Recumbent - 'bent on Skyline Drive or BRP?
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08-10-03, 08:04 PM
Anyone here ever tour with a 'bent on the Skyline Drive or Blue Ridge Parkway? Have any tips? What were you riding?
08-10-03, 08:33 PM
I did that back in the 80's on a mtb. Did Skyline drive one year then BRP another. It's ALL uphill.
Takes hours to climb up and just minutes to descend. Hardly fair. We did a combination of
stealth and campground. I'd probably try it again on my trike due to the stability while in low
gears. The grades aren't all that serious unless you get off the Parkway. They are just sometimes
really long. The upright bike has an advantage in that you can get out of the saddle and pretend
you are on a stairstepper. For me that's a relaxing changeup.
I concur. My one experience through Shenandoah park when I was in fabulous condition and carrying about 20# duffle was similar. You go up the hills at 4.5 to 7mph and they are o.5 to 3mi long, occasionally upto 5mil. The hills never end. The ratio of up speed (5-7mph) to down speed (28-40mph) is such that the downs 'disappear' and the ups are the only thing you remember. Another thing is that there are very few amenities on the SD or BRP. Almost no stores, infrequent water stops, almost no place to stay. Scenery and (relatively) low traffic is the attraction. Aid and sustenance means a 5-10mi nice downhill ride to the towns in the valleys on either side followed a long slog back up. If you do say 50miles, then you can look forward to 25-30miles of this uphill, at 6mph that will be 5-6hrs, with an additional hour riding downhill. If you are semi or loaded you can add 1-3hrs to this, all uphill. Steve
One other thing, depending on time of year and traffic volume is something I noticed in the Smokies, where I go every April, is 1) eau de brakepads; many drivers don't know about gearing down and motor braking so they ride their brakes and the stench is bad 2) Hawgs, the motorcyclists love these roads and ride in groups of 3-4 upto 40-50. The noise and eau de unburned gas can be a problem on long uphills. You are slogging away at 5mph when 15 HD go blatting by leaving you to breathe their exhaust. I have done Cherohala Skyway 3x and the motorcycles are a definite low point. Steve
08-11-03, 07:35 AM
Last year I rode the Skyline Trail plus a small portion of the Blue Ridge also with four other fellow club riders from Nova Scotia.
I rode it with a loaded (30kg) Challenge Distance using a Bob trailer. We went in September, our fall, but it was still warm there at 25C, not much traffic either as the leaves don't change there until at least late October.
The intial climb is a long exhausting haul that took me the better part of a day 7am to 8:30pm (90km) before reaching first campground site on the trail. The hill is about 7-8% grade, not real steep but long.There is another camp ground sooner but you have to decend the trail to get to it and than look to a long haul back up again the next day.
I had a "mega ring (32 tooth)" especially installed on the rear cluster that enabled me to ascend the hills, couldn't have done it other wise. I did clock a really stupid decent off the trail of 82km/hr, be sure your brakes are in really good condition.Watch out for bears, and especially deer along trail.
After the trail we came back through the Shenadoah valley back to the W&O trail which is a nice easy ride along a dirt wooded trail back to Washinton DC. The whole ride was 1030 km in 13 days.
The only other cyclists we came across were "roadees" doing hill training, I saw one guy who does the first hill 3 times on one day. I understand the US Postal team uses the trail as a training ground.
Good luck on your jouney.
Ah yes... that first hill at the northern end of the SD: 7miles up as I recall, not particularly steep but unrelenting. On the other hand the Cherohala on the
NC side is 17mi up, with 1mi down in the middle. Grades of 5% alternating with 500-1000 yd sections of 8-9%. Steve
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