Despite the cancellation of the Dogwood Festival and a foreboding forecast of rain and rough windy weather, cyclists came out to Farmville on April 24 for the fourth annual Petals and Pedals community bike ride.
Traveling from as far away as Wilmington, cyclists joined local residents to enjoy the routes in and around Farmville set up by ride founder and host Steven Hardy-Braz.
Cue sheets and maps remain available online and the courses remain well marked for others to come out and ride whenever they wish.
All of the routes begin and end at the town’s public library on West Church Street. The pink route is 5 miles, green is 15, silver is 25 and gold is 55 miles.
The courses are laid out on public roads in the rough shape of a flower petal and stem. They take cyclists on a pedal-powered tour around Farmville, Walstonburg, Fountain, Falkland and near Bell Arthur depending on the course selected.
Some cyclists will cross into Greene, Wilson and Edgecombe counties, but the shortest of the routes remains within Farmville and is designed to be the safest and most family-friendly, utilizing roads that are straight and extra wide (such as Church and Main Streets) and incorporating primarily right turns so as to reduce cross-lane traffic turning and increase safety.
Despite Farmville having no bicycle lanes, cautionary cycling safety signs that remind everyone to share public roads with other users remained in place after being installed by the town several years ago.
The town’s commitment to safety for cyclists is what continues to draw various cyclists out to ride in the town and visit its shops and restaurants, Hardy-Braz said.
He always tries to improve the local cycling conditions by raising donations from this free ride to support infrastructure that leaves the area better for all kinds of cyclists to ride, he said.
Previously, funds purchased Share the Road signs that were donated to the Town of Fountain. This year’s ride is part of a fundraising effort to install a public bicycle pump and repair stand at Farmville’s new library.
The pump and stand cost approximately $1,700. Hardy-Braz has raised several hundred dollars so far from cycling supporters. Further donations can be made via the library.
The ride was supported by the library and the Parks and Recreation Department.