Western North Carolina is known as one of the country’s premier road-cycling regions, and for good reason. Plenty of scenic routes, featuring everything from strenuous altitude gains to winding, tree-shaded roads to flat, relaxing riverside rides, await road cyclists. Here are just a few of the scores of road-cycling options available in Asheville and the surrounding areas.
In-town road bike routes around Asheville
If you’re wanting to keep your bike ride flat and in town, Riverside Drive is a quick and easy option. Because this ride covers a lot of the River Arts District, there are plenty of opportunities to turn your trek into a sightseeing jaunt as well. Bonus: You can end your ride at one of the many breweries, restaurants or bars lining the route. If you want to extend your ride even farther, you can take Riverside Drive 11 miles north to Marshall, enjoying beautiful river views and lightly traveled rural roads.
Connected to Riverside Drive is the newly created French Broad River East Bank Corridor bike lane. This two-way, paved bike lane – protected from traffic by concrete barriers – is 10 feet wide and runs next to the greenway along the French Broad River. Its 2 miles stretch south from the intersection of Riverside Drive and Hill Street to the intersection of Lyman Street and Amboy Road.
An in-town ride with more challenge is Elk Mountain Scenic Loop. The 28-mile route begins at the Folk Art Center in east Asheville. An ascent along the Blue Ridge Parkway is followed by more elevation gain on Town Mountain Road. A fast descent takes riders back into the city, before hooking up to the parkway via Elk Mountain Scenic Highway.
Blue Ridge Parkway cycling options in the Asheville area
A pinnacle of road cycling, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a great ride for all levels. With large sections of the parkway around Asheville relatively flat, even beginners can enjoy the famed route.
Two popular end points for an easy out-and-back ride on the parkway are Mount Pisgah (to the south) and Mount Mitchell (to the north). From Asheville, the ride to Mount Pisgah Overlook is about 27 miles one way. The Mount Mitchell route offers 35 miles (one-way) of challenging cycling, ending at the highest peak east of the Mississippi. But novice riders can still drive part of the way up, and ride the rest of the distance to the peak.
Madison County cycling favorites
This scenic area of Western North Carolina, 22 miles north of Asheville, offers many options for road cycling, many of them fairly flat.
Little Ivy Loop is a relatively short and flat ride. It starts and ends in downtown Mars Hill – encompassing 12 miles of quiet country roads as it heads south on Main Street, crossing over I-26, then continuing along Little Ivy Creek.
A slightly more challenging ride is Collegiate Loop, which begins and ends in downtown Marshall. The 24-mile ride takes cyclists south over the Bailey Branch Road bridge, then uphill to the French Broad River before heading back toward Marshall. Marshall offers the perfect ending point, with quaint shops, restaurants and art galleries to explore once the ride is complete.
For more information about real estate near road-cycling spots, or anywhere in Asheville or Western N.C., contact us at Info@MyMosaicRealty.com, or call us anytime at 828-707-9556.
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