After cancelling the 2020 ride due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the annual Bike the Banks/Crystal Coast Lighthouse Challenge is back! The sixth annual ride will be held Saturday, May 1st. Sponsored by the Emerald Isle Bike and Pedestrian Committee, the event features three rides; 10, 50 and 100 miles to challenge bikers of all skill levels.
The premier event of the day is the century ride, at 100 miles, which is an out-and-back ride that will take the participants from the Emerald Isle Community Center down Bogue Banks to Fort Macon, then back to Atlantic Beach, over to Morehead City, through Beaufort and Down East Carteret County to the Cape Lookout Lighthouse - at least as close as you can get on a bicycle.
There is also a 50 mile out-and-back ride to Fort Macon. This ride begins at the Community Center, goes to the Point in Emerald Isle, then down the island to Fort Macon and back.
The final ride, a 10-mile fun ride, is designed as a more leisurely ride for adults and families. That ride begins at the Community Center and follows the Emerald Isle Bike and Pedestrian Path to the Eastern Ocean Regional Access parking lot in Emerald Isle, near mile marker 15.
The 2019 ride attracted 175 riders, according to Mike Taylor, a member of the Bike and Pedestrian Committee and chair of the ride event. “We know there are a lot of bike riders who want to participate in an organized, supported ride and the Bike the Banks/Crystal Coast Lighthouse Challenge is just that ride,” Taylor said. “Bike riding in Carteret County is a lot of fun.”
The ride will comply with all town, state and federal Covid-19 guidelines including: all participants and their guests must wear a mask prior to the start of the ride, social distancing will be observed prior to the start of the ride and at rest stops. All snacks at rest stops will be individually wrapped and hand sanitizer will be available.
The ride is held to promote bike riding in Carteret County and to raise funds to support the Emerald Isle Bike and Pedestrian Path that runs for 12 miles throughout town.
Both the century ride and the 50-mile rides begin at 8 a.m. The 10-mile ride starts at 8:30 a.m. All three rides begin and end at the Emerald Isle Community Center at 203 Leisure Lane, which is located near mile post 19 on Emerald Drive (NC 58).
Registration is $40 per rider for the 100 and 50 mile-rides and $25 for the 10-mile event. Those who pre-register for the ride by April 3rd are assured a Bike the Banks t-shirt.
Registration is available online at: www.active.com/emerald-isle-nc/cycling/bike-the-banks-2021
Registrations will also be accepted on the morning of the ride beginning at 6:30 a.m. at the Emerald Isle Community Center. At that same time, riders who are pre-registered can pick up their t-shirt.
A brief meeting will be held shortly before each of the rides. The century ride course will close at 2:30 p.m. All riders should wear helmets, and the use of rear flashers are encouraged to improve visibility. Rest stops with drinks and snacks are strategically located for all three rides.
Parking for participants is available at the Community Center, and at the Emerald Isle Town Hall at 7509 Emerald Drive. To reduce traffic and for safety purposes, personal SAGs are not encouraged. There is no rain date. The ride will be held unless adverse weather creates safety concerns or the Governor’s Covid-19 guidelines change.