Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Now the Nation Knows Our Secret

Transylvania County is home to  miles and miles of biking trails.  Bicyclists come from across the country to ride on our mountain roads or to ride off-road on our many trails.  Pisgah National Forest and DuPont State Forest together have more than 600 miles of trails designated for bicycles.  Add the winding mountain roads, and back roads, the miles seem never ending.  Most of the mountain trails rise quickly with spectacular descents.  Bikers can ride on rocky mountain trails interspersed with sand and slickrock to make for a challenging ride.  While most of the bikers are very experienced, novice bikers can find some easier trails to ride.

[LATE ENTRY:  The original wording paraphrased from a news release indicated that there are "bicycle-only" trails.  A wise reader (thanks Randy) indicated the trails were actually multi-use.  My husband who does volunteer trail work in Pisgah confirms that there are no trails specifically for bicycles.  Bikes are allowed on many of the trails, along with hikers and occasionally horses.]

One of our "Land of the Waterfalls" brochures features bikers with the promise that
"The only pressure out here is in your tires."

Yesterday the January/February issue of Bike Magazine went on sale.  This highly-read issue includes their "bible of bike tests."  Last October Brevard hosted the staff of Bike Magazine as they spent most of the month testing gears and bikes on our roads and mountain biking trails.  The January/February issue features Brevard and surrounding county and proclaims on the cover "Transylvania County: America's best kept secret."

The cover from The Asheville Citizens-Times

Every business in town is eagerly awaiting the result of the spreading knowledge about our bicycle culture.  It certainly will stir interest in those bikers who have never heard of our county and town.  While Brevard citizens are already accustomed to seeing competitive cyclists in our town we are likely to see even more of them this spring.

I have only one little concern about the bikers.  Most of them want to ride the trails in Pisgah National Forest and DuPont State Forest.  What's my concern?  The road from Pisgah to Dupont goes straight up the nine-miles of steep mountain curves from downtown Brevard to my house.  So when I'm going twenty miles/hour behind a bevy of bikers, I simply remind myself that I'm retired and should not be in any hurry.  Going downhill is not usually much of a problem since the really experienced bikers will descend as fast as a car.

As the county business owners prepare for the increase in cyclists, I will prepare as well.  I will try not to have to go downtown on weekends.  I will take my special freezer packs to the grocery store so the foods will stay fresh on my longer drive back up the mountain.  I will try to experience the beauty of the surrounding mountains while I drive at a much-reduced speed.  And I will be part of the culture that welcomes these bikers.  For the most part, the bikers are quite courteous, they do not litter, they respect the land and the trails, they ride single file on the highways.  So I say a big "welcome" to bikers who come to enjoy our mountains.

[NOTE:  The welcome does not extend to those who ride those super-fast and noisy high-speed motocycles, commonly known around here as "crotch rockets."  They take the curves at dangerous speeds often leaning into the oncoming lane.  They pass cars in an unsafe manner, make so much noise they disturb the quiet and drive so fast they never appreciate the beauty around them.  We can do without them, thank you very much.]


Rudee said...

I'm sure the cyclists will appreciate your patience. As for the crotch rockets? I couldn't agree more. They do the same things here in metro Detroit where they whip past us doing more than 70 miles an hour and weave in and out of traffic, or worse, do stupid stunts at high speeds. Frankly, they're a menace.

Taradharma said...

there is a tiny town in northern california, Downieville, that has a huge biking population every spring and summer. Quite an economic boon to the restaurants and hotels. The locals are quite happy to have them there, but if pedestrians are not careful, they will be run down on the road street that runs through down. Almost got myself knocked to the ground once. Then I saw the same biker in the restaurant when I was ordering my take-out burrito. You bet I gave him my two cents worth.

The Bug said...

My dad HATES bicyclists being on the highway - big pet peeve for him. Of course, Catawba County isn't really bicycle friendly (or wasn't when I lived there) - those narrow county roads are too dangerous for most bicyclists.

Xenia is supposed to be the Bicycle Capital of something. We do have a fabulous biking trail that runs for many miles - which means that they don't come into town that much.

Ms. A said...

I remember being on the road at Pisgah and worrying to death that one of the cyclists would wreak and we would run over them. This was many years ago and the roads and bicycles are much better than they were then, and so are the cyclists.

Anonymous said...

My nephew (who went to school for a short time at Warren Wilson) is an avid cyclist. He loved biking in North Carolina and on the mountain roads of Virginia where he lives. It's always a bit of a challenge when bike riders are on the road, particularly when they decide to ride next to each other, but we believe in sharing with the two-wheelers. I always wish the roads were wider and safer for them.

Wayfarin' Stranger said...

I'm past riding bikes on mountain roads, but I cheer those who do. And 'tho I agree with you on "crotch rockets," we are always glad to see the vast majority of motorcyclists. They're good folks. Jim

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

Love the retired headset. We have to remind ourselves of the same thing. We bring ice packs for our groceries when we go up to Greenville.
Enjoy your roadways, cyclists and all.

Randy said...

I am not aware of any Pisgah National Forest Trails that are designated as "solely for bicycles". There are many miles of multi-use trails in the Pisgah - and many trails allow bicycles - some are designated for seasonal bicycle use only. I am reasonably sure that DuPont is the same. When mountain biking - expect to meet hikers, and remember that they have the right of way.

Tipper said...

It'll be interesting to see how much of an increase in cyclists you get : )

Busy Bee Suz said...

The term 'crotch rockets' always makes me giggle. Yes, I am 13!
I am sure the future travelers (bikers) will really enjoy your area and appreciate your patience too!! You do live in one of the most beautiful areas of the's nice to share!

George said...

Now that your secret is out, I'm sure you will see many more bicyclists. Bicyclists around here are very considerate of others on the road and seldom cause a problem. Motorcyclists are another story.

Berts Blog said...

If all bikers are as thought ful as KB then we are ok with sharing our trails with them.

But sometimes we get a little upset when they come up behind us and holler at us to get out of the way.

Sometimes it feels like they think we should not be on the trails. But I guess we feel the same way.

So we will try and be patient like you.

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone. I believe that tolerance of bicycles is a culture. We have so many of them here that we know that they (and the slow old geezers) might be on the road at any time. Therefore we adjust our timing for getting around.

We have had a few bad experiences on the trails. There will always be the occasional rude person who rides recklessly but fortunately most bikers are patient. And there are trails in which bikes are prohibited.

KB said...

Thank you for your great attitude toward us cyclists. So many of us try very very hard to be courteous on the road and the trails...

At the same time, the Runner and I have always joked that we never want our area to appear in an outdoor magazine :) We like our trails empty. I suspect that you have enough trails that there will still be empty ones!!!!

Greg Heil said...

This magazine was targeted solely at mountain bikers, and many mountain bikers, especially when they're traveling to a destination to ride, aren't going to give a second thought to bringing a road bike. In fact, many mountain bikers don't even OWN a road bike.

So I highly doubt that you will experience an increase of bicycle traffic on the highways from this specific magazine issue.