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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    West Tennessee & Ashe Cty NC
    Posts
    21

    Western NC Mountains/BR Parkway/Ashe County cycling info appreciated

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    I will be in the West Jefferson, Boone, Blowing Rock area for 3 months this summer and want to explore cycling. I have 2015 Specialized road Vita Elite and would like to enjoy the "flats" where I can find some - any suggestions? What about bike clubs or riding groups? any restaurant recommendations?
    It is a good day when you wake up - better if the sun is shining!

    2015 Specialized Vita Elite Carbon disc 18 speed
    2016 KUAT Sherpa 2.0 2" - luv this baby!
    1985 Raleigh Marathon 12 speed is history as of 2017

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
    Posts
    6,664
    Flat? Not sure you'll find much! We own property up in Ashe County, and it is quite hilly. I am sure there must be some flatter routes, but I wouldn't know where to suggest. We really haven't done much riding up there other than our mountain bikes on the road where our property is, so I can't really help much. I don't know of any riding clubs in that area either. Unfortunately, the roads tend to be narrow with no shoulders. It is gorgeous up there, but not the most cycling friendly, which is one of many reasons we decided not to build on our property. Sorry not to be more encouraging!

    There might be more options in Blowing Rock. It caters more to tourists. West Jefferson is a great little town but small. There is a brewery on the main drag and a nice coffee shop with wi-fi, but I can't recall the name. There's also a Saturday farmer's market in West Jefferson.

    Good luck, and I hope you find some options!
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    West Tennessee & Ashe Cty NC
    Posts
    21
    Thanks for the info - we will be staying in Jefferson Landing, so I know I can ride in there at a minimum: heard something about Railroad grade road for cycling - but I'm uncertain what kind of vehicle traffic might be along the route. I see you have a Bike Friday - I have friends cycling on BF's right now for 6 weeks! They seem to be having a great time- 3rd trip in 4 years for them. Cycle safe, and thank you again for info
    It is a good day when you wake up - better if the sun is shining!

    2015 Specialized Vita Elite Carbon disc 18 speed
    2016 KUAT Sherpa 2.0 2" - luv this baby!
    1985 Raleigh Marathon 12 speed is history as of 2017

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    West Tennessee & Ashe Cty NC
    Posts
    21
    Emily,
    Do you know anything about the VA Creeper trail? I was hoping a section was paved for my road bike, but I haven't found much information on it yet that depicts the surface condition - most reference it as gravel, hard pack, but I know along hwy 58 throught Jefferson Nat'l Forest we saw paved sections. Looks like a fun ride downhill.....
    It is a good day when you wake up - better if the sun is shining!

    2015 Specialized Vita Elite Carbon disc 18 speed
    2016 KUAT Sherpa 2.0 2" - luv this baby!
    1985 Raleigh Marathon 12 speed is history as of 2017

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    4,556
    I have ridden the Creeper Trail - as I know has Emily. It is hard pack small gravel for the most part. You can expect ruts and mud in places. Coming down, you will hold the brakes a lot as there are lots of obstacles and other trail users. It can be crowded - particularly in peak summer and fall. From White Top to Damascus is definitely not paved. I would ride it on a cross bike but not a road bike. There is some riding in Shady Valley that is flat-ish (it is all relative up there). I don't remember exactly where - it has been a few years. I think there are some new green ways in Boone, but I don't know the details as I haven't been up there much in the last 5 years or so.

    Eta: I have also ridden railroad grade road (as a recovery ride when we did Blood Sweat and Gears one year). It is fairly flat and pretty. I was a bit cautious about stopping to make sure there were good sight lines - but traffic wasn't bad and I didn't feel unsafe. I do recall having a terribly experience at a general store/lunch spot there - so I wouldn't recommend that.
    Last edited by Blueberry; 06-12-2016 at 01:59 PM.
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
    Posts
    6,664
    The Virginia Creeper Trail is lovely, but I would not attempt it on a road bike. My husband has ridden the entire thing, and I've ridden a good portion of it, and he tells me that none of it is paved. We rode part of it one year on our Bike Fridays (which have 1.35" wide tires), and I said "never again". My hands got super tired from clutching the road brakes from the hoods so much, and the surface was not good in places -- washed out, muddy, rocky, sandy, so I wished for suspension and wider tires. I actually preferred riding back uphill to the downhill direction since my hands got so tired from braking.

    Fast forward to a couple of years later, and we rode more of the trail on our full-suspension mountain bikes. That was a blast. The MTBs handled everything it had to offer in terms of terrain, and the brakes were much easier to apply in the downhill direction.

    I would not recommend it on anything but mountain bikes, personally, but it will depend on what weather conditions have been like up to that point. The more rain, the more washed out certain sections will become.

    We do love our Bike Fridays! Sounds like your friends are having fun. We have done some touring on them but mostly use them for utilitarian rides with racks and panniers/trunk bags and for travel.

    I had forgotten about the RR grade road. I have heard of it but never ridden it. Sounds like a good option to check out for a road ride!
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

 

 

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