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· corning my own beef
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
asked this in the Lounge, and was told to repeat my question here:

I'll be in both the areas of Boone and Asheville, NC next week, will have the road bike along with me. Anybody have recommendations for some nice rides? From Boone, can I just get on the Blue Ridge Pkwy east of town and go SW into the Nat'l Forest, or is that heavy w/ traffic?

Input and suggestions welcome and appreciated.
 

· getting older
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Not too many years ago, our collegiate team went down to that area for a spring break training week. There was an excellent book that had a lot of rides/routes near the Asheville area that was recommended at a local bike shop. We certainly got the impression we weren't the only people traveling there for rural hilly road riding.

I tried searching for the book online, but was unsuccessful. Here's another book that comes up in google book search:
http://books.google.com/books?id=1Q...age&q=road riding north carolina book&f=false



JustTooBig said:
asked this in the Lounge, and was told to repeat my question here:

I'll be in both the areas of Boone and Asheville, NC next week, will have the road bike along with me. Anybody have recommendations for some nice rides? From Boone, can I just get on the Blue Ridge Pkwy east of town and go SW into the Nat'l Forest, or is that heavy w/ traffic?

Input and suggestions welcome and appreciated.
 

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I'll be riding this route later in June. It's 60 miles with about 6,000 feet of climbing, but the grades aren't steep (well, parts of the 1400 foot climb on the return may hit 7%), and there's a nice mix of climbing and descending. You'll want to pause at some of the overlooks, too. It's really scenic. The highest point on the Parkway, Richland Balsam, is on this ride. The Pisgah Inn is at the halfway mark. They have a restaurant and you can get carryout.

Blue Ridge Parkway downhills are great. They usually have wide sweeping turns, and less than 7% grades, so you rarely need to hit your brakes.

There's two tunnels, and one of them either needs lights or walking your bike through, since you can't see the walls or the the road in the dark.

Here's the one-way ridewithgps route note--ridewithgps counts every little elevation change towards the total elevation gain. It can be quite exaggerated.

Photos from last Sept.
Click the Slideshow button. I started half way up the climb to Richland Balsam (at about the 4 mile mark on the route), instead of Pinnacle Ridge.

Or, you could ride in the reverse direction. Start at the Pisgah Inn, and ride up to the highest point on the Parkway, 22 miles, and return. Then the return trip is more downhill than uphill. Just bring enough water, since you won't find any on the Parkway.

The Pisgah Inn to Richland Balsam one way route




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I was thinking about following the top 2/3 of the Assault on Mt Mitchell climb, from where it joins the Parkway, up to the top of Mt Mitchell. But, it's all climbing or descending, with consistent 6-7% grades. I would need to stand up for a lot of the climbs. The road from the Parkway to Mt Mitchell is about 1400 feet in 4.5 miles. There's a restaurant a couple of miles from the top of Mt Mitchell.

The Mt Mitchell route
 

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Last fall a friend and I rode from Fancy Gap, NC (intersection of I77 and Parkway) to Boone on a Mondays and from Boone to Craggy Gardens on Tuesday. The weather was foggy with some light rain for most of the two days. Monday we started about 6:30 and rode into Boone about 2:30. Tuesday about the same times from Boone to Craggy Gardens.

Traffic was very light and I enjoyed it immensely. My wife provided support in a car (she said I was crazy).

We both used Planet SuperFlash taillights and I had a headlight (in flashing mode) for the whole time.

I would say you have to like hills if you expect to enjoy it.

Here are some links to info that I found helpful:

General info; http://www.blueridgeparkway.org/

NPS map; http://www.nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit/upload/blrimap-2.pdf

Route info; http://www.nukefix.org/parkway/#primary
I used the info from this link (it's somewhat complicated) to make a "cheat sheet" that I put on my handlebars so that I could see the upcoming grades, etc.

Have fun!
 

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The Blue Ridge Parkway is great, but you should know a few things about it. It is not particularly wide, without paved shoulders (or narrow ones), and the pavement is not real smooth. Traffic can be worse on weekends, and at any time there will be cars pulling trailers, big recreational vehicles, and packs of loud motorcycles.

The grades are very long but not extremely steep. There are long tunnels that get very dark, and the National Park Service actually requires cyclists to have headlights and tail-lights when riding on the parkway. I don't know how much they enforce that requirement, but I wouldn't want to ride through any of the tunnels without lights.

The parkway is pretty isolated and there are few places to buy food or even get water. Plan to carry at least 2 water bottles, and keep them full if you pass a place to get clean water. There are a few motels and camping areas with shops along the parkway, but you may need to descend off the parkway to get supplies if you really need food or other items. The access roads that cross the parkway are usually very steep, much harder climbs than on the parkway itself.

Finally, portions of the parkway are closed right now for repairs. Check the park service website for details.
 

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tarwheel2 said:
The Blue Ridge Parkway is great, but you should know a few things about it. It is not particularly wide, without paved shoulders (or narrow ones), and the pavement is not real smooth. Traffic can be worse on weekends, and at any time there will be cars pulling trailers, big recreational vehicles, and packs of loud motorcycles.

The grades are very long but not extremely steep. There are long tunnels that get very dark, and the National Park Service actually requires cyclists to have headlights and tail-lights when riding on the parkway. I don't know how much they enforce that requirement, but I wouldn't want to ride through any of the tunnels without lights.

The parkway is pretty isolated and there are few places to buy food or even get water. Plan to carry at least 2 water bottles, and keep them full if you pass a place to get clean water. There are a few motels and camping areas with shops along the parkway, but you may need to descend off the parkway to get supplies if you really need food or other items. The access roads that cross the parkway are usually very steep, much harder climbs than on the parkway itself.

Finally, portions of the parkway are closed right now for repairs. Check the park service website for details.
Thanks for the road closure reminder. Here's the link.. The climb up from Asheville part way up to the Pisgah Inn is closed. See the park service map with mile markers.

On weekdays, I've seen very little traffic, and it's usually well behaved, waiting to pass when there's room. And a lot of the motorcycle riders wave! The speed limit is 45, too. No shoulders at all. I have blinky lights running during the day.
 

· corning my own beef
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
thanks for the great info, guys .... just what I was looking for. Got the blinkies and other lights in the gear bag already.
 

· duh...
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not wide but not bad, and the pavement isn't that bad either... and there is also a speed limit. plenty of touring bikers use it and you'll prob see a few. you won't be there during leaf season so traffic won't be horrendous, prob fairly light. if you want a nice climb drop down shulls mill rd around blowing rock/221/moses cone park/south of boone and climb back up. if you want a really bad rd, but a good climb, take 194 from valle crucis to banner elk. but lots of traffic here. broadstone rd will have lots of local/tourist traffic too, but people ride it. and for an uncharacteristically, completely flat, somewhat scenic, and relatively traffic-free out and back go from fleetwood to todd and back or vice versa. lots of good rides up there, just can't remember 'em all
 
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