What you should expect from a long bicycle journey
Bicycle touring for a sustained period of time is a…
Day 15: Wilmington to Shallotte, NC. 38 miles.
There are some days that you know aren’t going to be big mileage days, and this was one of them. Started off late with a sore lower body (and weirdly, thumbs) so upped the cadence and went lightly for a couple of hours to warm up. Nothing too bad, just need to remember to stretch properly after each day and take it easy for the first couple of miles in the mornings.
It was all going well, stopped at a service station to get some late lunch and met three nice folk. Linda the policewoman, Joe and Matt, all keen cyclists who were super-friendly. Hello!
Then darkness came (and for the first time so far, a cold chill in the air), and there was a bit of an incident which involved a combination of the night, dodgy road & idiotic cycling. One of those very-quick-to-learn-from experiences where you tell yourself “you moron!” repeatedly in quick bursts for about a minute (Everyone does this, right?). The Ocean Hwy 17 has parts with really thin shoulders (if any), and if you’re a cyclist I would advise you avoid this road at night. Sometimes, being loose and unattached about this kind of route, IMO, can be a good thing (obviously not if you’re anywhere remote!) – you end up in places off-the-beaten-track and it’s more authentic. But approaching Shallotte on the Ocean Hwy 17 reinforced that this can be a stupid (and potentially downright dangerous) idea. Choose the safe roads because sketchy roads at night aren’t fun or worth it. I’ll certainly be doing a lot more research about the roads going forward after last night. The ACA maps are great for this, they’re tailored for safe cycling.
Anyway, after walking the bike down the grass by the side of the road for about 3 miles, I ended up in Shallotte and found an awesome stealth camp in, once again, a park behind a church (seems to work well!).
Day 16: Shallotte, NC to North Myrtle Beach (Mileage: 23 miles)
Today’s been another really light day but one that marks a new state and progress. Made it into South Carolina – the state lines are great for morale – more mentally significant compared to town-to-town. It’s been another stunning day with chilled out cycling and a long time hanging out at the ‘Welcome to SC Rest Stop’, which was a gem and features wonderful staff. Writing this post from Little River, whilst charging batteries. Sorry about lack of decent imagery in this post, that’s the reason! Heading to Myrtle Beach in a sec to find a place to stealth camp so will put those details, along with overall mileage, into the next post.
South Carolina seems like a great area and everyone’s incredibly friendly so far. I’m ‘stoked’ to meet a couple of interesting people (that’s a cheesy clue as I’m near SC’s surfing spots at the moment). Hang ten. It may be a few days until the next post but hopefully it’ll be a good one! The next two or three days will be working down towards Charleston, SC. Will attempt to push for some bigger mile days from there.
It’s been a case of ups and downs in the last couple of days but that was always going to happen and is fun, whether that’s in the moment or in retrospect.