Are you an aspiring cyclist ready to take pedaling from the casual to competitive? Whether you’re into fat tires or skinny wheels, find your edge at one of these beginner-friendly races.Rollin’ Round the River, Wilkesboro, N.C. • September 15If you’re looking to increase your mileage, this relaxed cycling tour of the upper Yadkin River valley is a great place to start. The casual roll has distances for all abilities—from a family friendly 10-mile ride on the Yadkin River Greenway to a fast-paced 50-miler that takes a spin through the quiet agricultural community of Happy Valley. All rides (20- and 30-mile options also available) are flat and easy to follow with out-and-back routes, so novice cyclists can get comfortable going the distance. bmcc.usSorry Honey, I’ve Gotta Work Late Mountain Bike Series, Richmond, Va. • September 12, 19, 26 You’re in luck if Wednesday is liver and lima beans night at your house. Skip dinner and head to Forest Hill Park for some post-work big wheel racing. Richmond’s urban singletrack is mellow and flowy, so even if you’re new to racing you won’t be too far from the pack. Plus, the loop-course races only last about 45 minutes, so the rides are more than attainable for newbies. Cyclocross races will also be taking place. runriderace.com Northern Neck River Ride, Kilmarnock, Va. • September 29Tour the quiet peninsula on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay that sits between the Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers, as the flat waterfront terrain offers an ideal opportunity for beginners to stretch out. Riders will depart from the Windmill Marine Resort and weave through the scenic back roads of the Northern Neck. Whether it’s the 100-miler, metric century, one-third century, or laid back family route, cyclists will pedal through small towns built during colonial times and relaxed coastal communities that will be feeling the breeze of early fall. riverride.org Georgia BikeFest, Columbus, Ga. • October 12-14 You’ll find rides for the whole family at this annual bike gala in downtown Columbus. There are both long and short route options offered each day on the gentle roads of the area’s rolling hills—with the main event being a fully supported century on Saturday. After long days of pedaling, cyclists can sleep under the stars at campsites along the Chattahoochee River. brag.orgTour de Pig, Lexington, N.C. • October 13 This is how you ride in true Southern style. The Tour de Pig is part of Lexington’s annual Barbeque Festival, so expect to have a plate of award-winning pulled pork waiting for you at the finish line. Before it’s time to dig in, earn your ‘cue by pedaling around the rolling roads of the Carolina Piedmont. Four different supported routes all take off from Davidson County Community College and include distances of 100K, 50K, 35K, and 20K. barbecuefestival.com Gran Fondo of the Alleghenies, Warren, Pa. • October 13 Wind through the remote corridors of Pennsylvania’s Allegheny National Forest at the height of foliage season. This colorful fall ride is perfect for cycling beginners looking to build mileage without a ton of elevation gain. The rural ride starting from the small town of Sheffield includes routes of 30, 60, and 100 miles with the longest route only gaining 3,500 feet. warrenadventures.com Six Hour Grind on the Greenway, Ft. Mill, S.C. • October 13Casual mountain bikers looking to make the leap into endurance racing have a friendly option just south of Charlotte, N.C. At Grind on the Greenway, new racers can go solo or grab a partner and complete as many nine-mile laps as possible in six hours on the singletrack of the 2,300-acre Anne Springs Close Greenway park. Each lap carries a manageable elevation gain of 805 feet, so you won’t break the aerobic bank as you navigate the twisty Piedmont woods. charlottemtnbike.comBack to the beach in CarolinarunLong-distance running relays continue to be the latest rage. A new option takes adventurous striders from the North Carolina Triangle on a 200-mile slog to the beach. The Tuna Run 200 will feature teams of seven to 12 runners making the long haul from Lake Benson Park near Raleigh to the boardwalk of Atlantic Beach. The runners will switch off through 36 different legs of rural terrain between the Piedmont and the coast, where a celebration of tuna and cold beer awaits. tunarun200.comrideIf you didn’t exhaust your vacation days this summer, tune up your road rig and spend a week pedaling from the peaks to the sandy beaches. Cycle North Carolina is organizing a Mountains to Coast Fall Ride that will take cyclists from Brevard to Carolina Beach through a week of riding from September 29 to October 6. Along the way, the chosen route will find riders stopping in Lake Lure, Shelby, Matthews, Rockingham, Lumberton, and White Lake. cnc.ncsports.org
As sugar workers, their families and the wider communities continue to face the financial uncertainties experienced as a result of estate closures and general downsizing of the industry, their plight was a topic of discussion with the visiting International Monetary Fund (IMF) team and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo on Wednesday.Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo meeting with an International Monetary Fund (IMF) team on WednesdayThat team is in Guyana to conduct an assessment of the country’s economy. Through an official statement, it was disclosed that Jagdeo spoke with IMF representatives on a range of matters, which included the impact on workers and the ripple effects that are being seen since estates were shuttered. For the last several months, Guyana Times has been meeting with residents, former Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) employees, and market sellers, who have collectively observed their despair over the fact that communities were once bright and booming with varying ranges of economic activity.On Wednesday, Jagdeo shared his views on the performance of the economy, and was quoted as having provided the IMF team with his and the Parliamentary Opposition’s analysis of key productive sectors. Other topics discussed with IMF focused on agriculture, rice, construction, bauxite, mining and service sectors.The Leader of the Opposition was quoted as having outlined the vision of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), which foresees the prospects “of expansion and growth of the local economy, creating employment and generating opportunities for Guyanese, including those for wealth creation, among other plans – all of which could sustain, diversify and expand the traditional sectors, while supporting new productive sectors.”Jagdeo was accompanied by fellow PPP/C Parliamentarians Irfaan Ali and Juan Edghill at Wednesday’s meeting.Some 4000 workers from Skeldon, East Demerara (Enmore) and Rose Hall were retrenched after GuySuCo terminated their employment up to late 2017. Before then, over 1000 Wales Estate workers were similarly retrenched when the entity officially ceased operation in December 2016. These moves were in keeping with Government’s cost-cutting measures. However, the David Granger Administration was strongly criticised for not having a holistic approach to age-old industry, as many stakeholders, civil society groups including the private sector and opposition politicians called for social impact studies to be conduct before closures.In December 2017, the Special Purposes Unit (SPU), which falls under the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), officially took over operations at Skeldon, East Demerara (Enmore), Rose Hall and Wales. It was announced that SPU was overseeing divestment plans by way of either selling off or restarting factories with minimal staff to attract investors – both domestic and foreign.However, it was in March of this year that the SPU rehired about 100 cane harvesters out of thousands to work the fields at Rose Hall Estate. The Enmore Estate was also restarted to keep it running. However, the workers, residents and sellers at Wales have made repeated cries for Wales to be restarted, but many feel that this would be near impossible following reports that much of the factory’s equipment and material was transferred to other estates. Also in March, NICIL put thousands of acres of land from Wales, as well as machinery from various estates, on the market.It was only last month that Guyana Times visited the once famous ‘Friday Market’ at Wales, where sellers related their despair as they were packing up their stocks just before 13:00h, when this publication interviewed them. Sellers were packing up their stocks for the day. This was unlike before December 2016, when the market went later than 17:00h.Seller Jocelyn Boston, who has been vending for over seven years, has bemoaned her continued struggles, which increase with each passing since the closure of Wales.“It very hard, we ain’t getting the sales like before. You come out, just so you gotta pack back and go in. One and two residents coming out and buy; Uitvlugt workers don’t get pay here. They don’t spend here because they got other markets that they passing,” Boston had noted.“Is like you just want run away from here; is a hopeless place. Here nah got hope no more,” a female farmer and market vendor from Wales told Guyana Times in April.