Planning is underway for a new event in 2022, the Lenoir Bicycle Festival.
The Lenoir Bicycle Festival will be from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Downtown Lenoir. Festival activities will include a street ride around downtown, obstacle courses, time trial, safety and maintenance classes, The Impossible Backwards Bicycle Challenge, Touch a Truck, raffles and giveaways, and bike shop vendors. Staff will have water available, but visitors will be encouraged to visit downtown restaurants for food and refreshments.
Communication Director Joshua Harris came up with the idea for a bicycle festival when researching an NCDOT grant.
"I was applying for a grant for free bicycle helmets. The grant requires that we have a safety class to give out the helmets," Harris said. "I thought, 'What if we have the safety class in downtown and then let the kids ride around on a couple streets?' I knew my kids would love that."
Harris and Main Street Community Engagement Coordinator Matthew Anthony started brainstorming ideas and the bicycle safety class grew into the Lenoir Bicycle Festival. Several local businesses are helping to sponsor the event including Lowe's, Rock N Road Bicycles, McCreary Modern, Smoking in the Foothills, EmergeOrtho, Lenoir Printing, Happy Valley Filling Station, Lenoir Building Supply, Truist, Communities In Schools of Caldwell County, and Blue Ridge Energy.
"Matthew has done a great job with planning and recruiting support for the event," Harris said. "We'll have some prizes to give away and some bicycles to raffle for $1 an entry, including a bike donated by Rock N Road Bicycles. Matthew designed the logo and all the marketing materials, too. They look awesome."
The free ride lane and obstacle courses will be open during the entire event. The free ride lane will be around the block between Harper and West avenues and Main and Church streets. There will be three obstacles courses that include rumble boards, see-saws, ramps, balance beams, and bunny hops. Two courses will be "easy" and one will be more advanced. Volunteers may switch up the order of the obstacles a few times during the day.
Lenoir Police Department officers plan to teach a bicycle safety class a few times during the event. City staff is still waiting to hear back from NCDOT about the free bicycle helmets. If the City receives the helmets, then kids who complete the safety class will get a free helmet, while supplies last. There will also be a Toddler Zone near the bike safety class area with fun path for little ones.
"We also plan to have Touch A Truck," Harris said. "The Fire department is bringing a fire truck, the Police are bringing a couple vehicles, and Public Works staff plan to bring a few cool vehicles. Kids will be able to look at and get in some of the trucks."
While discussing ideas for the Lenoir Bicycle Festival, Anthony came up with another new event for 2022 - the Neon Night Ride.
The Neon Night Ride will be held on June 3 - World Bicycle Day - at the Lenoir Rotary Soccer Complex. The idea is for riders to decorate their bikes with glowing items and then enjoy a nighttime ride together on the City's greenway. The first 50 people who register for the Neon Night Ride and show up on June 3 will receive a free bicycle spoke light. Click here to register for the Neon Night Ride.
In North Carolina, children under 16 who are riding on a public roadway, public bicycle path, or other public right-of-way must wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet. Click here to read the State's bicycle helmet law.
Harris said he doesn't know how many people will show up for the first Lenoir Bicycle Festival, but he hopes to see hundreds of people riding around Downtown Lenoir.
"I think we'll have pretty good attendance. People are ready to get together and have fun," Harris said. "I mean, I'm definitely planning to bring my bicycle and try the obstacle courses."
The Festival Map below shows the current layout of activities. The map may change somewhat before the event.
Harris designed three obstacle courses shown below. The easy courses will be on Main Street. The advanced course will be on West Avenue. The elements are still under construction, but Harris drew inspiration from photos he found online, also shown below.
Neon Night Ride
Light up the night at the Neon Night Ride. Bring your family and your glowing bikes to the Lenoir Rotary Soccer Complex at 8:30 pm Friday, June 3, for a fun, family-friendly ride in celebration of World Bicycle Day.
City Greenway & Trails
The City of Lenoir Greenway offers more than 9 miles of path and trails for outdoor activities including running, walking, cycling, and mountain biking. These trails include the main greenway, the T.H. Broyhill Walking Park, and the greenway on Morganton Boulevard. The Zacks Fork Bike Trail offers nearly 3 miles of off-road trails for mountain biking.
Click here to visit the greenway page.
A mountain biker rides toward the City of Lenoir Zacks Fork Mountain Biking Trail.
Want to help spread the word?
Download, print, and post the Lenoir Bicycle Festival and Neon Night Ride flyers at your favorite hangouts. Be sure to share this story and the flyers on your social media, too!