Day 4: Bicycling from Elizabethtown, NC to Moores Creek National Battlefield
40ish miles — and bonus points for headwinds
The fourth and final day of our East Coast Greenway WAY (Week-A-Year) tour, cut short due to Hurricane Matthew began at the Corner Cafe in the heart of Elizabethtown. A cafe that is open “All Day” according to the neon sign on the window, or just until 2 PM according to the fine print. We were certain to be done with breakfast before 2 PM.
Day 3: Bicycling from Fayetteville, NC to Elizabethtown, NC
43ish miles — and who’s really counting when there’s so much to see?
The third day of the East Coast Greenway WAY (Week-A-Year) tour began with breakfasts piled high with ham and bacon and a side of bacon fat with fresh steamed or raw vegetables a distant memory (unless you carried your own). With Hurricane Matthew dominating the news and expected to take out the Eastern seaboard from Florida to North Carolina, many cyclists who lived along the coast or needed to take care of business went off in separate directions. Those cyclists who were left behind were grateful for the chance to ride another day. And a half. Continue reading Wine’ing down→
Day 2: Bicycling from Smithfield, NC to Fayetteville, NC
70ish miles — and who invited Hurricane Matthew to the Carolina coast?
The second day of the East Coast Greenway WAY (Week-A-Year) tour began with new routines and new grooves setting in. The pre-ride routine included two trips (maybe more) to drag your luggage and bicycle from your room to the lobby. Bonus points were earned for not spilling your cup of Joe. If you made it to the lobby without losing Joe, you treated yourself to a sit-down in the lobby lounge, chatting with bike mates, and planning your departure time for the day’s ride. Minutes are ticking, and it’s time to keep moving, so you find your way to the luggage truck to hoist your bag onboard — a bag that has mysteriously doubled in weight — and discover there is still time for more socializing. You then grab a tire pump, one that puts more than 40 pounds of air pressure in your tires, and quickly realize you’ll be riding a lot faster today with air in your tires. A long glare at your bicycle seat followed by a quick request of the saddle gods to be kind, and your group-du-jour of riders — with bright visibility lights flashing — are ready to cycle on. Continue reading Hogs, Logs and Miles→
Day 1: Bicycling from Raleigh, NC to Smithfield, NC
42.5ish miles — or more depending on bonus miles & wrong turns
The first day of the East Coast Greenway WAY (Week-A-Year) tour began in downtown Raleigh with nearly 40 cyclists jones’n to get on their bicycle legs. Many drove double-digit hour-long car rides, tipping the scales of 70 mph speed limits for the right to transition to a pace that resembled something much slower. Cycling at touring speeds, with the winds at your back if you were lucky. A pace that averaged 10-12 miles per hour once you factored in the stops – that were many, especially on day one. Continue reading Transitions→
Day 2:…was one of the highlights of today’s cycling ride – from Richmond to somewhere south of Petersburg, Virginia. Whatever ‘hit’ was lacking in my wake-up routine, was made up for in the adrenaline that helped to cross the mighty James River in Richmond. After days and days of rain courtesy of Hurricane Jo’ (aquin), the James River was a swollen beast.
Today’s ride however, would be free of rain. With temperatures in the 50s, more winds from the north (i.e. tailwind) – a group of 4 ladies (Donna, Bev, Barbara and myself) with the East Coast Greenway (ECG) WAY tour departed on busy rush hour Richmond city roads for more bicycle miles south. Within 2 miles – we stopped to listen to the roar of the swollen James. We photo-op’ed the pedestrian bridge that appears to hang precariously (suspension bridge) under one of the interstate highways, and before any of us could have second thoughts – it was time to cross the mighty James.
I was in the lead, and taking a huge leap of faith. With the crosswinds from above and the roaring sounds from the rapids below – I took a
Apparently the size of the climbs and steep pitches of the Pocono Mountains went unnoticed while researching “best routes” for our final 150+ miles. A few other details also went unnoticed. Such as we are in “black bear country”, and the area is well known for timber rattlesnakes. And, the roads are narrow, apparently no budget for bike able shoulders and abundance of 90 degree blind turns. We had a decision to make.
We could ride the back woods bike trails along the Delaware River and take our chances with the black bear and rattlesnakes, or opt for the open roads with no shoulders. I am not fond of black bear, and equally not fond of rattlesnakes, but the super skinny switchbacks on the open roads left us with no choice. We would bike along the trails in the wilderness along the Delaware River. Continue reading Bike tested by the Poconos→
Getting internet has been a challenge for the last few days. Our final day of ocean side bicycle touring is in Newport Rhode Island. After revisiting our route and wondering how we could possibly navigate the busy narrow roadways through touristy downtown, we happened on a road called Ocean Way. Who can resist a road called Ocean Way?
Newport is home port for sailors (The Americas Cup), the Tennis Hall of Fame and some of the most amazing seafood. All of these attractions draws tourists and traffic. And here we are, trying to ride our bikes on one way roads that are foreign to us, with drivers that are not as bicycle friendly as our prior days of touring. Continue reading Seaside to mountains…→
There is nothing quite like waking up every morning and the only item in your day-plan is to ride your bike. No checking emails (partly thanks to no internet) to see who may be knocking on your virtual door, no questions on what to do with your time, no coffee to jump start your brain. After five days of bicycle touring, there appears to be some slack in my hoidy-toidy veggie organic food diet. We have run out wild rice and corn, and in it’s place are day-old sandwich leftovers for breakfast, pretzels, chips, cliff bars and just about anything we can get our hands on. The switch from hoidy-toidy to anything-goes happened somewhere around day 3 and we put up no resistance to the change.
Somewhere south of Portland Maine, our ride took on elements of bicycle friendly roadways (shoulders the size of entire lanes), off-road trails, and substantially less intense hills. This area embraces bicyclists, and this is obvious by the dramatic increase in bicycle traffic.
Today’s ride was to begin at 6AM, and at 6:05 we realized that we had overslept. Camping under huge spruce tree cover, plus very dense fog had our bio-clock confused. Despite the late wake-up, we managed to shovel down handfuls of food, place our gear on our bikes, pump up the tires and break-down everything else that needed to be done in a 15 minute window. By 6:20AM, we were on the road, traveling. The only worry in our world was getting beyond heavily traveled Route 1 before the rush of humanity had the same idea. We biked fast, together, with front lights and tail lights blinking like a Christmas tree. And then we veered off Route 1, to begin a ride that would soon morph into a biker’s dream. Continue reading Bike friendly roads and less hills→
My 4:15AM alarm was barely audible over the downpour of rain on our cabin. It’s one thing to be out bicycling and get caught in the rain, and a whole different deal to start your ride in a torrential downpour. A quick rendezvous with my biking partner, and we decided to wait for a weather window.
In the meantime, we are awake. We are ready to get started, doing “something”. So we put on our foul weather gear – and began fast walking the starting miles of our bike route for a sneak preview – in hopes that the rain gods would notice and shut off the faucet.
8 walking miles later, something unexpected happened. The rain gods took pity on us, the rains ceased, and we discovered alternate roadways that offered us a chance to get the bulk of our ride complete – void of vehicle traffic.
We discovered 40 miles of roads – not asphalt, but dirt and gravel the width of a very narrow car. Not ideal for road bike tires, but perfect for our touring bikes with fat 38 mil puncture resistant tires. We would put these tires to the test today. Continue reading The rain gods and alternate routes→