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Cycling festival in Charlotte used to help combat hunger ending after 10 years, organizers say

The event served as a fundraiser for Loaves & Fishes and helped provide food to people in need within the Charlotte area.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — An annual cycling and walking event that helped combat local hunger will not be back this year. 

Organizers of the Tour de Turns tell WCNC Charlotte after 10 years, they are retiring from the event.

Tour de Turns was launched back in 2012.

“After I got brushed by mirrors on cars on the main road... I decided to start riding my road bike through the neighborhoods and I created a route that I felt was very safe,” Lane Holbert, event founder and retired route master, said.

The efforts grew year after year and morphed into a cycling festival.

Bob Carter co-leads the affairs and is the executive director. He started road riding in his 60s and really took the mission of the festival.

“We tended to emphasize that you have your lights, that you have a helmet and really promoted the safety aspect just as much as the charities,” Carter said.

And why not ride for a good cause?

“Our slogan is to help turn the corner on local hunger,” Holbert said.

Last year, about 700 cyclists hit Carmel Road Neighborhood Park for the festival. It brought in $117,000 for Loaves and Fishes and Friendship Trays, its sole beneficiary.

“You translate that into pounds of food and I calculated this. It is almost half-a-million pounds of food," said Sue Bruce, marketing and events director for Loaves and Fishes and Friendship Trays. "We can turn that into a week-worth of groceries to help thousands of neighbors in need.” 

Since the first competition, more than $375,000 has been raised to help feed those in need. 

“We’re sad to see it go, but it was a great 10 years," Bruce said. "It has done so much for our community and so much for all of the people who have received food as a result of this great event.”

The event was quite the undertaking, Holbert said,  and with his family up in Blacksburg Virginia now it seemed like the right time to move on. The organizers welcome anyone who wants to take over the event and are glad to help them with the transition. 

But for now, the tour is coming to an end.

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Holbert said he may no longer run the tour but he has no plans to put down the wheels.

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“I’m an endurance junky, and I love the long-distance, the running, the cycling the long haul stuff," he added.

Contact Jesse Pierre at jpierrepet@wcnc.com or follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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