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→
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 very little access to internet – so we haven’t been in touch with what is going on in the world. And that might be a good thing. We discovered later (once internet re-appeared) that south of Maine the country is baking in heat. We are enjoying perfect bicycling weather conditions – temperatures in the 60’s, overcast skies, and just enough fog to keep a constant mist on your skin. Today’s ride has us working our way south along the Maine coastline south of Rockland.
Despite my yearning for miles that don’t include mega+ percent grade hills, we are still located in ‘hill country’. Here is how hill climbing on a 40+ pound 38 mil fat tire touring bicycle works –
You notice you are riding toward what appears to be a WALL
You tell yourself it is NOT a wall
You size up the ‘non-wall’ and convince yourself it’s not that bad
¾ of the way up the ‘non-wall’, you have used up all your lower gears and you wonder if it is time to un-clip your shoes from the bike to avoid the dreaded bike-topple and just walk the bike to the top
And just when your mind has you convinced that walking up “the wall” would not shame your ego, your heart takes over
the thought of letting that ‘non-wall hill’ turn you into a walker is too much to bear
So you leave a few remnants of your lungs on the road
And somehow dig deep for one more piece of grit to reach the summit