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Ocracoke: Legendary Bike Tours and Blackbeard

The Outer Banks of North Carolina is famous for leisurely bike touring. Sojourn’s tours of this region are responsible in part for this fame. Imagine cycling along miles of uninterrupted ocean and pristine dunes on the island of Ocracoke, basking in the breath-taking expanse of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, or sailing with dolphins in the sparkling waters of the Pamlico Sound. It’s the stuff of legends…

Yes. But historically, what becomes a legend most in this part of North Carolina is Blackbeard (1680-1718). An English pirate who marauded ships along the shores of North Carolina, Blackbeard, born Edward Teach, was a savvy sailor who used his giant stature to great advantage. He disdained violence (there are no accounts of his ever having murdered or harmed his captives) and instead elicited compliance from his victims through fear.

Legend has it, he used his big black beard. Before attacking the ships of his victims, Blackbeard dressed to kill in thigh-high boots, a three-cornered hat, brightly colored cloaks, and bandoliers of assorted swords, knives, and pistols. He braided lengths of hemp rope into his voluminous beard and lit the ends on fire. To those who fell prey, his smoking visage was the devil incarnate.

It is not known how many vessels Blackbeard captured during his exploits, but some researchers attribute as many as 45. His most notorious achievement was the blockade of the port of Charleston, where with a flotilla of as many as 400 pirates, he captured ships and took hostages for nearly a week.

Near the end of his infamous career, Blackbeard thought he’d fortify Ocracoke as a pirate haven, instead this is where he met his doom.

In Ocracoke Inlet, he was seized by an armed deputation sent by Virginia Governor Alexander Spotswood and led by Royal Navy Lieutenant Robert Maynard. “In a desperate battle aboard Maynard’s sloop, Blackbeard and a number of his fellow pirates were killed. Maynard returned to Virginia with the surviving pirates and the grim trophy of Blackbeard’s severed head hanging from the sloop’s bowsprit.” (http://www.qaronline.org)

It is much more tranquil in the Outer Banks these days, but Sojourn’s bike tours will pique your curiosity for this salty tale. You don’t have to be clean-shaven to enjoy this trip, but it might be a good idea. Yaaaar….

Image credits: wikipedia.org, theepochtimes.com

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