Published Somedays

My Last Ride

(updated: Aug 16, 2006)

Jun 27, 2006 --I'd been riding the new 17 bypass as much as I could lately because it was slated to open any day. I kept planning on bringing my camera with me on a ride (even the video camera) so that I could take some pictures and video, but I kept forgetting and procrastinating. Then my wife told me that it was opening tomorrow! Great. All this time I had to preserve history and I wait to the very last minute.

It was already getting late, but I grabbed my camera, threw on the first bike clothes I saw (the ones I hadn't got around to washing yet), and took off. The great thing about this ride, besides having an entire freaking highway to yourself for nearly 26 miles (13 miles each way with about a 2 mile section already open), was that it literally started at the end of my street. No riding in traffic, no Wilmington drivers to deal with. I'd ride all the way to the end of the road across the bridge. The bridge served as a nice little hill climb break in an otherwise flat coastal plain area.

The coolest thing on this ride was chasing a deer for about a half mile and outrunning it. Well, it wasn't so cool for the deer because the deer was trapped on the highway by all the fencing they put up. So all the doe could do was run alongside the fence (I later saw it dead on the side of the road, hit by a car). I was going 25mph right along with her, until she grew tired and started slowing down. I could see that she was foaming around the mouth. As soon as she got behind me she turned and ran across the road and back the other way. It was pretty cool to outrun a deer. I mean, without a bike humans are pretty inefficient at moving fast, but on a bike we are the most efficient animal on the planet. That's why bikes are so damn cool.

Here are some of the photos I took. I had to hurry because it was getting dark fast. I didn't want to be riding through the open section in the dark. I had a tail-light but no headlight. By the time I got home it was dark. And that was it. My last ride on it. Never again. Sniff.

The 17 Bypass the evening before it opened - the best road ride in Wilmington.

Coming up to the new bridge over the Northeast Cape Fear River.

View from the new bridge of the Cape Fear River.

It was nice having an entire highway to yourself.

Another view from the bridge. People buzzing by in cars will never get to appreciate this the way I did.

I guess eventually this road will continue all the way to Carolina Beach. If you pave it they will come.

The darkness caught up with me. Time to head home.

But it sure was sweet while it lasted. We really need something like this for bikes in Wilmington. It would be smooth, flat and safe. Because it is flat beginners can do it, and because it is safe it will attract families and people who want to ride without worrying about cars. The bottom line is that it will get a lot more people into biking, and that's what we need to overcome animosity toward cyclists and our addiction to cars.


Sir Bikes-a-lot

Filed Under: Ride Reports > North Carolina > Wilmington


1. Sirbikes said...

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Aug 8, 2006 @ 1:02 PM

2. ERX said...

Man, I wish I had a chance to ride that before it
opened up. Oh well.

Up here we have access to rail trail, and that seems to be a very good option for families with children. The local rail trails always have people on them, so they're getting good use anyway.

Aug 9, 2006 @ 12:48 PM

3. John B said...

great story about the deer, too bad it ended badly. I also road the snot out of the bypass before it opened and took a bunch of pics...great while it lasted. I still commute on it from scott's hill to just before I-40. Guess this is probably not legal?

Dec 14, 2006 @ 12:25 PM


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