COROLLA, NORTH CAROLINA
I am nearing the end of a week of vacationing in Corolla. This is my first time here in this northernmost part of the Outer Banks. I had no expectations so I could not be disappointed if my expectations were not met.
The main road, because there is only one, is Hwy 12 from Kill Devil Hills. It is a 20-mile two-lane road with speed limits of 25, 35, and 45 mph. There sometimes is a narrow shoulder and sometimes no shoulder at all. In Duck, there is a separate bike lane. In most areas, there is a “bike path” which is narrow at times, curvy, and in many places, it is a concrete sidewalk.
On my first day, I rode north to the end of Hwy 12 where one can drive on the beach (4-wheel drive vehicles only). I looked for side streets that followed the main roads but there were few. I thought I might be riding from Corolla to Duck and back a few times but really didn’t like the road although I saw a handful of cyclists on the road.
I turned into my neighborhood and found what would be my riding course for the week. There are three parallel streets between the ocean and the main road. And they are three miles long. There are some intersections, four-way- so some stopping is necessary. But it’s flat and about as traffic-free as one will find. In fact, a bigger obstacle was people walking to the beach.
It was windy. This is, after all, where Orville and Wilbur Wright came to test their flying motorized kite. They needed constant wind and sand and this place has it. On Monday I went out and did some laps of the neighborhood. I wasn’t pushing it but saw my speed was 19 mph which was higher than anything I rode last year. (I did an average of 19.3 mph one month ago in a group ride).
It was a week of Wahoo woes. My Wahoo wasn’t syncing with the Wi-Fi in the house we had rented. I couldn’t sync my routes but did find a different way to import my routes. I made a route to follow for fun but mostly as a test to see if by backward way of importing a route would work. I was planning a 50-mile ride at Currituck on Tuesday so the neighborhood ride was perfect for a test ride.
On Monday the test was a three-lap ride of two streets but only to the first stop sign. It would be a perfect circuit. On the first street, I had to brake for a slow-walking family that was blocking a crosswalk for all their kids to cross. I was annoyed enough that I called it a ride. The Wahoo was working as advertised and that was good enough for me. I pedaled back to start. I uploaded my ride and saw that I rode at 20.1 mph. Wow! Although it was less than five miles, I was very pleased.
I went out on Wednesday intending to ride the full course which was 11 miles. I was riding well but my plans were sort of waylayed by a policeman on course, parked at a stop sign. Perfectly done, this course had three stop signs, all right turns, and only one with cross traffic. I was hoping to roll through each but when I came to the second sign and saw a policeman sitting there. I stopped. I took a gel. Then I had to get back up to speed.
At first, I decided to scrub this ride but then rode just for the fun of it. Speed no longer mattered. When I finished I had completed my ride of 11 miles at a speed of 20.2 mph.
I could but choose not to display distance traveled on my Wahoo. I also choose to display in kilometres and not miles. So when I went to the metrics page I had no idea what 32.5 kph meant. Turns out it means 20.2 mph.
After that, I just rode. Every day I put in some miles. I am balancing family here at the beach with riding but I could ride all day here in circles. Or rectangles. I doubt that I come back here but would love to if the opportunity presents itself. A nice place to ride.
The three main streets in Whalehead. From the ocean they are Lighthouse Dr., Whalehead Dr., and Corolla Dr.