Posts Tagged ‘North Carolina’

OBXbike

OBX Bicycle, Kill Devil Hills, NC

I first started going to the Outer Banks of North Carolina with a group of college friends in the 80’s.  Then my Mom started a tradition of holding family reunions there for me and my five siblings, and our families.  I went there every year for decades.  But I had not been back since my Mom passed away, until last week that is.  Last week my family joined my brothers and sisters and their spouses, and their children and their children’s spouses, and their children’s children, and spent the week on the Outer Banks.

It was a fantastic week of family, food and fun.  Unfortunately, due to a combination of a full schedule of activities and extreme heat advisories issued by the National Weather Service, I was not able to get in as much bike riding as I had originally hoped.  On the days when it was possible I enjoyed riding a beach cruiser (although it took some time to get used to using coaster brakes again).  I even stopped by one of my favorite local bike shops on the Outer Banks, OBX Bicycle.

Although I was not able to ride as much as I would have liked on this trip, I have another trip planned which will consist almost entirely of riding.  When I retire I plan to go long-distance bike touring in several areas around the country, including the Outer Banks.  And depending on how those tours go, I may go on a bike tour across the country.

In fact, I have already researched, developed plans for, and mapped out my bike tour of the Outer Banks.  It begins at the northernmost lighthouse in Corolla, and goes south through the barrier islands before circling back through the coastal plains and returning to where it began.  The tour will include all of the lighthouses along the scenic coast, as well as historic sites, national memorials, state parks, marshlands, wildlife refuges, estuarine reserves and national forests.  It will also include some of the best restaurants and breweries in the country.

To find out more about my plans for bike touring on the Outer Banks before I go, click here.  To find out about it as it happens, just keep reading this blog.

An Early Retirement Gift to Myself

I recently completed thirty years of service with the Federal government and became eligible to retire.  And although I am not retiring quite yet, I decided to buy myself an anniversary gift to celebrate the milestone.  And when I saw this bike on eBay I knew what the gift to myself should be.

The newest addition to my collection of bikes is a Surly Disc Trucker.  Surly‘s Long Haul Trucker (LHT) enjoys a reputation as one of the best riding and most value-packed touring bikes out there.  It’s been around long enough to be tested in the real world, in all kinds of places, with all kinds of loads on all kinds of roads.  My 2012 Surly Disc Trucker is an LHT but upgraded with disc brakes to provide a bit more braking performance than the standard rim-brakes that the LHT provides.  Other features of this bike include:  thicker-walled and larger-diameter 4130 CroMoly steel frame tubing than standard sport-touring frames;  a longer wheelbase than you’ll find on a road or hybrid bike, making for maximum stability, comfort and responsive handling under load, and all the braze-ons you could want, from rack mounts to water bottle cage bosses to spare spoke holders.  And the componentry includes:  a Cane Creek 40, 1-1/8˝ threadless black headset;  a Shimano UN-55 square taper interface; a 68 x 118mm bottom bracket;  a Shimano Sora FD-3403 silver front derailleur and Shimano XT RD-M771 rear derailleur; an Andel RSC6, 26/36/48t. square taper interface crankset, and; a Shimano HG-50, 11/12/14/16/18/21/24/28 /32t cassette.  Finally, and with all due respect to Surly’s limited factory available colors of Super Dark Green or Blacktacular, the color of this bike has also been upgraded to custom powder-coated Hi-Vis Neon Yellow.  Combined with matching Deda bar tape and Hi-Vis yellow Ortlieb waterproof front and back panniers, the bike will be almost impossible not to see when I’m out touring.

And going on occasional long-distance bike tours is something I’m looking forward to doing after I retire.  I’ve already planned and mapped out a few different bike tours I will be doing.  One is a tour of the lighthouses of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, which would involve riding from north to south down the coast, and then looping back around on the mainland and ending up back at the northern-most lighthouse again.  I also will being doing a tour of the Great Alleghany Passage and C&O Canal Towpath, a 336-mile route without any cars or motor vehicles that connects Pittsburgh with D.C.  Along the way it also allows riders to take in a number of small historic towns, state parks and other attractions along the way.  A bike tour along the lower coast of Florida on down to Key West is also on my list.

While there are plenty of other bike tours I would also like to do here in the United States, I would also like to do a bike tour across Northern Spain.  The route there is called El Camino de Santiago.  Also referred to in English as The Way of Saint James, it is a network of spiritual pilgrimages leading to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Greater in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia.

It’s been a long journey to get to the point of being eligible to retire.  And I look forward to finishing this journey one day soon, so that I can start more journeys in the future.