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Thread: Outer Banks, NC

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    Outer Banks, NC

    I'm headed up there next week with the family. Is it worth bringing a road bike? In other words, are the roads/paths cycling friendly, are there bike lanes, etc?

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    Senior Member NealH's Avatar
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    Well, there is the Dismal swamp lands and these have lots of paths - often called ditches. I think a cross or hardtail mountain bike might be better suited though.

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    Sure...Hwy 12 is perfect for biking...only downside is going to be sand in the drivetrain.

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    What part of The Outer Banks are you heading to? They are made up of many different islands basically so that might be helpful to know which beach you are headed to.

    We always go to a place down at Pine Knoll Shores, near Atlantic Beach, and I find it to be extremely bike friendly. There are wide shoulders for bikes along 58, the one main road down the island. If you go over the bridge to the main land there are plenty of places and routes to take once you get over there.

    You will find plenty of other people out riding, so you won't be alone.

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    I have gone to the Outer Banks my entire life, but have never taken my bicycle. Just a couple of high level, general observations - 1) it's very flat (duh is on the coast) which means the winds can whip and be fun to deal with. 2) there is sand EVERYWHERE; so expect it in your drivetrain & all over your bike. 3) do remember that salt is VERY corrosive. If you are from the northeast & drive on salted roads during the winter; you know what I am talking about. Remember that the salt is in the air & will end up on your bike. Be sure to clean it well after riding especially the chain & gears or run the risk of rust.

    As far as places to ride, we spent most of our time in Duck. From Duck north to Corolla, hwy 12 does not have the best shoulders at places. Traffic is heavy & often inpatient. I don't know that I would be comfortable there. There are bicycle paths; that are very dangerous because they tend to have lots of brush & they cross side streets about every 50 yards or so & cars are not necessarily paying attention to who is crossing. If you are going to Nags Head through Kitty Hawk, there is Bay Drive / Woods Road which is well off the beaten path & could provide a good place to ride. Further south than Nags Head, I don't have much to offer.

    Let me know how you make out; I am going for a week in August.

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    Also, you may want to check with www.obxtri.com; its the local club that does some rides on Saturday & Sunday. Someone may be able to recommend a route for you.

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    car dodger norskagent's Avatar
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    Riding in and around kitty hawk/ kill devil hills is great. You can do a nice ~25 mile loop that partially goes along the beach on old nc12, then crosses over to the sound side and takes that in through nice neighborhoods. The wind can be a problem, it is worse on the beach road than along the sound section so plan accordingly. You can get a local bike map showing the loop at kitty hawk cycles on eckner st. Have fun!
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    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    I'm heading out the Outer Banks for my 3rd summer, and, hopefully, I'll be figuring out how to take my bike again. There are often bike lanes and bike paths. There are also lots of people, some of whom may be walking in those same places. Plus the wind. I'm not a road biker. I do it for fun and transportation and to see the sites. There have been times when I felt like I could move faster than traffic thanks to my bike and the bike lanes, but that is not to say that I was going fast. Between wind and traffic, going fast may be an issue. And, as has been said, the salt is not good for your bike. I had noticeable rust on mine the first year I took it. The next year I took a pre-rusted bike, so no problems ;-) .
    My wife likes to ride there, too, but doesn't like to haul her bike or let the salt get to it, so she rents a bike in the Outer Banks. Rates were not too high from what I remember. Lots of single speed cruisers, but there are some places with some other options, too. It's a way to keep riding but not destroy your bike. Just do some searches on rental places near where you're staying. You will probably find some, and may even be able to reserve a bike. Failing that, go to the rental place first thing (if you're on the regular tourist schedule), so you have the best selection to pick from.

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    car dodger norskagent's Avatar
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    If you are only going to be there for a week or so, salt/rust should not be a concern. I wipe my bike down w/ a damp towel, then a dry one after riding - it only takes a few minutes. Riding in windy conditions can be challenging but also quite interesting. If I'm riding the beach road only, I head into the wind until I've had enough, then turn around and sail back at record speed. If I'm doing the loop I head downwind on the beach road and upwind on the sound leg, where the wind is usually much lighter. There are others using the bike lanes but they mostly ride up and down the beach road, many (most) are unaware of the soundside routes.
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    Thanks all for the replies. I was all set to take a bike, then at the last minute chose otherwise. I ended up riding with my kid on a beach cruiser a few times....pretty relaxing, as vacation should be, I suppose (or so I've been told). Other than that, just spent my time out in the surf.

    We stayed in Southern Shores, which is between Duck and Kitty Hawk. From driving around there, it seemed as if unless you get out in the early am, then that area is pretty much a mess, even in the bike lanes. There's no sidewalks in some areas, so the bike lane becomes the de facto walking area....

    North of "downtown" Duck was pretty sedate, all the way up to Corolla (~20mi). Also, once you get south of Nags Head, it's a nice ride down to Hatteras (~60mi). Again, not a lot of bike lanes, but a nice, scenic, mostly sedate, route. Traffic can get bad, but mostly around check-in/out days.

    Next yr I prob will bring an old bike, though, and try to get out on the early side. But if I have that same change of heart, it's not as though there aren't plenty of other activities to stay active (even when the surf's flat, there's always kite boarding, hang gliding, etc).

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    Senior Member jacobsdad's Avatar
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    I'll be staying in Corolla next week for a week with my family. Besides OBXTri, are there other bike shops closer? Nags Head is pretty south of me. Looking at the map, NC 12 is fairly it on the island as far as main roads go, correct? I'd be looking to riding in the EARLY morning, so traffic shouldn't be an issue. I'd welcome any info or input..thanks guys!

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    Senior Member va_cyclist's Avatar
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    If you like flat roads with a lot of crosswind, then riding on Rt. 12 is fine. Early morning you'll be still be contending with other bicycles and a few walkers and joggers. If you make it down as far as Duck you'll need to choose between the bike path, which is always clogged with beach cruisers, walkers, joggers, strollers, and kids on bikes; and the road itself, which has a narrow shoulder and a lot of drivers that think you should be on the path. You can tell I'm not a fan of riding on Rt. 12. I tried it for a couple of years and decided I preferred just walking/jogging on the beach at sunrise. There's a lot more room and the scenery is better.

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    Senior Member jacobsdad's Avatar
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    Thanks VA! One of the things I do a lot up here in northern NJ is...ride with a lot of traffic. I have a feeling that it may not be too bad from my perpective...you should see all the crap we cyclists deal with in NJ. I'll still take my Pedal Force road bike down and have comments when I return. This vacation is hopefully going to be one of many down there. Again, thanks for your input.

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    car dodger norskagent's Avatar
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    The loop I mentioned earlier is bike accessable from Southern Shores, also, you can get a free local cycling map that details it at kitty hawk cycles on eckner st., mp2.5, kitty hawk (between old nc 12 ("beach road")
    and the newer bypass (158).
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    Senior Member jacobsdad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by norskagent View Post
    The loop I mentioned earlier is bike accessable from Southern Shores, also, you can get a free local cycling map that details it at kitty hawk cycles on eckner st., mp2.5, kitty hawk (between old nc 12 ("beach road")
    and the newer bypass (158).
    Norskagent, I appreciate the feedback. I'll ride down there and get a map.

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    Senior Member jacobsdad's Avatar
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    Currently down here now...very nice riding! I'm riding down on Route 12 and aside from the cars, it's no big deal as I am used to riding in traffic in NJ. I agree with the mess from the sand in my drivetrain, but I'll clean up following each ride. This place is beautiful..I've decided that this place will be on our list every year for vacation.

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    car dodger norskagent's Avatar
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    check out tortugas lie for a great local meal,mp 11.5, beach road. Also, front porch cafe' for coffee at mp6, main drag.
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    I had lunch at Tortugas Lie yesterday. The fish tacos were awesome!

    There is a group that meets at the shopping center in Southern Shores, and rides at 5:20 most mornings. As stated earlier, get up with Mike at Kitty Hawk Cycles for more info.
    Last edited by williecoyote911; 08-17-09 at 07:39 AM. Reason: forgot to add something

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    Senior Member jacobsdad's Avatar
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    Willie, I may drive there to catch their ride before I leave but, I'M ON VACATION! Getting up that early may be tough, as I'm having cocktails in the evening. I'm over here by the Corolla Light water tower. My friends went out on a private guided fishing tour and caught 60lbs worth of fish..we're having fish tacos tonight. I ate @ two places since we got here..we ate @ Donkey Hotay(ok) and NC Bar-b-q over by the lighthouse(good). I'll be on the bike tommorrow morning.
    Where is Tortuga Lie anyway?

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    car dodger norskagent's Avatar
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    beach road, nags head, mp ~11.5.
    1989 Schwinn Paramount OS
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    1983 Bianchi pista
    1976 Fuji Feather track
    1979 raleigh track
    "I've consulted my sources and I'm pretty sure your derailleur does not exist"

  21. #21
    In-House Counsel CaseLawZ28's Avatar
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    Jacobsdad, the 5:20 ride is a bit early for me too. It would take me 35 minutes to drive there.
    I threw it out there just in case you were up, and about one morning.
    The ocean has been beautiful this week. I hope you, family, and friends have enjoyed your vacation.
    Last edited by williecoyote911; 08-19-09 at 09:44 PM. Reason: punctuation

  23. #23
    Senior Member telebianchi's Avatar
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    I stayed in Kill Devil Hills last year and will be a bit farther south in Nags Head during Memorial Day week. Riding south on 12 all the way to Bodie Lighthouse or even up to the Oregon Inlet Marina was great. Riding north to Kitty Hawk, Southern Shores or Duck was not as nice. More traffic and more sand/shells/broken glass on the road. I learned the hard way up there to bring two spare tubes...only flats I've had in the past three years (knock on wood) and they happened within five minutes of each other.

    Not being there in the height of vacation season helps on the traffic. And getting up somewhat early is good also. That being said, I didn't have much issue with cars except for the one guy in his purple jacked-up pickup truck with knobby tires taller than my bike --- at least I could hear those things a-coming up behind me.

    While the salt and sand is an issue, staying in a beach house meant there was a hose sitting by the door to rinse things off as soon as I got done riding. The bike was probably cleaner there than at home.

    I'll stop at Kitty Hawk Bikes on the way in this year to ask about route maps.

    Two more weeks and I'm there.
    May your tires or beer never be flat.

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    In the winter, seagulls pick up small clams in their beaks from the water. They fly up high, and drop the clams on the pavement in order to break the shells, so the birds can eat.These pieces of shell blow around with the sand, and have a way of ending up in our tires.

    Yes the traffic does decrease after Labor Day. We see more retired people start to show up. The heat starts to break, and the fishing improves. The fall is beautiful here.

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    car dodger norskagent's Avatar
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    I'll be at kitty hawk oct. 5-9, I plan to ride in the afternoons, probably the sea/sound loop I described earlier, plus some beach road legs. Bringing the bianchi or the fuji track bike, haven't decided yet.
    1989 Schwinn Paramount OS
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    1983 Bianchi pista
    1976 Fuji Feather track
    1979 raleigh track
    "I've consulted my sources and I'm pretty sure your derailleur does not exist"

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