Contributed by Bill Brobst, Wheels of Dare Bicycle Club
The Outer Banks is flat, with the only “hills” being a few bridges. You’ll see yellow “Bicycles – Share the Road” signs all through Currituck County on US-158, NC- 168, NC-12, and NC-34. There is almost always a wind, 5-15 mph, blowing in your face (whichever way you’re going)! When the wind is from the east, it blows up some salt spray, so the bikes need a good bath after they leave the Outer Banks. A quiet bike ride through the residential areas of the Currituck Outer Banks will show you a sample of why so many people have chosen to live at the beach.
For leisure family riding, especially with children, multi-use (bike) paths are available in most of the Currituck beach areas for slower-paced touring or for a relaxing afternoon ride. They are paved separate routes which wind along parallel to the highways or through wooded and residential areas. Some of them connect you from village to village without having to share the road at all with the motor vehicle traffic. The paved side streets in Corolla are quite safe and fun to explore; traffic is usually very light.
For faster and more experienced riders, there are many wide paved shoulders to provide separation between cyclists and motor vehicle traffic. Fast cyclists are cautioned about using the multi-purpose paths because of the presence of walkers, joggers, roller-bladers, and children on bicycles. The shoulders of the roads might be a better choice when the foot traffic is heavier than the road traffic. Be sure to ride on the right, not on the left.
For folks with beach cruisers and mountain bikes, you might want to venture north of Corolla for a ride on the sand, but only at low tide when the sand is hard. It’s 15 miles to the Virginia state line, and you can explore the villages of Carova Beach and Swan Beach. Just beyond the Virginia state line is False Cape State Park. There is a sand access road leading north from north Corolla through the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge into the Swan Beach area, but the sand is soft and not suitable for bicycles.
Whatever you do, be sure to pick up a detailed map of the Outer Banks so you can find the various tourist attractions and bike routes. You can get one in advance, along with other tourist information, from the Currituck County Department of Travel and Tourism, P. O. Box 39, Currituck, NC 27929; phone 877-287-7488. Or stop by one of our Visitor’s Centers; there is one in Moyock on NC-168, just inside the NC-VA state line; phone 252-435-2947. Another visitor’s center is in Corolla, just off NC-12 at 500 Hunt Club Drive, 252-453-9612. Or e-mail us at [email protected].
For information on the Dare County and Hyde County portions of the Wright Brothers Bikeway, south of the Currituck Outer Banks, contact the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau in Dare County at 252-473-2138, or visit their website at www.outerbanks.org, and follow the links to “activities,” “land activities,” and “bicycling.”
You can also stop at one of the several Outer Banks Visitors Centers in Dare County and pick up a free copy of the official NCDOT Dare County Bicycle Map of the Outer Banks (including the Currituck Outer Banks) to work out your own cycling plans. You may call the OBX Visitors Bureau if you want one in advance.