Beginners looking for help finding trails or greenways
My wife and I are just starting to ride together. I have experience but she doesn't. I would like help finding beginner trails or greenways that we can ride together. Prefer to stay on pavement or smooth trails for now, until she gets some experience. Wife had brain surgery 7 years ago and worries about falling down and getting hurt. So that is why we are working into this gradually. We both like the outdoors though and have hiked in the past. I am looking for senic rides in western N.C., eastern Tennessee, northeast GA, or maybe central N.C. Are there any rides in the mountains that you catch a hauled up the mountain and coast or easy ride back down?
The Virginia Creeper Trail is great. It's in the extreme western part of Virginia, near Tennessee. I start in Damascus, VA and ride up to the top, 16 miles and 1500 feet up. To ride up, you have to be in shape, but low gears will get you there, since most of it is only 100 feet gain per mile ( slightly steeper near the top). The trail surface is fine gravel. It follows a mountain stream, lots of scenic spots--bridges, white water, rhododendrons, etc. I hear it gets crowded on weekends in the summer, but weekdays are not busy at all.
If that's too hard, you can rent bikes or bring your own and have a shuttle take you to the top. From there, you can practically coast all the way down--only a few level sections require any pedaling.
The other half of the trail is from Damascus to Abingdon VA, it's not nearly as steep. I always do the mountain half, so I don't know much about that section.
If you are in the TN area you could give cade's cove a try. It is an 11 mile scenic loop nestled at the bottom of the Smoky Mts. It is paved, but there are a few rough areas with some potholes here and there. I would suggest riding the loop (if possible) on either a Wed or Sat before 10 am. The park is closed to all motor vehicles on these days from sunrise until that time, and the only thing you have to watch out for is other cyclists and wildlife (I had to stop for a deer while riding last time). Good luck and enjoy your riding!
In central NC, definitely ride the American Tobacco Trail (23 miles long). If you're going, contact me about more information, because there's a work-around to get over I-40 safely (until they build the bridge next year). And to the north, the ATT connects to the North-South Durham Greenway (another 10 miles or so). The N-S Greenway and ATT are paved trail/greenway north of I-40, the ATT is currently packed clay (mostly), south of I-40. If you just want paved trails it's still 30-35 miles roundtrip, we try to do it every Saturday morning, so join us!