Fletcher Flyer – Year Eleven

After 10 years of starting and finishing at Fletcher Park, the ride’s start/finish was moved to Oskar Blue’s Brewery in Brevard.

The Fletcher Flyer Director, Ben Elderd, searching for a convenient and safe rest stop, stopped in at Oskar Blues to see if it was possible to use their facilities for this purpose.  Oskar Blue’s personnel, Anne and Aaron, said, “Why not start and finish here?”  The decision was a difficult one.  Added to the extra work of developing new routes and finding new rest stops, we would also be leaving behind a 10 year relationship with Fletcher Park and the city of Fletcher.

Oskar Blue’s made an offer we couldn’t refuse, which included a complimentary first beer to all riders over 21. They also helped to pay for the Bluegrass Band, The Reems Creek Incident, allowing the Flyer to have two firsts – beer and Bluegrass.  This combined with a BBQ lunch made up the 4 B’s: Bikes, BBQ, Bluegrass & Beer.

Thanks to Ralph Draves, our cue sheet developer extraordinaire, and the hundreds of miles he drove, our new routes maintained the essence of the Flyer, the flattest century ride in WNC but with long mountain vistas.  Craig Mosley spent many hours proofing the cue sheets to make sure there were no mistakes.

In addition to the move to Oskar Blues, the beer and the band, it was a year of firsts for the Flyer. The Blue Ridge Bicycle Club decided to designate two local charities to share in the net proceeds. The 1st charities selected were Trips for Kids WNC and Friends of the Ecusta Trail.  The remainder of the profits still go toward bicycle advocacy in WNC.

For safety and enjoyment purposes we decided to cap the ride at 1,000 riders.  Because of a little rain on the day of the ride, we just missed reaching that cap. We had 956 registered riders, a record for the Flyer.  Our riders ranged from age 7 to 82, proving that this is a ride for all ages. The rider who traveled the greatest distance came from Dusseldorf, Germany, making the Flyer an international event.

Added to these firsts were the complimentary root beer float shooters.  Thank you Earth Fare for supplying the ice cream and all the rest stop food. Thank you Oskar Blues for supplying the root beer.

One first, that we hope will be a last, were the long food lines for the BBQ.  (We’ve corrected this for 2015 with an earlier start time for the meal, a new caterer and multiple serving lines.)

Thanks to all our riders, business sponsors and volunteers for making this a safe and successful ride.

Photos taken by Paul Jackson Photography