Is there too much traffic on a week day for safe bicycling on rural roads anywhere near I-85 in central North Carolina? The hundred and sixty miles of I-85 between Raleigh and Charlotte is rapidly becoming one big city, an I-85 megalopolis.
I parked our Prius in the U.S. Post office of Whitsett NC, less than a mile from Exit 138 of I-85, about halfway between Durham and Greensboro. I had driven over from my home in Chapel Hill NC in slightly less than an hour.
Whitsett NC (population 590) is not much of a town, really.
Here is the three hour bike ride I took on this sunny but cold Tuesday in February.
Gibsonville NC (population 6,400) is only about about three miles north of Whitsett, but for some weird reason does not show up on the map above. Gibsonville is the red dot just to the west of Elon and to the north of Whitsett. Gibsonville looks the quintessential American small town.
The North Carolina Railroad, a state owned line running Charlotte / High Point / Greensboro / Durham / Raleigh / Morehead City runs right through the center of Gibsonville. There are three passenger trains a day speeding through Gibsonville; unfortunately none of them stop here; quoting Linda Ronstadt channeling Warren Zevon “Well the train don’t run by here no more, poor poor pitiful me.” Fortunately Gibsonville does have the Gibsonville Garden Railway, a miniature (toy) rail line for all to gaze at. It sits right next to the mostly unused but full size Gibsonville train station.
Gibsonville’s population has been increasing, being near I-85. I bicycled past multiple newer subdivisions.
I bicycled for more than two hours north of Gibsonville. A bicyclist is constantly looking for roads free of car traffic. While most rural roads this close to I-85 are busy and dangerous feeling, if one just meanders on whatever road looks empty, one can bicycle out here quite peacefully. It is still a pandemic, I do not feel comfortable in indoor restaurants. I ate my peanut butter sandwich while cycling.
I cycled a total of about thirty miles, bicycling back to the car that had been sitting in the dirt parking lot of the post office in Whitsett. With the bicycle in the back I drove the car back over to the Daisy May Cafe in Gibsonville, to get an almond milk latte to drink on the drive home.
Leave a Reply