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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Day 1:

We left our place at 7am for a trek towards VA. The drive is only 4 hours. The night before I was busy planning stuff... I started looking at everything and finally decided that things would be better without any plan. We got to the start of Skyland Drive- or "the drive". They said that they don't really recommend bicycling along "the drive", so we kept driving. The Drive is 100 miles long. We decided that it would take us too long to drive the whole thing, and be able to get any kind of ride in on the Parkway, so we skipped The Drive and drove along 81 for the length of it. It took a lot longer than I thought it would.

We finally hit the parkway and started looking for a place to camp. Basically we spent the whole day driving. No ride. :(

It was raining the whole day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Day 2

Woke up at 6, ate a huge breakfast, and just rode. All we could really do is an out and back. It was kind of nice just being able to zone out. The riding was AMAZING. Not very many cars at all, gorgeous scenery.

The only bad part was near Roanoke, VA, where people seemed to actually be using the parkway for commuting. It isn't very practical to use the parkway otherwise due to the low speed limits. Even still, the traffic wasn't so bad. We could have basically ridden straight for 100 miles without hitting a traffic light or stop sign.

I think our campsite was around mile 60 and we ended up riding all the way until we hit Roanoke Mtn at 112(?). That thing is steep.

One thing that sucked was that there basically isn't any place to buy water/food along the whole thing. You would have to fill up at the campsites. They're spaced pretty regularly, but you have to make sure you fill up at every one. The only real issue was food. Since we were both on our racing bikes, we really couldn't carry much things besides what could fit in our jersey pockets. I kept joking to her that she had a "Whole Foods" in her jersey. Tons of bars, 2 sandwiches, and an extra bottle of water, plus all the bike repair stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Day 3

This was going to be our big driving day since we wanted to see the whole thing and I had to be back for work (read: lame). Today we only got in about 50 miles, since we were going to be spending about 5 hours in the car.

The riding scenery definitely changed. We went from steep cliffs on one side and a peak on the other, to some kind "flattish" area. The view was more of rolling hills than the mountains we saw the day before. It was interesting. TONS of cows. I should have taken more pictures.
 

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Day 4

I hated how I didn't have enough time. We started at the Mt. Pisgah campsite and we rode until we hit the highest point on the parkway. Lots of climbing.

The scenery changed again. It was back to like the beginning, but this time the mountains were much bigger (we were about 2000 feet higher as well).

Honestly, the ride towards the top wasn't as climactic as I though it would be.
 

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Cruzer2424 said:
Day 1:

. We got to the start of Skyland Drive- or "the drive". They said that they don't really recommend bicycling along "the drive", so we kept driving. .
That's news to me. The Skyline Drive is one of my favorite rides. I have done it about once per year since 2002. I havn't been out there yet this year, but I am thinking about riding it sometime in June. I only have ridden on a very small part of the Blue Ridge Parkway and I will grant you that there is less traffic on the Parkway than on the Skyline Drive, but the Skyline Drive has very little traffic compared to almost any other road I have ridden in the Mid-Atlantic, the road surface is very good and you don't have to carry much food if you are on a road bike -- there are stores and/or restaurant facilities about every 25 miles.

I sounds like you had fun in any event. It sure beats working.
 

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MarkS said:
That's news to me. The Skyline Drive is one of my favorite rides. I have done it about once per year since 2002. I havn't been out there yet this year, but I am thinking about riding it sometime in June. I only have ridden on a very small part of the Blue Ridge Parkway and I will grant you that there is less traffic on the Parkway than on the Skyline Drive, but the Skyline Drive has very little traffic compared to almost any other road I have ridden in the Mid-Atlantic, the road surface is very good and you don't have to carry much food if you are on a road bike -- there are stores and/or restaurant facilities about every 25 miles.

I sounds like you had fun in any event. It sure beats working.

It was news to me too. haha. We got to the first information center, and she asks if they have anything to say about it. I can't remember her exact words, or how she said it, but she said something like "We don't really recommend it." So basically, since we didn't really have any sort of plan other than "to ride the parts of the blue ridge parkway", and skyline drive isn't technically part of the blue ridge parkway, we just left.

Another interesting thing was that pretty much every ranger we talked to reminded us to be careful, and to always ride in a single file line. I thought it was interesting. I've probably never been told to be careful so many times in one week. Maybe there is a higher accident rate on the blue ridge parkway???
 

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That's typical Park Service communication. Since the Skyline and Blue Ridge Parkway are essentially road parks, they probably do see a fair number of accidents over the course of a year, so they are probably overly cautious. In NC, they require cyclists to have head and taillights on their bikes if riding on stretches with tunnels, which is probably a good thing because some of the tunnels can be pretty long. The single file warning is probably also a good thing because the BRP has essentially no paved shoulders and isn't particularly wide, so traffic can back up pretty bad if someone is driving slow or bikers are riding abreast. Another bit of advice is don't cycle the BRP during fall leaf season -- the traffic is incredible.
 

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Cruzer2424 said:
It was news to me too. haha. We got to the first information center, and she asks if they have anything to say about it. I can't remember her exact words, or how she said it, but she said something like "We don't really recommend it." So basically, since we didn't really have any sort of plan other than "to ride the parts of the blue ridge parkway", and skyline drive isn't technically part of the blue ridge parkway, we just left.

Another interesting thing was that pretty much every ranger we talked to reminded us to be careful, and to always ride in a single file line. I thought it was interesting. I've probably never been told to be careful so many times in one week. Maybe there is a higher accident rate on the blue ridge parkway???
I think there are probably were a couple of things going on here.

Insofar as the first information center is concerned, I would not be surprised if a lot of people try to ride a bike on the Skyline Drive from Front Royal and have some real problems very quickly. The first five or six miles of the Skyline Drive are an unrelenting climb and most of the first 20 miles are uphill. Although I would think from what you and your traveling companion look like in the photos that you posted that the folks in the information center would be able to figure out that you were not the usual tourist who has not been on a bike since last year's vacation and that you could handle a few climbs.

I never have had any problems with traffic or drivers on the Skyline Drive. But, one thing that I have noticed is that there are a lot of drivers who are gazing at the scenery rather than their looking at the road. I have seen more than one driver who was weaving on the road as if he or she were drunk, but realized that he or she just was looking at the great vista to the right or the left rather than looking straight ahead. Also, the average age of the drivers on the Skyline Drive during the week is well above what you would find on a normal road and a lot of them tend to drive very large vehicles. I still think that the Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway are cycling friendly. But, it also probably is a good idea to be careful when riding around someone old enough to be your grandfather or grandmother who is driving an RV and looking at the cute deer on the side of the road rather than the lycra-clad cyclist just up ahead.
 
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