Welcome to Jackson

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 8, 2007

JACKSON – With the sounds of tires on asphalt and the clicking of bicycle chains, they came in droves.

On Friday, Jackson’s population rose (at least for a few hours) as more than 1,000 cyclists from 39 states and four foreign countries stopped to take in refreshments and the historic scenery.

Speeding around the corner of East Jefferson and Atherton Streets, participants in the 2007 Cycle North Carolina (CNC): Mountains to the Coast Ride invaded the courthouse square.

Dozens of bicycles were strewn all over the back lawn, while the gazebo acted as a rest stop for the weary cyclists who have been on the road since September 29 when they began their journey in West Jefferson, NC.

The Jackson Women’s Club along with the Northampton County Chamber of Commerce, with help from North Carolina Amateur Sports (NCAS) and the local Piggly Wiggly, hosted the cyclists as they came in from neighboring Roanoke Rapids after spending the night at a campsite.

“It went great,” said Judy Collier, who sits on the Chamber’s Board of Directors. “They absolutely loved the town of Jackson.”

Collier helped serve refreshments to the travelers while chatting with them. She estimated there was around 1,000-1,200 cyclists that stopped at the Jackson check point between 8-10 a.m.

The courthouse drew many of the cyclists attention as they took pictures of the circa 1859 structure and toured the building.

Jackson Town Commissioner Jim Gossip noted the centerpiece of the town as an attraction for the cyclists.

“This is an ideal stop for them,” he said. “It’s one of the last pristine courthouse squares in the state.”

Local businesses also benefited from the cyclists’ curiosity that drew them into shops and a restaurant on Jefferson Street.

Collier said the area gained from the cyclists stopping in Jackson.

“This is great exposure for the entire county,” she said.

The cyclists took Highway 305 where they stopped again in Rich Square before heading to Aulander.

This year’s CNC fall ride began September 29 in West Jefferson and ended on Saturday in Currituck/Outer Banks with an optional ferry ride to Knotts Island.