Contributed by Bill Brobst, Wheels of Dare Bicycle Club
Mainland Currituck County lies along the route of the Outer Banks Option of the National East Coast Bikeway, running from Maine to Florida. It is also very close to the East Coast Greenway’s Historic Coastal Route. These national designations bring large numbers of interstate touring cyclists through Currituck County.
The roadways and bikeways of the Outer Banks, along its entire length, including the Currituck Outer Banks, form the Outer Banks’ Wright Brothers Bikeway. The Wright Brothers Bikeway runs from Corolla to Ocracoke. Cyclists can ride the northern half of the Bikeway and never have to ride in a high-speed motor vehicle traffic lane. The Bikeway consists mostly of bike and multi-use paths, wide paved shoulders, and quiet neighborhood streets. There are some bike route signs along the way, but not many.
Through the northern portions of Currituck County there are actually four primary motor vehicle travel routes, north and south, plus a coincident NCDOT Bicycle Route:
1. NC-168 (Caratoke Highway) runs from Chesapeake, Virginia, southward past the village of Currituck to its endpoint and junction with US-158 in Barco, NC. It is marked with bicycle “Share the Road” signs. It has a 4′ marked paved shoulder on both sides, with a 55 mph speed limit. However, bicycling on the shoulders of the roadway of NC-168 is not ideal for Sunday afternoon casual cyclists. Traffic is sometimes heavy and fast, with some big trucks and recreational vehicles, and there are numerous business entrances and residential driveways. Traffic is especially heavy on summer weekends; cyclists need to be experienced in handling this kind of traffic. Distance 17 miles.
2. U.S. Highway 158 (Caratoke Highway), coming in from Elizabeth City in the west and running east to the junction with NC-168 in Barco,and then south along the peninsula over the 3-mile-long Wright Memorial Bridge into Kitty Hawk, which is the only access point to the Currituck Beaches. It is marked with bicycle “Share the Road” signs. The bridge has 2′-wide shoulders eastbound, and 6′-wide shoulders westbound. The same traffic levels, road conditions, and precautions apply here as described above for NC-168. Distance 24 miles.
3. NC-12 (Duck – Corolla Road) runs from the north end of Corolla south to Duck, and from there south to Dare County and on to Ocracoke. It, too, is marked in places with yellow bicycle “Share the Road” signs or green NCDOT Bicycle Route signs, and is nicely paved, 2 lanes wide (with some three-lane portions at intersections), and with a 3-4′ marked paved shoulder; 35-45 mph speed limit. This is the northern portion of the Wright Brothers Bikeway, the three-county bike route from Corolla to Ocracoke. By the way, NC-12 ends in north Corolla; there is no practical bicycling north of there – it’s all sand! Distance 11 miles.
4. NC-34 (Shawboro Road) runs northeast from Elizabeth City into Currituck County through the villages of Shawboro and Gum Corner to the village of Sligo where it ends at its intersection with NC-168. The final seven miles incorporates NC Bicycle Route 4. Two lanes wide, nicely paved, minimum paved shoulders, 55 mph speed limit, but not much traffic.
Of course, there are many other roadways in Currituck County, most of them quite suitable for cycling.
For more information on Cycling on the Outer Banks, please visit: