The ride brought in 106 cyclists from across the state and the region, with riders from Georgia and Tennessee making the trek to the Granite City to take in the scenery.
Sheila Jones of Mountain Valley Hospice, the event’s organizer, said this year’s Tour was a decided success despite normal obstacles.
“We had the typical things that we normally have,” Jones said. “We had a rider have an accident but we are hearing he’s OK. The support drivers are out, we have motorcycles out looking out for riders, so I say it’s successful event.”
With three different routes to choose from, the consensus of many riders was that the area’s hills offered a tough challenge.
The most popular route was the 44-mile Edwards-Franklin house ride, which offered riders an opportunity to tour the house before completing the ride.
On Red Brush road at one of the many rest stops along the routes, riders were stopped to have a much needed rest and refreshment.
One of those riders, David Surratt of Mount Airy, was participating in his third Tour de Mayberry and said the reason he enjoys the Tour is because he sees the ride as a great way to stay in shape and help a good cause at the same time.
“I’ve done it the past three years and it never gets easy but that is what it’s all about,” Surratt said. “If it was easy everybody would do it.”
Surratt hit the rest stop with Chris Heath and Tim Bowman, who’s wife, Rita, was providing the support at the stop along with the members of Mount Airy Girl Scout Troop 274.
Surratt said after Mountain Valley Hospice and Palliative Care provided care for his mother-in-law several years ago, he felt compelled to give back to the organization which he said offers much to families in need of a helping hand.
“I do it to stay physically in shape, because it will prolong your life and prolong the quality of your life,” Surratt said. “But this is one of the best charities we have in this area and I believe in supporting it.”
Rossie Bullock of Whiteville said he enjoyed the ride so much last year he decided to come back and try again. Bullock said he enters around five similar rides a year and discovered the Tour de Mayberry online.
“A buddy of mine and I came last year and the support people were very nice,” Bullock said. “We were dead last and they held the rest stops open for us, they were just great. My friend couldn’t come this year, so instead I brought my wife, two grandchildren and my daughter this time and we are staying the weekend.”
Shirley Lucchino of Mooresville came to the Tour de Mayberry after a friend sent her an e-mail recommending the ride. Lucchino said her friends wanted to do the 44-mile ride earlier in the week, but she hoped for the 19-mile ride because, “Mount Airy has hills.”
She said her friends scoffed at the idea, calling the bubbly blonde a “Barbie biker.” But it was Lucchino who had the last laugh, as after her riding mates saw the terrain, cooler heads prevailed.
“We get here and let me tell you, we all did the 19-mile run,” she joked. “And we are a little bit happy about that.”
But aside from the route battle, Lucchino said she and her group were more than pleased with the day, effectively summing up the sentiment of most of the riders.
“It’s gorgeous, it was well mapped out, had a nice break in the middle and the people were very friendly,” Lucchino said. “It was awesome, we had a great time."