In a world of ever-shifing priorities, there is one constant that Charlotte cyclists can count on: Every Tuesday night at 7:45 p.m. a group of riders will gather at the Common Market in Plaza-Midwood, an eclectic neighborhood of funky shops, art galleries, and unusual restaurants just east of Uptown.
It’s important that this is understood. The ride, aptly named the Plaza-Midwood Tuesday Night Ride ( PMTNR ), happens every … Tuesday … night . Winter or summer, warm sunny evening or driving rain. E very … Tuesday … night .
The motivation behind such consistency is simple: Pamela Murray wants you to ride your bike.
Murray, who has organized the group ride since its inception, became enamored with cycling while looking for something active to do with her family.
“You know how it is after you have kids,” She says. “I thought it was something we could all do for exercise and fun.”
She’s shared her passion with others ever since. In 2011, she and a friend began riding, each Tuesday, from Commonwealth Avenue in front of the Common Market. A persistent and enthusiastic cycling proponent from the start, Murray immediately began recruiting others to join.
“If I was riding down the street, and you were riding by me, I was like, ‘Hey, you should come ride with me,’” she says.
These days, on the best summer evenings when Charlotte is capped by perfect Carolina blue skies, well over 100 people go ride with her. In fact, last year’s second Halloween themed PMTNR, called Boo-cycle 2, drew more than 200 riders.
They come from all over the area; from up in Statesville, over in Belmont, and from down in Ballantine. They’re teenagers, septuagenarians, and sometimes babies and puppies (although they usually ride in trailers). They pedal cruisers, mountain bikes, cargo bikes (AKA – Grocery Getters), and race-ready road bikes. And that’s important to Murray, who says she wants the event to “be inclusive for everybody.”
The route changes often, but the plan is generally the same. The evening starts with a 10 mile scenic route to a Bicycle Benefits supporter, a 20 or 30 minute break, and a more direct 5 mile ride back to the start.
Murray’s influence in the biking community has expanded beyond Tuesday nights. She is one of the founding members of Charlotte Spokes People, an organization created to monitor and support the PMTNR as well as several other weekly and yearly biking events. She has become a driving force behind making Charlotte the second most active Bicycle Benefits community in the country. And because she believes that with education more people will feel empowered to ride their bikes around town, Murray teaches a regular Cycling Savvy class.
While city leaders and developers decide how to add cycling amenities to the Queen City, Pamela Murray will continue to encourage everyone she meets to use what’s already available in the town she says is “a great place to ride.”
So when you ride by Murray on the street, expect some encouragement to join her on a Tuesday night.
“That’s what we do, just invite everybody to ride all the time.”
Plaza-Midwood Tuesday Night Ride Details:
Every Tuesday, meet at 7:45, ride at 8 pm.
Begin at the Common Market at 2007 Commonwealth Avenue, Charlotte.
15ish mile route, varies each week. Check the PMTNR Facebook page for updates
Originally written for OrthoCarolina.