Atlantic Coast Section #4: Great Loop Tour Option

January 26, 2012

Looking at the Adventure Cycling Route Network as a whole -- all 40,000+ miles of it -- can be a bit intimidating so it's important to remember that a significant journey need not mean pedaling a high number of miles. Our network has is broken into map sections of 300-500 miles and many of them have possibilities to help you ride that shorter tour.

For example, using the Outer Banks Alternate found on the Atlantic Coast Route section 4, a route of manageable size can be created. The Outer Banks is rich in history, deluxe in water views, a number of lighthouses and is a popular tourist destination in general with a good amount of services. There are a  couple of ferries to ride so you'll need to coordinate your riding times with the ferry schedule.

Spring can be an excellent time to ride there as the temperatures are moderate and traffic a bit lower than summer. Fall can be more of a gamble weather-wise because they often experience tropical storms at that time which can develop into hurricanes. In fact, in 2011 Irene closed portions of NC Highway 12. Information on the recovery efforts for that highway can be found on the NC-DOT website.

Starting and ending in Jacksonville, North Carolina, gives you a loop with a total mileage in the neighborhood of 450, that can be ridden in 8-10 days with an average of 45-60 miles per day. If you want to shrink the distance further, Tours Specialist Paul Hansbarger recommends the North Carolina Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation website, "There are also some other routes and resources through NC-DOT for making smaller loops in the Outer Banks. They have free cycling maps available through their site."

Logistically speaking, you could fly into Norfolk or Wilmington and shuttle to a starting location closer to your intended route. Or the smaller regional Ellis Airport -- located 12 miles from Jacksonville -- has jet service through a couple of major airlines.

What area of our route network are you interested in creating a smaller tour on? Let me know and perhaps I'll feature it in a future blog post.

Photo: Rodanthe Pier in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Photo from The.Rohit's photostream on Flickr.

GEOPOINTS BULLETIN is written by Jennifer 'Jenn' Milyko, an Adventure Cycling cartographer, and appears weekly, highlighting curious facts, figures, and persons from the Adventure Cycling Route Network with tips and hints for personal route creation thrown in for good measure. She also wants to remind you that map corrections and comments are always welcome via the online Map Correction Form.


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