Bicycling enthusiasts need to mark April 10 on their calendars.
Elizabeth City Downtown, Inc. announced Thursday that the region’s annual TarWheel bicycle event — canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic — will be held that date.
ECDI officials are confident they can successfully make socially-distanced changes to make the popular event that includes bicycling through several counties a safe one.
“I feel like that it is an event that we can host that is inherently social distanced,” ECDI Executive Director Deborah Malenfant said.
ECDI also announced that the Mariners’ Wharf Film Festival and Music on the Green at Mariners’ Wharf Park are also scheduled to be held this summer.
Malenfant said one of the major changes to the cycling event is that the starting points for the different rides will be staggered.
Visit Elizabeth City’s website states riders will start and complete the event at Mid-Atlantic Christian University’s waterfront. Routes will take riders through and along the waterfronts in Pasquotank, Perquimans and Chowan counties, according to the site.
The event is expected to attract around 400 cyclists who will ride either 33, 66 or 100 miles. Participants will be provided breakfast and there will be several snack stops along each route. Plans also call for a socially distanced hot dog picnic following the event.
The registration fee is $35 until March 1 and $45 after that date.
In 2019, a social was held in Palin’s Alley the night before the race. Malenfant said she is not sure if that event can be held this year, however, because of COVID.
“We will have to wait and see,” she said.
Malenfant said the event provides an economic boost to the city.
“It brings people in from across the country and across the state,” she said. “Some of them stay at least one night and some are day-trippers from Virginia Beach. It’s a fun event to host and it is a fun event to participate in.”
New City Manager Montre Freeman, who was attending his first ECDI meeting since starting earlier this week, said he supports hosting the event. Freeman is an avid cyclist.
“Cycling, golf and walking are really safe (to do during COVID),” Freeman said.
This will be the 27th annual TarWheel event but the second that has been organized and hosted by ECDI. ECDI organized the event for the first time in 2019.
ECDI said it currently plans to host a free film festival at Mariners’ Wharf Park every Tuesday night in June and July. The Music on the Green music series will be held every Tuesday night in August and September.
“We have put on our calendar the film festival and the same with Music on the Green,” Malenfant said. “These are events that we will have to see what the max gathering restrictions are at that time. They are outdoors and you can spread out.”