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North Carolina Bicycle Route 2

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North Carolina Bicycle Route 2

Old 01-18-18, 06:35 AM
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North Carolina Bicycle Route 2

Has anyone spent any amount of time riding this?

I won't have time to ride the entire "Mountains to Sea" route from Murphy, but I was thinking of taking Amtrak with my bike down to High Point where I can jump on BR2 pretty quickly and ride to the Outer Banks to meet the family for our beach vacation.

I'm wondering what camping vs. motels might be like on that route. Any camping I've done so far has been weekend bike packing and I've borrowed/shared camping gear. As such, I don't have any gear yet. I live in a small apartment and don't have a lot of storage, so I'm not sure I want to start gearing up until I get a house in the next year or so. There is a possibility I could borrow from a friend if that's the best option. Using motels is in my budget, though, so that's definitely an attractive option for me.

I've not had much luck figuring out how far apart motels might be. Looks like the ride should be just around 300 miles or so, and I'm capable of riding ~50/day on my loaded bike. I'll give myself a week or 8 days to make the ride.

Anyone with experience on this route have any pointers?
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Old 01-18-18, 12:47 PM
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Can't help much. I'm toying with the Murphy-Manteo Mtn to Sea in the next year or so. In the meantime, I'm seriously thinking of doing an Outer Banks loop this April.
What I've been doing as far as mileages go, I determine the route, then go on Strava "Create Route" and measure mileage that way. Also, Strava being bike specific will generally pick something other than major arteries. Look at what the nearest town is to your anticipated distance traveled then google "camping near _________". Then check out the campgrounds or motels. Also you can go on the route with Google maps, click on a particular road and get a 360 photo of that spot to determine shoulders, etc. Google Maps also has a bike option.
Keep mileages realistic and build in an extra day(s) for unanticipated, headwinds, breakdowns, thunderstorms, etc.
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Old 01-18-18, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by TheCharm
Has anyone spent any amount of time riding this?

I won't have time to ride the entire "Mountains to Sea" route from Murphy, but I was thinking of taking Amtrak with my bike down to High Point where I can jump on BR2 pretty quickly and ride to the Outer Banks to meet the family for our beach vacation.

I'm wondering what camping vs. motels might be like on that route. ...... Using motels is in my budget, though, so that's definitely an attractive option for me.

I've not had much luck figuring out how far apart motels might be. Looks like the ride should be just around 300 miles or so, and I'm capable of riding ~50/day on my loaded bike. I'll give myself a week or 8 days to make the ride.

Anyone with experience on this route have any pointers?
It's been years, but I've ridden most of it from High Point to the Outer Banks. My opinion is that it would be difficult to strictly follow this route if using motels for overnights at ~50 miles a day. Camping is actually more feasible for NCBR 2. The reason is that the route is designed to follow low traffic, rural roadways and avoid most urban areas where motels are likely to be. It is more feasible if you venture off the route for your overnights, but that will take significant bites out of your 50 miles per day target as the nearest motel may be many miles off route.

I do not recall any traditional overnight lodging between High Point and Carrboro, but there are a few places in the Carrboro/Raleigh area. I don't recall any between Carrboro and Wilson. Lodging is available in Wilson and Greenville, but again they will be some miles off route. East of Greenville is doable as there are motels in Washington near the route and at a small hotel near the marina in Bath (stayed there on my tour. Really liked it but it may be difficult to book because it has only about four rooms. The one or two B&B's in town were well out of my price range.) There is a campground close to the route east of Belhaven which offers cabins. Other than that, there are not many options between Bath and Manteo, those being a couple of small sportsmen's motels near Lake Mattamuskeet and another in Engelhard. You would definitely want to plan a stay at Hotel Engelhard (small, but a great place for bicycle tourists) because there is nothing but swampy scrub forest, roadside black water canals and mosquitos for the nearly 50 miles between Engelhard and Manteo.

There are also a few expensive traditional B&B's along the way, but probably not many. Air B&B may have additional options which may fit your price and mileage targets, but probably not many of those either.

If you decide to camp, you can order a free map of the route from the NC Dept of Transportation Div of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation which used to include a mapping and listing of campgrounds along the way. However, it is sadly dated (some of the listed campgrounds are no more).

Hope this helps. Maybe someone who has ridden the route more recently can offer better information.
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Old 01-19-18, 05:15 AM
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Originally Posted by redbagsrambler
It's been years, but I've ridden most of it from High Point to the Outer Banks. My opinion is that it would be difficult to strictly follow this route if using motels for overnights at ~50 miles a day. Camping is actually more feasible for NCBR 2. The reason is that the route is designed to follow low traffic, rural roadways and avoid most urban areas where motels are likely to be. It is more feasible if you venture off the route for your overnights, but that will take significant bites out of your 50 miles per day target as the nearest motel may be many miles off route.

I do not recall any traditional overnight lodging between High Point and Carrboro, but there are a few places in the Carrboro/Raleigh area. I don't recall any between Carrboro and Wilson. Lodging is available in Wilson and Greenville, but again they will be some miles off route. East of Greenville is doable as there are motels in Washington near the route and at a small hotel near the marina in Bath (stayed there on my tour. Really liked it but it may be difficult to book because it has only about four rooms. The one or two B&B's in town were well out of my price range.) There is a campground close to the route east of Belhaven which offers cabins. Other than that, there are not many options between Bath and Manteo, those being a couple of small sportsmen's motels near Lake Mattamuskeet and another in Engelhard. You would definitely want to plan a stay at Hotel Engelhard (small, but a great place for bicycle tourists) because there is nothing but swampy scrub forest, roadside black water canals and mosquitos for the nearly 50 miles between Engelhard and Manteo.

There are also a few expensive traditional B&B's along the way, but probably not many. Air B&B may have additional options which may fit your price and mileage targets, but probably not many of those either.

If you decide to camp, you can order a free map of the route from the NC Dept of Transportation Div of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation which used to include a mapping and listing of campgrounds along the way. However, it is sadly dated (some of the listed campgrounds are no more).

Hope this helps. Maybe someone who has ridden the route more recently can offer better information.
Thanks so much! That is solid information, and exactly what I was hoping for. I'll have to consider my options here and decide if it's time to get some permanent camping gear.
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Old 01-19-18, 03:23 PM
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You might try AirBnB. It looks to me like you can probably stop around 50 miles out of High Point. 50 more miles would put you in Raleigh area with plenty of stopping options. But east of Raleigh, I don't know. I've stayed at a campground outside of Wilson, but there are certainly also motel options in that area, too.

It might depend, too, on what you mean by "loaded bike." For me, that means camping gear. Drop the camping gear, and having a couple of clothing changes and toiletries means I'm not really loaded, and won't mind pushing a few more miles. If you are thinking that you can 50 miles a day without camping gear, then consider that adding camping gear might make those miles less attractive. Personally I like camping, and I've ridden from Raleigh to the coast a couple of times and camped along the way. But if time were more of an issue than money (or if staying in hotels would be cheaper than buying new gear), then I would bet that you could find motels/hotels/AirBnBs in the 50-60 mile range, which would let you travel lighter.

Possible schedule:

1. 50 or so miles out of High Point should get you to about the Haw River. Somewhere to stay around there, maybe, or push 10 more miles into Carrboro/Chapel Hill
2. 50 miles should get you into the Wake Forest area. Should be lodging options there.
3. 50 miles should get you to around Elm City, right between Rocky Mount and Wilson. If there's no lodging in Elm City area, readjusting to hit one of the other two cities should give you something.
4. It's about 60 miles to Washington, assuming there's a place to stop there. Or it could be a short day with you stopping in Greenville 20+ miles earlier.
5. I thought there was a place to stay within a couple of miles of the Swansquarter ferry. If that's case, it shouldn't be much more than 50 miles from Washington.
6. After that it looks a little sparse to me. I never looked to travel that section, since my one trip that took me that way had the goal of taking the ferry to Ocracoke. But it looks like you could do Manteo in a day, but a long one (60-70 miles), from Swansquarter. Should be the flatest part of the trip, though, which is nice. Or you could take the ferry from Swansquarter to Ocracoke, depending on where you are staying with your family.

Like I said, I've done it as a camping trip from Raleigh, and I could give you my stops, but I let the campgrounds determine my route, and did not follow Bicycling Route 2 at all, unless it was by accident.
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Old 01-25-18, 11:58 AM
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Just be aware the route is not completely marked, so have your map or a GPS. There are also "local" Bicycle Route signs that can confuse you.

Can't help you much in High Point, but nearer to Carrboro, there are riding groups that may be able to help. There is a guy in Carrboro who leads cross-US tours, and heads up weekly rides. Great riding from the Carrboro area, past Durham, and down on an angle east.

While you'd avoid hills by taking a more southern route, you can get some nice views and rolling hills staying along US 64 vs. US 264. As you go from Franklin across Nash County and into Halifax, nice stuff and easy to cross over towards the outer banks. I actually prefer the "upper route" through Halifax, Northampton, and counties NE. Less bugs.

I "credit carded" on a whim from Rocky Mount to Asheville and ended up staying at a hotel about a mile from both the Appalachian Trail and Blue Ridge Parkway. It was 302 miles and took me 4 days, no racks, no night riding, pretty much riding from 8 am until I got to where I thought I'd find a room. You can almost ride from Super 8 to Super 8. I bought a small backpack the second day. I spent the night and took a bus back. I'd like to do it again, from Asheville east, as the bus station is right next to the best classic & vintage bike shop I've been to: Hearns.

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Old 01-27-18, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes
Just be aware the route is not completely marked, so have your map or a GPS. There are also "local" Bicycle Route signs that can confuse you.
Thanks for confirming this, as it is a concern. I drilled down to various areas of the route where there's an intersection or fork in the road with Google StreetView and noticed that there isn't much signage. I was a bit surprised as I've taken my bike to the Outer Banks on our family vacation for the past several years and the bike routes in that area *are* very well marked. I guess I assumed the routes were well-marked throughout the whole system.

Thanks to all for your input. I'm still sifting through how I want to approach this.
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Old 02-27-18, 06:57 PM
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You can stay at my house. I have a guest room near Fearrington, about 5 miles outside of Chapel Hill
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