What you should expect from a long bicycle journey
Bicycle touring for a sustained period of time is a…
Day 10: Norfolk, VA to Ahoskie, NC (Odometer reads: 79 miles – that’s with faffing and getting lost on the way out of Norfolk. Nail it first time and it’s more like 75 miles.)
Didn’t meet any people today for more than a few minutes at a time so it’s more a purely cycling post today.
Started from the budget motel in Norfolk, VA this morning, and begun the urban navigation with the first goal being to get on to the US. Route 13 highway heading South.
Norfolk is home to Norfolk Naval Base, the largest of it’s kind in the world. So cycling out of the city and over the rivers you get to see a variety of ships being built, dismantled, and repaired including a couple of huge aircraft carriers and some other super-serious looking ships.
As for the cycling in the city, it’s tricky to get to the US-13, as you aren’t allowed to go through some of the tunnels and over some of the bridges. Eventually I found this one and was soon on the way. Riding down the other side of this bridge was incredible – top gear, body low, FAST!
Got on the right route shortly thereafter and was greeted with great roads with wide shoulders. Eventually it went past the edge of The Great Dismal Swamp Wildlife Refuge (what a name!), which was great. Swampy, wooded, and autumnal. It does a lot for overall motivation when cycling through inspiring places.
And then it finally happened! At a set of traffic lights on the way through downtown Suffolk, the light turned green, I pedalled about a half-stroke and SNAP! That’ll be the first mechanical issue of the trip – snapped chain.
Fixed it eventually (it’s been a while!) and carried on, sure that it would only last another few minutes before breaking again (thankfully it didn’t). The whole endeavour created some incredibly oily hands.
After cycling out of Suffolk, there was a sign that read ‘NC State Line – 16 miles’. That is motivation in sign form. It’s the little things ‘eh? The landscapes from then on were mainly cotton-fields which were unusual on the eye at first.
Other than the snapped chain, it all seemed to line up today. Flat roads, rested body, and the wind. A perfect North Easterly. I’ve read so much about headwinds being awful (wouldn’t know yet). But what isn’t mentioned as much is how great it is to have the wind on your back. It makes for noticeably faster progress.
Staying in a budget motel tonight in Ahoskie, NC (the price was amazing), and I’m currently working down to Wilmington (hopefully in 2 days time) and then on to Charleston, SC (where there’s surfing!) a couple of days later than that.
My GPS is tracking the route to the meter, so on a rest day soon I’ll try to pull the data off it and upload a totally accurate route-so-far. For now though a rough Google maps will do. Today’s route: