FARMVILLE, Pitt County - Cyclists were resting at the Neuseway Nature Center Friday after a busy day riding through stops in Greene, Pitt and Lenoir counties during the Mountains to Coast Ride.
In a town with a population of about 4,700, it's not every day you see 2,000 people passing through on bicycles. Farmville welcomed riders traveling from Wilson to Kinston with open arms on Friday.
"They said five miles ahead, then it was three miles, then it's two miles," said Melanie Noble. "They've got bells and whistles down when you come in, that's awesome."
In it's 19th year, this marks the first time the Mountains to Coast Ride has stopped in Pitt County. Farmville resident Judy Gidley said the small town was excited to share its hidden charm.
"The excitement in the town has just been contagious," Judy Gidley said. "Everybody's come out and to welcome these people, it just illustrates, once again, how friendly and wonderful Farmville is, and it really, truly is heaven on earth."
A rider from New Bern said the comradery and memories made during the week-long ride have been unforgettable.
"I've met so many people from all the different states," Noble said. "One from Michigan, some from Ohio, it's just nice to meet different people."
Not to mention being able to complete a cross-state bike ride brings a sense of pride.
"Just knowing that I can do three days, 65 miles, 70 miles today, then 60-something the next day, you feel great. I feel great," Noble said.
As the riders move on to their next stop, Gidley said she and other residents are urging their guests to return soon.
"Y'all come back," Gidley said. "We have great houses for sale. To remind them that this is a really great place ... if they think we welcomed them just riding through the town, just think what would happen if they moved here. It's all about that."
After they left Farmville Friday afternoon, they stopped in Ayden and were enjoying dinner and a rest in Kinston later that night. Saturday, it's on to Swansboro, where the ride finishes. The Mountains to Coast Ride began in West Jefferson on Sept. 30. It's organized by Cycle NC, which promotes both physical fitness and appreciation for the state's cultural and geographical diversity."