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Blue Ridge Parkway

Old 04-06-09, 09:20 AM
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Blue Ridge Parkway

I have posted in a few places but have received little feedback. I am in the early stages of considering thinking about a couple of weeks touring the BRP this summer. My hope is to find a few people to join me in what has to be one of the most amazing rides in the country. I live in Central Florida and am suffering from a severe overdose of flat, salty and sandy. My plan is to camp one or two nights and then motel it one night. That ratio may change a few days into the ride. I am 55 but ride a bit faster than you would expect from an old(ish) fart; However I don't plan on setting much in the way of daily goals except to have a really good time, see a lot of amazing sights and hopefully not get eaten by any bears.

Anyone that thinks that they might consider joining me on this unforgettable ride please get in touch. I am at tgil7@msn.com. Thanks Tony
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Old 04-06-09, 02:50 PM
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Forgot to mention

And don't know if it matters but I'll be riding my Trice Q trike. I know some of you wedgie riders wouldn't be caught dead riding with the likes of me.
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Old 04-07-09, 12:22 PM
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I don't know if you've had experience riding in the mountains, so I will just add a quick note to serve as information and as a bump for your thread. I rode parts of the BRP last year and the first two days were difficult for me. When facing an incline, I'd ride a mile or so and have to rest to lower my heart rate. I wondered whether I could complete the rest of the trip. However, I found that by the 5th day of riding I was much, much stronger and disappointed my trip ended because of the excellent exercise and scenery. In fact, I just returned from hiking off the BRP this weekend and experienced the same thing -- first day my body ached and heart pounded, last day I was disappointed not to have similar mountains to hike for beauty and exercise on a daily basis.

If you don't find anyone to ride with you, you will nevertheless see other riders regularly on the parkway (of course that does not address companionship after the rides each evening). Which month is your trip?
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Old 04-07-09, 06:08 PM
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I've been touring in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and I found the hills to be difficult, but I was carrying about 50lbs of weight, and I only had a double chain ring. Sometimes, there were about 15-20 miles of uphill with only 1-2 miles of downhill. But, on the other hand, I would fly down the downhills.
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Old 04-07-09, 06:48 PM
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For the BRP, OP should be aware that:
1. you spend 90% of the time climbing (5mph up, 35mph down)

2. nearly all food/lodging services are way down the mtn, then back up - in some areas the detour could take an entire day - in some only an hour

3. camping areas are not ideally spaced for touring and "wild" camping is prohibited and enforced by fines - Parkway Police love their jobs

4. best weather/view are afforded in the fall, which is also most hazardous time for touring due to hordes of motorists taking in the fall foilage colors - other times its cold, rain, and almost always hazy with limited/poor views.

5. roads are narrow with no shoulder in most places - although there is usually a nice grassy berm for crashing.

The Parkway is really pretty, but probably is not the best place for a bike tour.

I hope you're aware of the grades/climbing involved, especially from the east side - some are steep.

here's an altitude/mileage analysis by another tourist:

https://www.nukefix.org/parkway/
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Old 04-10-09, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by seeker333
For the BRP, OP should be aware that:

4. best weather/view are afforded in the fall, which is also most hazardous time for touring due to hordes of motorists taking in the fall foilage colors - other times its cold, rain, and almost always hazy with limited/poor views.

5. roads are narrow with no shoulder in most places - although there is usually a nice grassy berm for crashing.

The Parkway is really pretty, but probably is not the best place for a bike tour.
I agree the BPR has no shoulders and that fall bicycling on the BRP is dangerous -- simply too many autos on the parkway -- but disagree with the rest.

Winter, spring and summers on the parkway are very nice with good views, even on hazy days. Rainy days views are limited. The BPR is one of the better roads to tour--outside fall foliage time--because commercial trucks are not allowed, speed limit is 45, most drivers are there for recreation and are in less hurry than on other roads, and many bicyclists frequent the parkway (e.g., this past weekend I drove a 9 mile stretch and saw 15+ bicyclists).

As seeker noted, however, camping/lodging facilities are not ideally situated for bicycle touring. However, with national campgrounds here and there, and with wild camping at certain spots (especially along national forests), it is very doable. A number of tours are reported on the crazyguy site.
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