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Old 12-06-09, 08:00 PM   #1
jppe
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Anyone live relatively close to I-81?

My wife and I just returned from driving up and back in our van and used I-81 from Charlotte to New York City. I was really impressed with how rural it was and keep thinking how there has to be some really great roads to ride on. I know Skyline Dr was not too far off the road in the Pa area.

Of course it snowed several inches Saturday night and the landscape was absolutely beautiful. There was snow from New Jersey all the way to where we got off I-81 onto I-77 in Va. Just gorgeous.
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Old 12-06-09, 08:09 PM   #2
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Jppe, I live in FL and from Albany, NY. We try to get up there each summer to visit Fam. We take I95 to I26 to I77 to I81 to I80 to I87. The I77-I81 is the best part. Would love to ride it some day, but we're always just blowing though.

Never take it in the winter if the weather is threatening. I hate I95, but it tends to me bore rain less snow.
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Old 12-06-09, 08:24 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by bobthib View Post
Jppe, I live in FL and from Albany, NY. We try to get up there each summer to visit Fam. We take I95 to I26 to I77 to I81 to I80 to I87. The I77-I81 is the best part. Would love to ride it some day, but we're always just blowing though.

Never take it in the winter if the weather is threatening. I hate I95, but it tends to me bore rain less snow.
Just wondering why you go that way and not I-84 to I-87. Quite a bit shorter I think.

Last edited by Dan Burkhart; 12-07-09 at 03:47 AM.
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Old 12-06-09, 10:04 PM   #4
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The Skyline Drive is in Shenandoah NP in Va. LOL. You don't get out much do ya? NealH rides a lot in Va. There are several century rides in the Roanoke Valley.
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Old 12-07-09, 07:20 AM   #5
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I grew up in central PA where I-81 runs through. I get back there four or five times a year. There is some excellent riding in the area. Although the level of traffic has increased on some of my old time favorite routes. Just slightly west of I-81 and I-80 intersect there is an area around the Bloomsburg, Benton, Jonestown, Orangeville, Berwick region where they used to run the Columbia County 50. This was my first entry in to road racing. There was one spot in particular, the Jonestown Mountain, that used to simply kill the field. Every year you'd see novice riders getting off to walk the last half of it - I was one such novice my first year. I rode it six more years after that, never walked that section again, and improved my times each year. There's also a pretty active road bike club still active in the area - the Dutch Wheelmen, out of Bloomsburg. Great riding area with ample climbs (none all that long or steep, but they seem to be relentless in their frequency), or if you stay along the rivers, lot of flat riding too. If you want an interesting day of climbing start in Benton, and climb Red Rock Mountain up to lake Jean, it is truly a beautiful spot.
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Old 12-07-09, 11:12 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
I grew up in central PA where I-81 runs through. I get back there four or five times a year. There is some excellent riding in the area. Although the level of traffic has increase on some of my old time favorite routes. Just slightly west of I-81 and I-80 intersect there is an area around the Bloomsburg, Benton, Jonestown, Orangeville, Berwick region where they used to run the Columbia County 50. This was my first entry in to road racing. There was one spot in particular, the Jonestown Mountain, that used to simply kill the field. Every year you'd see novice riders getting off to walk the last half of it - I was one such novice my first year. I rode it six more years after that, never walked that section again, and improved my times each year. There's also a pretty active road bike club sill active in the area - the Dutch Wheelmen, out of Bloomsburg. Great riding area with ample climbs (none all that long or steep, but they seem to be relentless in their frequency), or if you stay along the rivers, lot of flat riding too. If you want an interesting day of climbing start in Benton, and climb Red Rock Mountain up to lake Jean, it is truly a beautiful spot.
Allow me to expand upon your posting a bit.
Earlier in the year we stopped at a roadside rest on I81. Picked up a brochure published by the Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau. What caught my eye was the road bike rider on the cover.

This Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau Guide can be downloaded as a pdf file from the brochures section of their web site.

Brochure titled: "Bike Routes In Columbia And Montour Counties".
a 3.95 mb pdf file. Good maps with descriptions mileage, route directions, etc. A total of 24 pages and a mixture of rail trail rides and road rides. The giude is impressive.
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Old 12-07-09, 11:47 AM   #7
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. . .I-81. . .how there has to be some really great roads to ride. . .
I live within the sound of I-81.
you can hear tire-roar in the wintertime when the leaves are down and the air is cold and clear. . .just north of the Shenandoah Valley. If you don't know, the Gods Themselves have deemed the Virginia area I-81 passes through to be the Very Arch-Type of Heaven In Temperate Zones. [I almost hate to encourage others to come here lest it be ruined with over-use!]

So if we can include mountain biking, there's:

The Massanutten Range [You passed this range between Harrisburg and Strasburg, VA. It was that long mountain off to your east. The George Washington National forest [GeWaNatFo] encompasses most of this Range.] There are hundreds of miles of trails and non-technical fire roads on the GeWa. Within the GeWa is nestled Fort Valley, the valley that time forgot!

There're loads of MD state parks that allow mountain biking. Look up the MD DNS sites.

On the roads. . .

You mentioned Skyline, on the Range to the East of the GeWa. Miss the traffic during the Fall leaf period and it's 'iffy' in the winter but otherwise a civilized [albiet] 'athletic' road.

There're loads of safe lanes in Western Maryland which you can hook into such treats as the C&O Canal, Western Maryland Rail-Trail, and the Great Allegheny Passage. Antietam National Battlefield offers hills and access to loads of long safe roads with [OH, Bliss!] wide paved shoulders. [Write me off-line and I can suggest a safe, fast 50-mile loop in the Washington County, MD area that includes lanes, C&O Canal, cyclist-friendly roads, and 'full-immersion' in Western MD culture! [I was born and raised in Sharpsburg, MD.]]

Way down the road on the border of VA-NC, there's the Virginia Creeper Trail. . .what a rare pleasure that is! You can get a local outfit to take you and your rig to the 'top' of the Creeper and you can blast the 40-miles [+/-] back to Abington. [Aside: I've been on two wheels over 50 years and the Creeper is the sweetest ride I've ever done!] You can also do out-and-back on your own and there're several rental shops in Abingdon and Damascus. Please check this out!.

Stay the HELL out of West Virginia. . .narrow lanes. . .fast traffic. . .ruts/potholes. . .'ambiguous' attitutes towards cyclist. [I'll leave it at that.] Spend your cycling tourist dollars elsewhere, like MD and VA. I love WV, but not for it's attitude towards anyone outside the local cultural norm.
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Old 12-07-09, 09:47 PM   #8
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There's a lot of good bike riding on the Blue Ridge Parkway about 45 miles south from Wytheville VA. For instance, this mapmyride route is 47 miles round trip. It starts from the Cumberland Knob picnic area, has a short climb to a good view overlook, then is fairly flat through woods and farmland. Then it's a 1000 foot climb with a lot of view overlooks up to the cafe in Doughton State Park. You get the 1000 foot downhill on the way back.

Click on the Map Type: Terrain Map and zoom it in to see how the ride runs along the ridge tops.

Here's a slideshow from my ride there last year.

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