Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Atlantic Coast Cycling Tour - Day 10

Myrtle Beach to Georgetown, SC

The ride today was really nice. It as a little short cause there is nothing between Georgetown u Charleston, which is 130km away. I have to make that a full day tomorrow. 

Along the way, I met a local cyclist named Tim, who was kind enough to ask me where I was heading  today. We rode together for about half an hour and chatted about riding various areas, how to get there and what not. It was nice because he took to me to a river with turtles and alligators. I actually got to see a gator, as well as many turtles, who I fed my raisins and nuts to. I hate raisins, but they are in my trail mix. Yuk.

Tomorrow is going to be a long day. Also, a little dangerous. I’ve been worrying about this leg since I decided to go off the ACA bike route. Hwy 17 is a narrow highway and the shoulder is next to none. I rode a part of it today, with extreme discomfort. 

I have found some off highway roads I’m going to take, which is why the ride is going to be so much longer. Please don’t let me become a stat. 

On the surface, Georgetown appears to be a sleepy town, but I discovered a boardwalk in behind all the restaurants, I had no idea even existed. You can’t see it from the road, but it sure makes the town. All the life is behind the brick. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Atlantic Coast Cycling Tour - Day 9

Shallotte to Myrtle Beach

Today was a bit of a shorter day than usual, clocking in only about 80km. I planned a longer day but I had a few delays today and it's started to pour - right around Myrtle Beach ;)

I had gotten an early start, but ever since Jacksonville, NC my rear tire has a huge bubble on the side, causing my bike to wobble a lot. It's a constant fwoop fwoop fwoop. I looked at it, and the bead has come apart, so I knew I had to get it looked at as soon as possible.

Every bike shop I could fine was either closed or too far away, but this morning I found this cool bike shop in Sunset Beach called Island Hoppers Bicyles. What a bunch of nice guys. I showed them my problem, and it turns out I had three tears in the sidewalks of my rear tire. They dropped what they were doing and replaced both front and rear tires and tubes for me. They appreciate the touring guys and do what they can to help get them going asap, so awesome.

I've been following the Adventure Cycle Association's bike route and the route it takes leaves the coast for almost 3 days - which I didn't really want to, and all the forums I read suggest to do the same. While those guys were repairing my bike I asked them why that is, and they said they would never follow that route. I was so happy to hear that cause I worried about the reason a lot.  I wanted to go to Myrtle Beach, Georgetown, Charleston, and Savanah, but the ACA's route would cause me to miss it all. They confirmed I don't need to do that, and even advised me not to skip those cities.

So here I am, in Myrtle Beach. It started to rain and I like beer so I stopped here. It's a very cool city. The roads were a bit sketchy at times, and I presume that's why the ACA advises not to, but I am so glad I ignored that.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Atlantic Coast Cycling Tour - Day 8

Wilmington to Shallotte

I this was my favorite day so far. I started a little bit late cause I didn't get back to my hotel till about 1am last night and I refuse to use an alarm clock in holidays. I left at about 10:30am after I downloaded my maps and planned my day as best I could. This should ideally be done the night before.

I no longer and fighting head wind and the weather was so nice and the temperature has finally cooled a little. Still warm but not sweltering. I still have issues with my left hand.

I blindly followed my cycle route, without ever realizing I there was another ferry to catch. I had to wait for 45 minutes for the next ferry, and the ferry ride was a half an hour long. I missed a ferry by 2 minutes. If I was paying attention, I probably would have made it. It was a nice surprise I suppose cause the ride was so beautiful.

I stopped in Shallotte which doesn't have much here but it was already 5pm and the next town would have been another 45 minutes and I just didn't have it I'm me to keep going.

Atlantic Coast Cycling Tour - Day 6 & 7

Jacksonville, NC to Wilmington

Today was a good day. The wind was finally at my back for the most of the way. It started out a little dicey cause Jacksonville is a bit of a dive city but the bike route took me off the no 17 hwy a few times, making the scenery a little nicer to look at, but the route was a little longer than expected. I think this was my second longest day at 112km.

As soon as I arrived, even before I went to check into a hotel, I stopped at this really cool watering hole in the heart of downtown Wilmington and had a beer. They were nice enough to let me take my bike inside and I sat at the bat still sweating while I guzzled it down. I don't think I have ever had a beer within minutes of getting off my bike. I like this town a lot.

Day 7

Day off. Wilmington is a very beautiful city. The buildings are old, and have a lot of character. I decided to spend a day resting and seeing if my hand gets any better. I booked movie at 1:15pm and a massage at 4:0pm. Went to a comedy show and watched a fantastic band playing at the bourbon pub. I really like the vibe here. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Atlantic Coast Cycling Tour - Day 5

Beaufort to Jacksonville, NC

Best. Day. Ever.

The adjustments to my bike must have made a difference. I still woke up with numbness in my hand, but at least today it didn't get any worse, and actually may have improved a little bit.

The first few miles were a little dicey trying to avoid big trucks, road shrapnel and curbs. Thankfully, I left the highway and towards Emerald Isle. Wow, it is nice much nicer ride. Wide roads, quiet and beautiful. I stopped for pictures, and enjoyed the whole Island. My hand still has issues, but it wasn't consuming me. I am really happy about that.

Once I left Emerald Isle, I was back on the sketchy highway, but not for too long. I found a bike route through the back roads of farm country.  This was also very enjoyable ride.

The weather has cooled - possible from a mild occasional drizzle which was just fine for me.

It was a good day, and I feel like I can keep going. Whew.

Atlantic Coast Cycling Tour - Day 4

Ocracoke to Beaufort

I caught the first ferry at 7:30am from Ocracoke. The ferry is 2 1/2 hours to Cedar Island. While this was my shortest cycling day (60km) it was by far the most difficult for me. I've been having issues with my left wrist going numb.

I have pain in my wrist all the time, and my fingers tingle constantly, making me very uncomfortable.   It began yesterday, but today was significantly worse. It is also unbeaten hot. Hot hot hot.

I have been taking long breaks, and when I arrived in Beaufort I immediately went to a bike shop to see what I can do differently to resolve this nagging problem. I was advised by Steve at Beaufrot cycle to make adjustments to my bike to get me more upright.

I adjusted my saddle by moving it forward, tilted my handlebars up higher, and lowered my seat post an inch. If these changes don't help, I'm not sure I can keep this going.

Atlantic Coast Cycling Tour - Day 3

Kill Devil Hills to Ocracoke

This was a long day. 130km total, plus a 45 minute ferry ride. I left at about 9am, but didn't arrive till 7pm and it was dark out. 

To get back to the mainland, there are 2 ferries. One in Hatteras, and then another in Ocracoke. The Hatteras ferry leaves every half an hour, and is 45 minutes long. 

I was going to end my day in Hatteras, but discovered that there was only 3 sailings leaving Ocracoke. 7:30am, 1:00pm and one later. If I had stayed in Hatteras, the earliest ferry I could take from Ocracoke would be 1:00, getting me to Cedar Island at about 3:30, and still another 60km to Beaufort. I had to make sure I made it all the way to Orcacoke, so I could be sure to catch the first ferry out. 

Ocracoke is a very cool, small island with great food and people on it. Glad I came all the way here. I have an early ferry to catch in the morning, and laundry, beer and food to do still.