favorite bike rides
Get an Insider's View of the Area Landscape
Fall is an ideal time to tour Western North Carolina by bicycle because the temperatures are cooler and the air is less humid. We asked local biking expert Claudia Nix of Liberty Bikes, a Top 100 Bicycle Dealer in the U.S. since 1994, to provide you some tips on the best rides in the area.
For the inexperienced, Claudia suggests that greenways are a great option. Asheville has several including one located along the French Broad River, near the intersection of the Swannanoa River and the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Beginners can also develop riding skills at Asheville Mellowdrome at Carrier Park.
Claudia suggests bikers consider staying off the Blue Ridge Parkway on weekends during leaf season due to the influx of leaf peepers and other bikers. There are many trails off of the main drag of the Parkway that are less crowded and allow for a more enjoyable trek. So where are some of the area's other great rides? Take a look.
- Fall ride with incredible scenery: Jack’s Creek in Yancey County, near Burnsville, is a relatively flat ride with a short, steep hill in the community of Relief. The countryside and color can be amazing if your timing is right. Old tobacco barns, suspension bridges and tiny churches are some of the sites. It is just over 37 miles long crossing a small ridge at the beginning and end, but mostly following the Cane River and North Toe River. From downtown Asheville, it will take about an hour to get to the starting point. Burnsville is a higher elevation so expect the mornings to be 8-10 degrees cooler.
- Scenic views: Kris Krossing Jupiter and its Reverse are great rides of just over 31 miles with long grades and spectacular views of area mountains. Both of these rides begin from Ledges Riverside Park on Hwy 251 north of Asheville.
- Rural riding: Henderson County offers a variety for challenging the seasoned rider and those with less endurance. From the Ingles supermarket parking lot in Etowah, riders can access rides from the 23.6 mile Not So Hard River Ramble Lite to the Jeter Mountain Metric Century.
- Ride through orchards: The Fletcher Community Park on Howard Gap Road is the starting point for group rides. Some rides require traveling on Hendersonville Hwy for short distances to incorporate loops through apple orchards or rural farm lands. Favorite rides include the Fruitland Applesauce and Fletcher Lite.
- Worth the work: Claudia celebrates her birthday each year by riding from Flat Rock for a 25.7 mile ride through the Greenville Watershed off old Hwy 25 into Saluda. Grab a snack at one of the restaurants or bakery and then head back up Hwy 176 to Flat Rock. While it’s a little hilly, riding through the watershed is always worth the work.
Insider’s Tip: The Blue Ridge Bicycle Club Web site is a wonderful tool for finding rides. This local bike club has invested a lot of money to provide free cue sheets for road riders. Rides are catalogued by county or area, ride name, starting point, mileage, turn mileage, total ascent, average gain per mile and the effort index.