After one amazing first week and another great second week, Adam and I have given up on our epic bicycle touring experiment. We hoped that the East Coast Greenway would take us mostly safely from North Carolina to Florida, but, unfortunately, in between some of the nice back roads and trails, we hit a really terrible stretch for bikes on the road between Myrtle Beach and Charleston, South Carolina.
The particular road that ended my trip was the stretch of US Highway 17 between Pawley’s Island and Georgetown. We rode on about 18 inches of shoulder next to a two lane, 60 mph highway. Sometimes the shoulder was overgrown with grass and trees. The worst part was a small two lane bridge leading into the city. Here, there was 12 inches of debris-covered shoulder and another generous 18 inches of slightly raised sidewalk. The railing over the river was more of a guard rail, about knee height and well below our center of mass.
By this point, I was pretty much losing my mind, to the point that I didn’t even stop to document the moment with a photo. Here is a nice bridge instead:
Fortunately, we made it safely into Georgetown, SC that day and celebrated with a sunset beer. There were no reasonably priced rental cars available in that tiny town, and the roads didn’t look too terrible continuing along to Charleston, so we decided to press on. Once we made it to Charleston, though, we realized we would need to ride major sections of 17 onward into Georgia. Putting safety first, as we sometimes do, we decided that we’d had a good run of almost 500 miles but it was time to pack up the bikes.
Since then, we rented a car to get us back to Durham and are now meandering around the Maryland area seeking adventures and snacks. I still have plenty more to say about our trip, our gear, and what we learned from our time on the road. I want to document our distances, gear, pace, and other key stats in case any other inexperienced bikers want to give this a shot. This was a great experiment in bike touring for us and I am really glad we had the chance to give it a shot for a few weeks. We will most likely try this again in the future. Plus, I’m no longer exhausted from keeping up with Adam every day, so stay tuned for more updates!