Published Somedays

Topsail Island at midnight

(updated: Mar 24, 2013)

Topsail Island consists of three distinct towns in two counties ... The south end is Topsail Beach, the middle is Surf City, and the north end is North Topsail Beach. I just refer to it as Topsail Island. I usually end up riding in all three anyway.

I did this ride last night. I knew a Sunday morning ride was out due to 100% chance of rain. Low tide was around 11:30pm, so a midnight beach ride on the Pugsley was in order. Hey, I wouldn't be Sir Bikes-a-lot if I didn't do stuff like this, right?

Actually it was pretty amazing. I rode for a little while without lights. The moon was just sufficiently bright enough to light the way. You really don't need to see when you're riding on the beach anyway because it's flat and smooth for the most part. You go too far one way and you get wet, and too far the other way and you get slowed by the deeper sand. The only thing I would worry about would be running into someone, but in the off-season there's nobody on the beach at night, except for maybe a dude fishing (probably goes by Sir Fishes-a-lot).

I brought my camera and tripod with me so I could take some night shots. I love photographing at night ... the light makes things look so different, as if we had a only really weak sun to illuminate everything. But time exposures take longer, so after all the trials and setting up I spent over an hour just taking photographs. So between the photo taking and the riding I was out there for several hours. In that time the temperature had dropped to below 40 degrees.

I like mixing things up so I don't get bored. This is one way to do it. Another way is to get dropped off late at night in a really bad neighborhood with an $8,000 carbon fiber bike ... I'm not that bored.

Ride fast anyway...


Looking south toward Surf City. You can see a few stars.
Topsail at night

Looks like sunrise. Actually the orange-ish light is from the Mercury vapor streetlight behind me.
Pugsley at Topsail

Just to contrast the time exposure vs a normal exposure, here is a similar shot using my bike light as the source of illumination.
Pugsley at Topsail

Looking north toward North Topsail. I turned my light on and rode around. You can't see me because I don't remain in one place long enough.
Topsail at night

But when I sit still then I will become exposed enough. Incidentally this is how photographers capture empty scenes of the city without any pedestrians or vehicle traffic. They use a really strong neutral density filter and a long exposure. Since anything moving won't be there long enough to register, it looks deserted. If you see anyone doing this, simply stand in place for a long time and it will drive them crazy.
Topsail at night with Pugsley

Shot of moon. Clouds are moving in.
Topsail at night

Topsail at night with Pugsley

Surf City Pier.
Surf City pier

Beach homes in Surf City.
Surf City

Surf City Pier.
Surf City Pier

Surf City Pier

Looking south toward Lea-Hutaff Island.
Looking south toward Lea-Hutaff Island

Pugsley at south end of Topsail lit by moonlight.
Pugsley at South end of Topsail

South end of Topsail looking east.
South end of Topsail looking east

South end of Topsail looking west.
South end of Topsail looking west

The Big Dipper.
The Big Dipper

Another one of the Moon. This is not blurry, the Moon had a ring around it, which tends to indicate that bad weather is coming.
The Moon

My typical field of view at night. I managed to find a welk shell and couple of pieces of driftwood.
My field of view

Almost ran over this little guy. He wasn't injured, just a baby bird who couldn't fly yet. I saw another one about a mile further.
Baby bird

Filed Under: Ride Reports > North Carolina > Topsail


1. Michael said...

Nice photos!

Mar 25, 2013 @ 4:31 AM

2. McMike said...

awesome photos of my home-beach...

Mar 25, 2013 @ 6:45 PM

3. Nancy said...


Mar 26, 2013 @ 9:11 PM


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