Introduction: - Outer Banks Loop & a Little More - CycleBlaze

October 16, 2011


Why go around in circles?

As retirees, Rhona and I enjoy long distance bicycle touring on our Cannondale tandem. Previous tours included West to East Adventure Cycling Northern Tier cross USA tour in 1996 (Pre-Crazy Guy vintage)and more recently the Adventure Cycling Underground Railroad tour from Mobile, Alabama to Owen Sound, Ontario. Rhona chafes at the logistical challenges involved in transporting a tandem bicycle to the starting point of a tour and having a car or other means of transportation pre-positioned and waiting at the destination. This "loop" tour was planned to simplify the logistics.
Section 4 of Adventure Cycling's "Atlantic Coast Bicycle Route" goes along the Atlantic's coastal plain from Wilmington, NC to Richmond, VA. It also includes an "alternate loop" along the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Our plan was to transport the tandem with a B.O.B. trailer and our gear to Jacksonville, NC and find a hotel that would permit us to park the car during the tour. We would cycle north on the mainland and then south on the Outer Banks in a clockwise direction.

Late August's "Hurricane Irene" complicated our plans (as well as causing real hardship to people all along the east coast). According to reports much of the route had been effected by the hurricane and we were not sure if roads and bridges had been repaired and if hotels and campgrounds were going to be open. Just weeks before the departure date, Route 12 was still not open because the ocean had washed the road away just north of Rodanthe. Fortunately, the North Carolina Dept. of Highways announced a temporary bridge had been installed and traffic could proceed.

Because we could not be sure that we would be able to find hotel/motel accommodations each night we decided to pack camping gear. On recent tours we gave up on trying to pack all of our gear in panniers. While two people require more gear than one person, a tandem bicycle can only tote the same amount of gear as one bicycle. A single wheel B.O.B. trailer was the solution on recent "credit card" style tours. Adding camping gear meant we would lash some gear on top of the B.O.B. trailer

The tandem with B.O.B.
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On October 16 we loaded the B.O.B. and our gear in the back of our Chevy Equinox and the tandem on the bicycle rack on the rear. We use a receiver style bicycle rack. With the tandem's front wheel removed, the length of the tandem does not extend any wider than the Equinox's mirrors. We from our home in West Virginia to the Day's Inn ($89 + tax) in Jacksonville, NC. The hotel gave us permission to park the car while we were on tour. This made up for the room's deficiencies, a TV and refrigerator that did not work. The room was clean and cheap.

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