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Posted on March 5, 2018 at 10:04 AM by Tricia Ferguson
Ready to Ride
Jacksonville offers scenic routes and fun rides for cyclists of all levels.
From flat, shaded trails to long-distance routes, Jacksonville, NC offers miles of trails winding within the city and stretching all the way to the coast. “Jacksonville has a very active cycling community,” says Kathy Kane, co-owner of The Bicycle Shop. “Whether you’re a road racer, BMXer or ride a beach cruiser, there’s something for everybody.”
Best known as the home of the largest Marine Corps base on the eastern seaboard, Jacksonville is also a destination for cyclists around the southeast. It features three main cycling shops—The Bicycle Shop, Bicycle Gallery, and Guerilla Bikes—and is home to nationally recognized custom bike brand Jack Kane Custom Racing Bicycles.
A great family-friendly outdoor activity, biking appeals to riders of all ages and abilities, says Kane. “It’s a sport you can do lifelong, at any level; it’s not just for athletic types. We even have riders in their 60s, 70s and 80s.”
If you’re planning a trip to visit a marine or just looking for a new adventure, Jacksonville offers a variety of routes and events for all levels of fitness and cycling experience. Check out this map of Jacksonville’s major cycling routes.
Most cycling events in the area can be found on the Down East Cyclists section of meetup.com. A shared resource among the area’s major cycle shops, the site includes an extensive calendar with upcoming rides and events. “One of the best parts of it is that the listings detail the distance, goal and speed, so you know what kind of ride it is,” explains Kane. Listings also note whether an event is a drop or no-drop ride—whether the group will stop for slower cyclists, says Kane.
Jacksonville’s must-see cycling routes include:
For mountain biking fans, the Jacksonville Commons Challenge course can’t be beat. Part of a larger community park, it offers two loops that overlap. The Green trail is an easy warm-up and is about .75 miles long while the Blue trail starts on the Green trail and includes more challenging climbs and technical sections—totaling about 3 miles start to finish. There’s also a beautiful seven-mile base trail that extends from here to Henderson Pond, but requires base access and ID. For more photos of this trail, check out its Facebook page.
“One of the safest, most beautiful rides in Jacksonville is the Rails-to-Trails ride,” says Kane. “At six miles, it’s a great beginner ride because there are no cars around.”
Extending northwest along a path created from abandoned rail beds, the Jacksonville-Camp Lejeune Rails-to-Trails path circles most of the city, encompasses a variety of landscapes, and is part of the national Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. An extended 20-mile route goes further to the historical Beirut Memorial. Find out more about this route on the traillink site, and with this route map.
Jacksonville City to the Sea
The Richlands Loop route stretches 50 miles and follows scenic rural roads along southeastern NC and the headwaters of the New River and is also the route of a spring community-wide cycling event. Marked by green and white bike route signs, it offers a level, paved ride with views that include farms, small towns and pine forests. A shorter 20-mile loop is also available and leaves the longer Richlands Loop south of Gregory Crossroads and rejoins it at Catherine Lake
Ports of Call Route
The Ports of Call Route is designated as NC Bike Route 3 and extends from South Carolina to Virginia. The Jacksonville section extends west from Hewitt Road near the Onslow County border, east towards Maysville. This on-road route follows rural, typically low-traffic roads.
Bikes on Buses
For biking in and around Jacksonville, you’ll appreciate that city transit busses are equipped with bike racks. Mounted to the front of the bus, each rack can hold two bicycles. To use this service, you must be able to lift and place your bike on the rack. Here’s how:
Once you get to Jacksonville, we want to ensure your safety, so be sure to:
From our local trails and greenways to extended coastal rides, the biking options in Jacksonville are plentiful. Be sure to bring your bike on your next visit and let us know which route was your favorite!
Coastal Carolina Off-Road Series
Jacksonville Recreation & Parks
How to get to Jacksonville
Tag(s): outdoors, cycling, BMX, biking, bike routes