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Old 07-19-23, 09:16 AM
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North Carolina

This might be a tall order, but I'll ask anyway, any info would help. About 5-6 years from retirement, looking to relocate from Ohio to North Carolina, possibly SC. Looking for an area that is within 90 minutes of the shore, but has a lot of open back roads for riding, low traffic. A good club would be a plus. No mountains, flat to rolling, which the 90 minute stipulation should take care of. Not really looking for one ride, one trail, looking for an area with options so you're not doing the same riding every week, etc. Any ideas? I'd like to start making some Summer trips to some places over the next few years and check them out.
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Old 07-19-23, 06:02 PM
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I moved to the Raleigh area 17 years ago from NE Ohio (Cleveland, born and raised in Canton). I think you might find what you're looking for in what they call Down East - just slightly northwest of Wilmington where you have the Croatan National Forest and its network of unimproved roads, Holly Shelter Game Land (where they hold a Gravel Grinder); perhaps around Morehead City, New Bern, etc. In NE NC, around Elizabeth City, Murfreesboro, etc. you're also likely to find what you're looking for, although I've only passed through that area. All of these areas are a short drive to the coast.

Here in the Raleigh-Durham area, you won't find any mountains or big hills; same with the Sandhills area (Southern Pines, Sanford, Fayettenam, etc). However we're 2 hrs from the shore, 3.5 to OBX.

If I can help any further, or buy you a beer when you're in the area, give me a shout!
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Old 07-20-23, 05:01 AM
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Thanks alot!. I'm in Cleveland now, grew up around Youngstown/Warren. I definitely saw two areas you mentioned in my research. The Wilmington area looked like it had possibility, It's hard to tell just with maps, but the area west of there certainly looked a little more wide open and less traveled. I am concerned about 'unimproved roads', is that gravel, dirt, or just bad asphalt (like NE Ohio).? I'm 99% a road rider. The other area I'm interested in is New Bern. I found a lot of other things I was looking for there, but couldn't tell about the riding. The area west and north looked like it might have possibilities, but it also looked like it might be a little swampy, which can be an unpleasant place to ride, bugs and all. But again, it's hard to tell without being there. But at the very least, you've given me two places to definitely check out in the years to come.
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Old 07-20-23, 12:27 PM
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By unimproved roads, I was not referring to pot-holed roads with orange barrels year-round but rather unpaved (gravel, dirt) roads. And this being the south, bugs are a thing, swamps or not.

The Wilmington area is quite nice if a bit hectic, however once you get away from the coast and WLM proper, it's pretty wide open.

It may not hurt to look north between New Bern and Elizabeth City. It's entirely flat, relatively wide open, not as much development, affordable, still plenty of farms and close to the water. Some of the towns over there are a bit ramshackle, some are really quite nice. Being on or near Pamlico or Albemarle Sound would be a dream for me....
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Old 07-21-23, 06:41 AM
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Thank you!!!
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Old 08-03-23, 06:55 PM
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Tarboro, NC

Try Tarboro, NC. My mom's family is from there and we moved back from Pennsylvania in 1967. Though Jr High School and High School, I tore up the roads on a '71 Gitane Tour de France. It's an old, gorgeous town of about 12,000 souls, 15 miles west I-95 and Rocky Mount, NC, with under priced homes and remarkably smooth, almost traffic-free farm road. And it just about to become an emerging destination. Good luck!
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Old 08-03-23, 07:05 PM
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Eastern NC has good country roads & club riding in Greenville, New Bern, Goldsboro & even our small club in Kinston. All the towns mentioned above probably have clubs too, but I can personally recommend these areas. Welcome !
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Old 08-06-23, 11:24 AM
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If you're considering SC, the Coastal Cyclists is a very active club.
Coastal Cyclists Group | Facebook
Several nice towns in Lowcountry. If you don't want hills, I won't invite you to visit. The Upstate has plenty of them!
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Old 08-07-23, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul
...If you don't want hills, I won't invite you to visit. The Upstate has plenty of them!
The very first thing I did upon deciding to move to Greenville was buy a new bike for that "problem".

We're moving out of NOLA to escape hurricanes. For us, 90 miles ain't far enough from the coast. Which is one big reason we chose Greenville, hills be damned.
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Old 08-09-23, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by NOLA Sekai 4K
Try Tarboro, NC. My mom's family is from there and we moved back from Pennsylvania in 1967. Though Jr High School and High School, I tore up the roads on a '71 Gitane Tour de France. It's an old, gorgeous town of about 12,000 souls, 15 miles west I-95 and Rocky Mount, NC, with under priced homes and remarkably smooth, almost traffic-free farm road. And it just about to become an emerging destination. Good luck!
Will check it out, might be slightly too far from the shore for me, but maybe. I used to live in WashDC and would drive 2.5 hours to the beach in Delaware for the day, it was just a little too far, only would do it once - twice a year. Would probably like to go once a month for the day so I'm thinking 90 minutes away is probably the limit for that.
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Old 08-09-23, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Deal4Fuji
Eastern NC has good country roads & club riding in Greenville, New Bern, Goldsboro & even our small club in Kinston. All the towns mentioned above probably have clubs too, but I can personally recommend these areas. Welcome !
For some reason, New Bern is the first place I looked at in any depth, has everything I'm looking for, but couldn't tell about the riding. The area East and North of there, between the Neuse River and the Pamlico inlet looked like it could be a great place to ride, but when I pulled up houses there to get a feel for the area it looked like it might also be straight out of Deliverance, so I'd love to know if you've ridden there. Kinston has always held a little place in my heart being from the Cleveland area, the Kinston Indians were our single A baseball minor league team for a long time. I didn't find a lot of clubs when I searched, do you mind telling me the name of your club in Kinston, or any others you know of towards New Bern?
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Old 08-09-23, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul
If you're considering SC, the Coastal Cyclists is a very active club.
Coastal Cyclists Group | Facebook
Several nice towns in Lowcountry. If you don't want hills, I won't invite you to visit. The Upstate has plenty of them!
I saw their website, was one of the few clubs I found nearer to the shore. I don't mind a few hills, but not a steady diet of them. Like Joey says, I'm most likely buying a new bike next year and that's one thing I'm looking to do, gear down considerably. I rarely use my large chainring anymore, and quite often could use another two gears on hills, so maybe they won't be as bad with new gearing. I'm at 53/39 and the Harris 'Century Special' 9 speed cassette - 13-30. I'm looking at the SRAM AXS 46/33 12 speed 10 - 36t. I figure that should make a decent difference.
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Old 08-09-23, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by JAJ0404
I rarely use my large chainring anymore, and quite often could use another two gears on hills, so maybe they won't be as bad with new gearing. I'm at 53/39 and the Harris 'Century Special' 9 speed cassette - 13-30. I'm looking at the SRAM AXS 46/33 12 speed 10 - 36t. I figure that should make a decent difference.
My current bike has the Rival groupset with that gearing. I've only found one hill locally that has required the 33-36 combo, but believe me, I'm glad I had it. Definitely not a fast pace, but it sure beats the "walk of shame".
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Old 08-09-23, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by JAJ0404
For some reason, New Bern is the first place I looked at in any depth, has everything I'm looking for, but couldn't tell about the riding. The area East and North of there, between the Neuse River and the Pamlico inlet looked like it could be a great place to ride, but when I pulled up houses there to get a feel for the area it looked like it might also be straight out of Deliverance, so I'd love to know if you've ridden there. Kinston has always held a little place in my heart being from the Cleveland area, the Kinston Indians were our single A baseball minor league team for a long time. I didn't find a lot of clubs when I searched, do you mind telling me the name of your club in Kinston, or any others you know of towards New Bern?
The New Bern club rides out of Flythe's Bike Shop, and looking online it looks like there may even be another club that is more into competitive riding, Atomic Cycles. Here are a few links:

https://www.flythebikeshop.com/

https://localraces.com/new-bern-nc/clubs

Goldsboro: https://seyboro.com/

Greenville (NC) https://ecvelo.org/

Our Kinston club (Big Wheels) is very informal and laid back. I think there's a facebook page somewhere but there's not much on it. We're mostly 50+ riders who get together 2 or 3 times a week and communicate by a txt group. We're always looking for new members and are very welcoming. The one plus Kinston has vs the other nearby towns mentioned above is that you can buy a lot of house for the money. We haven't had as much northern migration as New Bern and the others....but all these towns and clubs are just 30-45 minutes from each other so there's often interclub riding.
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Old 08-09-23, 05:56 PM
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Thanks all for the info, this is very helpful to me.
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Old 08-09-23, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by JAJ0404
For some reason, New Bern is the first place I looked at in any depth, has everything I'm looking for, but couldn't tell about the riding.
On a bike trip from New Orleans to Maine I passed through New Bern. I do not recall any big issues that would prevent me from riding that area. I got trapped in that town with horrendous headwinds for three days. Explored the area by bike. I liked it.
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