Ed – This is the first chapter in a series of articles about life at the beach, written by an old friend. What would you do with the freedom to roam? Amy moved to the beach along with her fat-bike. The series will explore the endless smiles of beach and yes….tomfoolery….along the gorgeous Atlantic coast of North Carolina.
So. I did it. Even though I really love winter fat biking, the Wisconsin winters were getting way too long and cold. When October hit, I started counting the days left of possible riding without layers until the following spring, and they were always few.
With my kids now off on their own, and nothing really holding me to Wisconsin except a lifelong history, I decided to follow a dream of living near the Atlantic Ocean… and somewhere that offered a little more warmth year round. I tossed a coin, and it landed on Wilmington, NC. So, I sold my home and my stuff (except my bikes) and took off to a new adventure in Kure Beach, NC. It was really cool how it all came about, but that’s story for another day. I do have to say, when the holiday season rolls around, I miss the snow for like, a day, and then I’m just so friggin’ happy to be riding my fatty almost every day along the F*ckin’ BEACH. YES. The beach.
And do I miss my kids? Of course. They are seriously the Sh*T. But, they are off paving the way for their own journeys, too. As a side note, I guess as a parent, I feel like that’s the best thing I can do for them – give them their freedom to spread their wings and live their lives with the foundation they were brought up with – just as I am finally doing myself.
And I gotta say, I am really digging this new found freedom. When I first drove in to Kure Beach, bikes and my few belongings in tow, I thought perhaps I had moved into Candyland. The houses are super colorful and fun – a far cry from the many hues of beige and gray in Wisconsin. Most are up on stilts, with parking below – no basements, which, made me super happy as I have never had good luck with basements.
The best part so far about living on this island in North Carolina (“PLEASURE” Island, BTW), is the fact that October through March is considered the “off” season. With the temps at an average of about 55 -65F each day, and the beaches in prime fat-bike condition, I would say this is pretty much a match made in heaven! The people are sparse, and there is plenty of room to ride freely, meet some awesome canines and their owners, learn about the culture here (which is, to quote “Spinal Tap” to “have fun all the time”) and to just enjoy the sights, sounds and feels of the vast Atlantic Ocean. I even started a little side business of seaside jewelry made from my finds on the beach. Check out my website if interested! https://www.etsy.com/shop/theMosSeaMermaid
When there ARE people on the beach, the expressions and comments are a bit hilarious. It would appear, the fat bike is a frippery known only in certain circles, being of an obvious northern decent. This quite honestly baffles me a little because I thought it, like “cheese curds” and “bubbler”, was a household name. But, hey. I’m TOTALLY willing to pop that cherry. It’s usually, “HAey BOHB! Lookee’ them TAAAHRS on that THANG! WhooEE!!! DANG! That’s gotta be a Werk-OUT fer EWW lil’ ladee…. WWOW…. HWERE’d yeh GIT them TAHRS?!… Praise JESUS!” Needless to say, it’s been fun to be thrown into an environment of southerners who grew up with the three R’s……. Racing, ‘Rastlin’, and Religion… and they like big tires.
One of the biggest challenges, of course, has to do with keeping the ol’ girl clean as the salty air and beach really do a number on it. I started to notice rust after just a couple of weeks. I’m using T-9, and rinsing after each ride, but it is always a concern.
Besides that, meeting some great people – most are transients from the northern states who, too, are ready for shorter, milder winters. Great people. Most are from New York/New England area – a “potpourri” should we say. Good people – open minded and obviously feeling the same freedom I am feeling.
And to anyone wanting to do some great winter beach riding, I would say, the beaches of North Carolina are THE Sh*t. If you’re looking for a get-away and place to ride that’s warmer, and not overcrowded during the long northern winter months, come on over/down! There are many affordable rental properties in the off season (Oct thru March – try AirBNB or VRBO) and lots of public beach access and parking, every couple hundred yards or so. Kure Beach/Carolina beach is just south of Wilmington, NC– along the coast and almost into South Carolina. Take highway 40 out of Raleigh Durham right into Wilmington then following the signs to Carolina Beach. If driving from the Midwest, I highly suggest highway 77 through West Virginia – the views through the mountains around Charleston are spectacular.
Depending on the response on this little blurb from Y’ALL (yes, that little southernism is surprisingly feeling more fluid these days), I’d love to continue to check in from the coast…. perhaps a smorgasbord of beach riding, folks, food, people, sand, fat bikes and general monkeyshines from down south… and whatever else may come up. Thanks for reading and Happy FAT 2017.