WHAT'S IN A NAME?
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 1993, when they 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 April-to-September team training rides. Each training ride is fully supported by volunteer Support and Gear vehicles (SAG wagons) and is meticulously charted in map and cue sheet formats, 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. Ken Williams rode with Captain Dave in those early years before the Cyclepaths were the Cyclepaths. Judge Bob Bryant, is another early team member who continues to ride with the Cyclepaths. Bob has ridden in 27 Tours, first in support of and now in memory of his brother Larry, who passed away from complications related to MS in 2008. Larry was the inspiration for the team. Dave, Bob, Ken Williams, Tom Andrews and Lynn Burleson have ridden in twenty or more North Carolina MS Bike Tours.
Tom Andrews joined the team in 2005 and has ridden in 24 Tours. He has been the top individual fundraiser for the tour on three occasions. Through the 2020 (cancelled) Tour, Tom has raised a jaw-dropping $276,606!
By having three separate routes of three separate distances for each training ride, Cyclepaths of all ages and abilities are able to find riding companions of comparable abilities. While the Cyclepaths are a team, they are not a racing team, not that some of the stronger riders can’t hold their own with the speedsters of Bike MS.
Cyclepath Leadership and Riders
The Cyclepaths have been fortunate to have had great team captains over the years. Captain Dave Holmes founded the team and led it through its first decade. Captain Dave did everything for the team during those years, including mapping the training routes long before the availability of GPS. Bob Bryant, Lynn Burleson, Gaines Weaver, Jenny Bradley, Cole Warren, Cindy Chastang, and now, Adrian Buie, are other Cyclepaths who have stepped forward to captain the team. It was under Lynn’s leadership in 2003 when the team exploded from 3 to 64 riders and from $5,700 to $57,000 in contributions in a single year. Two years later, the team raised over $100,000. Many team members have stepped up to handle specific duties during a season such as the scheduling of the SAG wagon drivers and the actual driving of the SAG wagons for training rides. Cyclepath Tommy Fitzgerald, owner of the Grocery Bag in Clayton, has been very generous in allowing us to store our coolers and fill them with ice from the back of his store. Sadly, Tommy passed away in late 2020. Becky Flowers has also been generous in allowing us to start our training rides on Flowers Plantation property for almost the entire history of the team. Richard Hibbits has been handling the route master duties for a number of years and carefully maps out the three routes for each of the Saturday morning training rides from April until the Tour in September. 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 of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society
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 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.
The 2020 Historic New Bern Bike Tour and 2021 Goals
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. In 2020, even though cancelled for the second year in a row, the Historic New Bern Tour raised over $884,000. In 2021, the Historic New Bern Tour hopes to raise at least $1.8 million.
In 2020, the Cyclepaths registered 54 riders and raised $42,469, 5th highest of all teams. 15 of the Cyclepaths achieved Circle-K status by raising at least $1,000 each. Several of those Cyclepaths became 100 Club members.
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 fundraising totals have been as little as $1,520 and as much as $134,452. The Cyclepaths have had three sixth-place finishes, two fifth-place finishes, one fourth-place finish, two third-place finishes, four second-place finishes and nine first-place finishes!
In 2012, the Selma Cyclepaths became the first team in the history of the North Carolina MS bike tours to raise over $1 million.
In 2014, the team received the Circle of Distinction award as the first North or South Carolina MS bike team to cross the $1 million contribution threshold.
In 2020, the team received the Spirit of the Ride award for leading the effort to host a ride event in New Bern, during the regularly scheduled Tour dates, despite the event cancellation due to COVID-19.
Going into the 2021 Tour, the Selma Cyclepaths have raised a total of $1,897,940 in support of MS research and programs. The team has set its sights on crossing the $2,000,000 threshold by 2022.