bike ride

Tour de Sabor

 A two-wheeled taco tour


Pump up your tires because the first annual Tour de Sabor is happening this spring….and you are invited!  Can you bike 20 miles on tacos alone? Well there is only one way to find out.

Guided ride begins at Common Market in Plaza Midwood at 2 pm on Sunday, May 19th.  Participants will receive their punch card starting at 1:30 and guided ride rolls out at 2.  Speed will average 11-13 miles per hour. If you are rolling with your friends or want to rip a speed record on the 20 mile route as fast as possible, here it is to upload on your phone.

The Tour de Sabor is our way of celebrating Charlotte and letting you know that we love it when you ride your bike to our restaurants…once a day, once a month or all year long.  Bike for tacos people!

All participants receive

  • A Bicycle Benefits sticker that gives them everyday discounts at Sabor and 175 locations around the city when they bike there and show the program helmet sticker.  
  • A punch card which will give participants up to 10 tacos total at the 5 participating locations during the ride.  
  • Other purchases are up to the riders and will receive their customary 10% off Bike Benefits offer.
  • Churros for all participants and raffle prizes at the end of the ride. (Elizabeth location)  Don’t lose your punch card because you’ll need it at the end to win prizes. Raffle will be at 6 pm.
  • Cost is $20 which includes a Bike Benefit sticker. $15 if you already have Bicycle Benefits helmet sticker or card.  


  1. NoDa
  2. Uptown
  3. SouthEnd
  4. Morrison
  5. Elizabeth

link to punch card order

event brite link for credit cards


Charlotte is a Great Biking City 3

Best Cities

There are many important things a city can do to gain our consideration for this list: segregated bike lanes, municipal bike racks and bike boulevards, to name a few. If you have those things in your town, cyclists probably have the ear of the local government—another key factor. To make our Top 50, a city must also support a vibrant and diverse bike culture, and it must have smart, savvy bike shops.
Above is the first paragraph from the Bicycling article of the 50 best cities for biking.  I’m sure you’ve seen the article.   I take issue with the criteria and results.  Charlotte is a great place to ride your bike.  We may not have segregated bike lanes or bike boulevards but we do have buses and light rail trains equipped with bike racks.  We have the support of the city transportation department through the installation of bike detection signals at many intersections so bike can trigger the traffic signal and safely cross.  We have many municipal bike racks and building codes that require new buildings to provide both covered and uncovered bike parking.  Light rail park and ride stations have bike lockers where you can store your bike in a covered locker to secure your bike and all accessories.  Some buildings even provide bike lockers.  Bike culture in Charlotte is growing and diverse.  Not only does Charlotte have a variety of charity and race events such as 24 Hours of Booty and the Novant Criterium, we have great mountain biking, cross, and track events on local area trails, such as the Whitewater Center and the Rock Hill velodrome.  We have great local bike shops of all kinds.  We have a thriving Bike Benefits program that is the largest program in the country.  We have 190 businesses who support cyclists riding to their business by thanking them with an economic incentive.  We have bicycle events year round.  We have a great resource of Trips for Kids / The Recyclery that provides low income children a mountain bike experience they wouldn’t have otherwise.  TFK also has an earn a bike program and a shop that trains volunteers to work on bikes.  What a great community resource!  While some Charlotteans are intimidated by  changes in temperature and thus do not bike year round, Charlotte does have a temperate climate that enables one to bike all year.  I have biked year round for years.  I sometimes think the temperate climate decreases people’s likelihood to bike year round because small changes in temperature or weather seem to throw us.  But in places like Chicago, NYC or Madison where people are cooped up all winter, they burst outside to bike as soon as the daytime temperature hits 50 degrees or so.  It’s also similar in places like Seattle or Portland when it’s sunny.  Any time there’s a positive break in weather, people get outside.  I feel we in Charlotte often take for granted our pleasant climate.
Charlotte also has a thriving bike sharing system that has been a big hit.  We have a great tree canopy and a beautifully lush landscape.  Riding under the shade of the trees down streets full of unique homes is a daily treat in our hometown.  Neighborhoods are filled with beaming homeowners who take great pride in their homes.  Charlotte is a nice and clean city.   Cycling it is fairly straightforward.  For instance, while arterial roads do have to be used in some instances where creeks, rail road and utility rights of way cut through or where cul de sac neighborhoods were once built, most neighborhoods are connected.  We don’t have miles of bike lanes because they aren’t necessary.  Most of the streets are bike friendly.   I have a dislike for badly built bike lanes anyway even though that is part of the criteria for being rated in best cycling cities (See blog post).    My opinion on this is based on my riding experience with over 29,000 miles ridden in my career as a cyclist, as opposed to city planners who don’t usually ride bikes, but still make decisions for those of us who do.
Charlotte also has several signed bike routes to help you get from one part of town to another.  There is a growing multiuse path trail that will cross 30 miles through town when connected.  Many sections are complete and well-used.  In much of the city, it is possible to use your bicycle as your primary mode of transportation.  I live in Plaza Midwood and I can use my bike for everything. Some of the younger people moving into town often choose to cycle exclusively, never owning a car in the first place.  I believe cycling is part of the future of Charlotte.  
Through PMTNR we’re trying to help people get back on a bike, support local Bike Benefit businesses and share routes with them all while building road riding confidence.  Most people will ride on the greenway or around their neighborhood but wouldn’t otherwise be riding around on a Tuesday night. Our Tuesday group averages about 100 people each week during all but the coldest part of the year. Our stop almost always includes a bicycle benefits business.  This helps to familiarize new riders with all the places their bikes can take them in Charlotte.  It’s the highlight of my week.  It’s great to see so many smiling faces each week with flashing lights for blocks and blocks just riding around.  Come ride with us!

Live to the fullest

The one place I feel most fully engaged in life is on the seat of my bike.  I feel engaged in the community as I say hello to the walkers and runners as I ride down the street.  To the metal man pulling his grocery cart full of scavenged metal.  As I wave to the drivers of cars as they honk cheering me on.  As I see the Bike Benefits stickers on the businesses I pass.  I smell the honeysuckle.  I feel the cold front moving in on this September day.  I feel the wind.  I feel the pothole as I stand up on the pedals.  I see the squirrel dart across the road.  I see the hawk flying above.  And admire the skyline from afar.  And I see the various people riding their bikes around.  What a great sight to see more people riding more often.  And they are actually going somewhere.  They have racks and are carrying kids, dogs, groceries.  They have trailers.  They are at the grocery store.  Like the guy buying beer and ice to go to a music festival.  Just everyday things but on a bike.  Live life to the fullest.  Live life on the seat of your bike.  

Come ride with us.

My routes

You can take a look at all my routes.  These are on Map My Ride.    I need to get better about naming and tagging them so I can tell where they go.  But anyway, here's how to find my route on Map My Ride.  Type in PMTNR and Charlotte NC and they should come up.  If I can figure out how to post a link, I'll edit this and insert it in this article.  I'm not good at this stuff.   [Try (requires login, free) -RS]

Warning: I know these routes may not be the shortest, most direct routes but are mostly low traffic, fun to ride (that is, not hilly) streets.  '

Some people have said they'd like to learn to get around better by bike.  I've just ridden around on all the roads to see which ones I like.  I use a map book – the ADC Street Atlas so i can see all the streets.  Then I take a look at Google Maps and Map My Ride.  I can click on roads I want to be on Map My Ride but sometimes I plug in a destination on Google Maps and use the Bike option to see what it would propose.  Some paths and parking lot cut throughs aren't on Google and it won't allow me to add these on Map Maker since they dont' qualify as bike paths.  Most streets in Charlotte are very rideable.  The exception is the arterial roads.  Sometimes these can't be avoided since they are sometimes the only way to cross a RR track, creek, etc.  

Just ride.

Upcoming Bike events scheduled

The calendar is filling up.  There's so many great bike events scheduled in the next few months.

Tonight: Critical Mass for August.  I think we're headed to the new OMB.

9/1 – Yard Art Day 2 pm ride from EcoLicious.  We'll ride around to view the various art installations.

9/6 – Common Ground music festival from 12-11 pm in Plaza Midwood.  The best way to arrive is by bike since the parking will be tight otherwise.

9/19 – National (Park)ing Day – hopefully I'll get it together to install a temporary park in a parking space somewhere.  We need to appreciate green space and common spaces more than parking spaces.  Thanks for riding your bike to help support green spaces.

9/20 International Day of Peace Scavenger Hunt to benefit a Travel Scholorship for Hosteling International.

9/26 – September Critical Mass

10/3 – New Belgium Brewing Clips.

If you would like to volunteer for the Clips event please message Harry Johnson with your e-mail address and telephone #. He'll add you to the master list and send to you the New Belgium volunteer tracking sheet which lists specific slots that need to be filled.

Here's the Facebook page for the Charlotte event, "LIKE" it, and start inviting friends.

10/4 Plaza Midwood Art Crawl

10/9-11 NC Bike Summit in Greensboro

10/31 Halloween Critical Mass – I think there will be a Star Wars theme

See the calendar for links and details.  

And all of these are in additon to the normally scheduled rides.  Get on your bike and ride!

Ride (Your City)

This is the time of year everyone is taking pictures of their bike adventures, charity rides, bike riding in beautiful far away places.  Those things are always great and lovely but few and far between for most of us who have a family, work, have normal obligations.  Too many people only train for special events or occasions and forget about the beauty and delight of daily riding.  They get trapped in a neighborhood afraid to cross a busy street, don't make time in their daily schedule to ride their bike and end up driving everywhere while the bike collects dust.

To me a bicycle in the garage is like a caged animal wanting to be out in the sun, on the road, seeing new things and going places.  Dust off your bike that has spiderwebs and dust.  Pump up the tires, oil the chain, make sure the brakes work then just ride.  Anywhere.  Everywhere.  All the time.

See the sun set.  Watch the moon rise.  Watch the buildings light up.  Listen to the cicadas, crickets, birds, dogs.  It's always a great time to ride.  Wherever you are.  Experience all the neighborhoods of Charlotte.  We have a wonderful tree canopy.  Charlotte is a beautiful place to ride your bike.  Most streets and neighborhoods are wonderful to ride on.  Come ride PMTNR or Sunday Slow Ride with us and discover your city.

The story of PMTNR

One night after Critical Mass, the group who ride suggested we should ride more than once a month.  I think it was Erik, Beth, Amy, Adam, Randy.  We agreed to meet on Tuesday night at 8 pm.  And so it began.

Like most people, I loved to ride with others so that I could discover new routes, go different places, be more visible.  But most importantly, I just wanted to ride.  And like most people, between working, family commitments, etc. night time is the best time to consistently make time to ride.  Especially after daylight savings time when it's generally dark after work.  And I didn't want to ride alone as a female.  

Around this same time I was reading "On Bicycles."  The book mentioned Bike Parties such as San Jose Bike Party (SJBP) and it included references and links.  SJBP was described as a ride for everyone with a fun, positive vibe.  This was the inspiration for PMTNR.  I wanted the ride to be called the Tuesday Night Ride so everyone would remember what day it was.  We always met at the Common Market and since there are 2 Common Markets we added the PM for Plaza Midwood.  Thus, Plaza Midwood Tuesday Night Ride.  We chose 8 pm so we'd all have time to get home, have dinner then meet for the ride.  We all met and decided where to ride and we each took turns where we were going.  It was just a handful of people.  But I kept showing up and kept asking everyone to ride with me.  EVERY week.

Ryan suggested we make a facebook page so we could get the word out about the ride.  He set it up.  And we took pictures and then people saw how much we were having and started to come.  

We've tried to refine things along the way to try to improve the ride and so people will know what to expect.  We always ride 10 miles to a stop then another 5 miles to the beginning.  It's always right around 15 miles.  And we have a planned route with a leader and a sweep (the person in the back).  The sweep makes sure we don't lose anyone.  And to help with mechanical issues such as a chain that has fallen off, a flat tire, etc.  

And now we consistently have more than 100 riders every week when it's warm and sunny.  When it's threatening to rain, we have about 65 people and if it's snowing, we have about 12 people.  Amazingly, we all show up at 7:45 every week and we roll out at 8 pm.  

If you haven't ridden with us yet, please do come ride.  Just once.  You'll see how much fun it is.