annual summer potluck Cyclepaths dinner for many years, giving the Cyclepaths the opportunity to socialize off the bike and to meet non-cyclist significant others.
North Carolina Bike Tours: National Multiple Sclerosis Society
The Historic New Bern Bike Tour is the largest MS Bike Tour in the Southeastern United States and is now the tenth largest in the country. The first annual MS Bike Tour, for what was then the Eastern North Carolina Chapter, was held in 1989. Most of the early tours prior to 1998 were called “Break Loose to the Neuse,” with riders starting and finishing in Greenville, North Carolina, spending one night at the YMCA Camp Sea Gull near Oriental. The Tour was known as “Beach or Bust” from 1998 through 2000 when the riders pedaled from Clayton to Emerald Isle, with an overnight stay in Kinston. Riders and bikes were bused and trucked back to Clayton. Since 2001, the Tour has been held in New Bern with consecutive day loops originating and ending on the New Bern waterfront.
Prior to 2012, there were three North Carolina Chapters of the National MS Society. The Mid-Atlantic Chapter covered South Carolina and western North Carolina and hosted fourteen Walk MS events and the Breakaway to the Beach Bike Tour. The Central North Carolina Chapter covered the central part of North Carolina and hosted six Walk MS events and the Tour to Tanglewood bike event. The Eastern North Carolina Chapter hosted five Walk MS events and the Historic New Bern Bike Tour. By 2014, all of these Chapters had merged into the Greater Carolinas Chapter. In 2023, the Chapter hosted twelve Walk MS and two Bike MS events. Due to Hurricane Dorian, the 2019 Tour was cancelled at the last minute for the first time in the history of the Tour. Covid-19 forced a reformatting of the 2020 Tour to a virtual platform.
Circle of Distinction Award
In 2012, the Selma Cyclepaths became the first team in the history of the North or South Carolina MS bike tours to raise over $1 million. In 2014, the team received the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Circle of Distinction Award in Fort Worth, Texas as the first North or South Carolina MS bike team to cross the $1 million contribution threshold. The Cyclepaths were recognized by the Chapter as crossing the $2 million threshold at the awards ceremony on December 4, 2023.
Fundraising and Participation History of the Cyclepaths
Since becoming an official team in 1993, the Cyclepaths have registered as few as three riders and as many as one hundred twenty in a single year. Cyclepaths annual fundraising totals have been as little as $1,155 and as much as $134,452. The Cyclepaths have had nine first-place finishes in the Eastern North Carolina Bike MS Tour. In 2023, the following Cyclepaths were among the Top 100 Tour fundraisers: Kinney Williams, Richard Hibbits, Bob Bryant, Lynn Burleson, Nancy Yaguda, Urbanna Gupton, Jenny Ruby McGraw, and Catherine Baldwin. Twenty-six team members earned Club K status by raising over $1,000 each. Going into the 2024 Tour, the Cyclepaths have raised a total of $2,030,912.