2019 CNC Coastal Ride

2019 CNC Coastal Ride

The last weekend in April was the Cycle North Carolina Coastal ride in Edenton, NC for 2019. Edenton, NC is a town of about 5,500 people on the Albermarle sound on the Inner Banks of North Carolina. The Coastal Ride was about 1,700 cyclists so it is always interesting.

Rides

CNC had rides set up for all skill levels for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The rides ranged from about 5 miles for families with young children to centuries on Friday and Saturday and metric centuries all three days. If you wanted to hammer, you could get about 300 miles in over the course of the three days. All of the routes are bone deep flat so you can do more miles than normal but there are usually headwinds. The rides are well thought out and with the exception of the bridges, had very low traffic. The bridges had a lot of police protection basically reserving the outer lane exclusively for cyclists. On the rides we did, I did not notice any crap roads or any washboard (tractor tire indentations) like I had encountered the previous year.

Friday Ride

Friday, we took a shorter route because the weather was uncertain in the afternoon and we have only gone longer than 30 one day prior to the ride. We beat the rain…

Saturday Ride

The big ride — for us — 44 miles with a lot of headwinds. We crossed a 2-mile long bride at 8mph one way and about 17mph the other. Very scenic and two nice rest stops.

Sunday Ride

Sunday was another shorter ride that entailed a 4-mile bridge with again a 8mph outbound crossing and 16mph on the return trip.

Camping

Camping can be a great experience or a complete pain in the ass. With 1700 cyclists, it is usually a bit of each. Two of our neighbors were great. They were quiet, friendly and avid cyclists. Neighbor three was a total pain in the ass. He and his wife brought two barky dogs (kickme size), a charcoal grill, a propane grill, and a propane lantern. Each of these are explicitly banned in the ‘rules’ of the event. But to my dismay, these rules are loosely enforced.

The shower trucks and portapotties were well maintained and ‘nice’ within the context of what they are.

Camping Equipment Review

The Big Agnes 6-person tent with the attached vestibule was great. Even though I only assemble it once/twice a year, the tent is easy to assemble. On Friday, we had torrential rains and heavy winds. The tent held up admirably. You can stand in it to get dressed and it can hold an admirable amount of shit for car camping.

REI chairs with carry straps were plenty comfortable for this type of car camping.

Town

As noted in the opening paragraph, this was a small town. I am pretty sure it was smaller than Washington, NC where the trip was based last spring. It is a beautiful old southern town with a surviving downtown. Main Street had 4 restaurants, a decent, regular coffee shop and a functioning Sears that was probably less than 3,000 square feet. The houses in the old part of town are very Ante Bellum and made it a great town to walk around.

A special shout-out to the Captains Quarters Bed and Breakfast — they were amazing. Best food of the weekend and it was not even close. They have an amazing front porch and a very nice wine list by the bottle/glass. If you are going to Edenton, I could not more highly recommend this B&B.

Restaurants

309 Bistro was good. This was the best restaurant food of the weekend though with a rough start. The hostess was not used to that kind of crowd and quickly lost track of who was where on the 4 lists she had. Crab cake was tasty though. Good beer and wine selection.

Waterman’s Grill was good in the small town restaurant good sense. I had a crab cake that was the size of a big pancake that was 50% filler. I would have preferred a smaller crabbier crab cake but it did not suck.

Edenton Coffee Shop had good coffee and sandwiches. I did not try the espresso since there was a retiree manning the espresso machine and they had about 75 additions to the espresso drink menu so I don’t think a regular cappuchinno was going to be her specialty. Their bagels had literally nothing in common with a good NYC bagel. They were like a roll with a hole in the middle but then again, where would you get bagels in Eastern NC…

Deserving a special place in hell is the Edenton Oyster Bar. This now ranks in the top 2 worst restaurants I have ever attended. This was after the event and still they just flat out sucked. 40 minutes to get a drink. 60 minutes to be told one order could not be filled. 2 hours and still no food. And then to be told that I should just wait because that was the Carolina way. I explained I was from the North where we expected food in a restaurant in a timely manner. I expected to be done in two hours in a tony restaurant and 1 in a regular restaurant.

Special Note

If you have food allergies, issues, etc, you should probably bring your own food and get an AirBnB or something similar. There is little food if you are a vegetarian or gluten free.

Equipment

Swift Sugarloaf

This was probably not needed for this trip because the weather was very nice compared to last year when the temperatures were a lot colder! This held my tools, pump, rain jacket, snacks, and emergency first aid set up. It had plenty of space for all of this plus plenty more space if necessary. It is extremely well-built and great as a way to carry your post-shower clothes and shower materials to the shower trucks when off the bikes. The handles are incredibly handy and the zipper makes access a lot easier than a roll-top bag but probably not as rain proof.

Revelate Designs Mountain Feedbag

This handlebar bag was my ‘stash’ — no not that kind of stash — but my phone, sunscreen, snacks, and keys. It worked as designed. It held everything with plenty of extra space. It did not effect handling or cramp the cockpit. Note, I did little standing on this trip since there was not hills…

PTAP Designs Stem Bag

This stem bag holds a water bottle in a incredibly handy location. As with the Mountain Feedbag, it does not effect handling or cramp the cockpit. It is extremely well-made.

Salsa Cowchipper handlebars

These were a new addition to the Bilenky gravel bike. They are shallow drop bars with a bend outward on the drops so that the drops are 2-inches wider than the tops. For the first time in years, I was using the drops and the bends much, much more frequently because they were much more comfortable. At 57, I am not looking to race…

Stamp pedals

The Stamp pedals were a ‘recommendation’ from Bikepacking.com. They are very comfortable, grippy, and pretty much infinitely adjustable for riding. You can move your foot anywhere on the pedal that you can figure out. They are extremely grippy. In three years, my feet have literally never slipped off.

Five Ten Freerider Shoes

These are great, comfortable sneakers purpose built for bike riding. While intended for off-road riding, I ride them on the road. They have a smooth portion on the bottom where the pedal pins grip. As noted above, I have never slipped off a pedal in three years. They are great off the bike too. You could easily just bring these on a trip and use them both on and off the bike though they are pretty heavy and not sure how they are in day-long wet rides.

2017 Cycling Christmas Ideas

I know, this is probably too late for 2017 but better late than never. Here is this year’s list.

Swift Industries/Oveja Negra Chuckbucket – ($56) This is a collaboration between my two favorite bike bag companies (Swift Industries and Oveja Negra). Nancy and I discovered these bar bags this year and we both love them! With regular drop bars they do not get in the way (or minimally at least) and are extremely convenient. They are obviously easy to reach and they can hold a myriad of items. The most obvious are water bottles but people put snacks, cameras, sundries, and probably hold a small dog or cat… They come in more colors on the Oveja Negra site.

Klean Kanteen Double Walled Water Bottle – (Varies) If you are going to buy a bar bag, you should get one of these too! These bottles with a sports cap keep water cold or hot for hours and I mean hours like 10-12 not 1-2.

Oveja Negra 1/2 Pack – ($80) This bag was broken in on a trip along the Greater Allegheny Passage trip I took in June. This is a very handy bag that manages to stay out of the way in the bike’s upper triangle. Mine on the trip held my phone, extra snacks, rain jacket, my food for the trip, pump, and chamois butter with plenty of space to spare. On the left side is a smallish side pocket that holds an iPhone 8 or iPhone X easily (and probably the Plus since the zipper is pretty long. This held my phone, wipes, and chamois butter. The right side has a long zipper that goes the length of the bag. This makes the bag incredibly easy to get into and the inside has a bright fabric that allows you to see (at least for my oldish eyes). Holds way more than you would think and stays put.

Swift Industries Sugarloaf Basket Bag – ($160) This is an amazing bag (yes, there is a bag theme or problem depending on your point of view). I used this to commute daily and it easily held all of my work clothes, lunch and occasionally work equipment. I also used this on my GAP trip. Held most of my clothes for our S24O trip. Easy to mount to the Wald basket on my Atlantis. Easy to get into (again with the light interior to see crap). Very, very nice front pocket with a magnetic closure. Pretty rainproof – YMMV. If you are cool with mounting a Wald basket on your bike this is the perfect addition.

A Bevy of Top Tube Bags

These are reviewed here

 

Gloves

We’re both dedicated Ibex customers and so are saddened that they’re ceasing operations as of February 2018. Check them out now for great deals on remaining inventory.  Here, I’m recommending their Kilometer Gloves.

11896_3266_00

These unpadded gloves are good looking, comfortable and grippy. They’re warm enough until temps drop into the 30’s. Then you either need a warmer glove, or to add some thin liners.

I wear them on and off-bike. Off bike, they’re warm enough when temperatures are in the 30s. That’s as cold as it’s gotten her so far this year.

For reference I (Nancy) usually wear a women’s medium glove. These are unisex-sized and the S fits perfectly.

Other Great Ibex Gear

Ibex doesn’t have much in the way of women’s bike-specific gear now, but here’s a few other recommendations:

Their Bicycleta knit cap keeps head and ears warm under your helmet. 6694_8100_00

The women’s Izzi pant, while not bike-specific, is totally comfortable for riding, as well as other athletic activities.

0454_7399_00

They’re great for commuting. You’re comfortable on the bike, and  look and feel put-together in the workplace. Being wool, they don’t absorb sweat or get smelly.

On colder or windy days, I you’ll probably want a base layer. They’re not padded, but they’re stretchy enough to accommodate padded undies or shorts.

Check out their women’s long sleeve tops for winter riding. None are bike-specific but some work well both on and off bike.

 

 

 

2016 Cycling Christmas Gifts

2016 Cycling Christmas Gifts

Under $30

Kleen Kanteen insulated water bottles ($25) – Great water bottle that keeps drinks hot or cold for over 12 hours with no aftertaste. Could be a heirloom.

Waltz pro cap ($25-30) – Great fitting and comfortable hats. Had one of a season and the elastic is just as good as when I got it and it does not get hot under the helmet like cotton hats.

Fixitsticks ($25-29) – These are amazingly effective tools that takes up almost no space at all.

Darn Tough Socks – ($25) Great socks, lifetime guarantee, and made in VT. Enough said.

Under $80

Ibex Arm warmers ($45) – Warm and toasty and comfy.

Oveja Negra top tube bags ($45-50) – I love these bags. They hold snacks, my iPhone, and my wallet. Very, very handy and well made.

Rapha winter hat ($70) – warm hat and very comfortable.

Light and motion 180 ($80) – very bright and probably the best rear light on the market.

Over $100

Rapha core bib shorts ($150) – These are amazingly comfortable.

Light and motion 360 ($150) – a great helmet mounted bright and highly visible light. Points light where you are looking. This is handy when some bonehead is coming at you from the side this time of year.

Hinterland Ozette Randonnuer bag ($230) – great and light front bag. I have owned several different Swift Industries bags. They have all been extremely well made and well thought out. This one has internal elastic ‘holders’ all along the sides to hold various items in place so they don’t rattle around.

Silca HX-One Home and Travel Essential Kit ($125) – These are great wrenches. Hands down the best I have ever used. Looks pretty damn cool also.

Giles Berthoud 86 Mini Front Bag ($244) – “This bag is almost too cool for words,” says the Boulder Icyclw  site. They’re right.