Epic climbs and scenic views: bike the high country

It’s my favorite time of year, there’s no doubt about it. Last Friday was the summer solstice, and I spent the evening relaxing on our rooftop lounge, soaking up the light with both old and new friends alike. On my way into work on Saturday morning, I drove past a group of people setting up a station filled with water, bananas, and snacks. It had to be either cyclists or runners; some kind of race was happening. After a little bit of googling, I realized it was Blood Sweat and Gears, one of the high country’s premier cycling events featuring epic climbs and scenic views. That got me thinking: there are so many beautiful bike routes and races up here. Whether you’re planning on racing or just doing some casual riding, consider planning a trip to Boone so you can bike the high country! 

 

Gear up: locally owned bike shops in Boone, NC

Magic Cycles

Magic Cycles is located in downtown Boone, just around the corner from The Horton Hotel & Rooftop Lounge. This shop offers a little bit of everything. From mountain bike rentals to bike repairs and maintenance, they can set you up for success before you bike the high country . They also have a great hand-picked selection of cycling gear. They’ve been open since 1993, and their main goal is to expand the cycling community of Boone and surrounding areas. 

Boone Bike & Touring

Boone Bike is located just a few minutes down the road from The Horton Hotel & Rooftop Lounge. They offer a great selection of gear, bike rentals, and maintenance. They’ve been providing passionate and knowledgeable service to our community for 40 years. They do an excellent job helping you choose the perfect bike (and experience) for you! 

Best road bike routes in the area 

Relaxed Riding 

Check out the Town of Boone Greenway Trail. Located right in the heart of town, these trails are perfect for casual riding. When I was first learning to clip in to my bike pedals, I made sure to take my bike out to the Greenway before hitting the main roads. Not only is it the perfect place for relaxed riding, but it’s also beautiful. You’ll enjoy cruising past picturesque sections of the South Fork of the New River. If you’re riding a hybrid or a mountain bike, I recommend veering off onto the gravel sections of the trail system. For more relaxed riding, considering heading just a little bit outside of Boone to Todd, NC. 

Intermediate Riding 

Many locals enjoy riding in Sugar Grove. Just a quick eleven minute drive from the hotel, you’ll find yourself at the old Cove Creek School. From there, you can ride several different loops. Enjoy river views, historic farmland, and wildflowers galore as you wind through the backroads of Sugar Grove. This community borders the other small farm communities of Zionville, Vilas, and Mabel. Many of the backroads in these areas offer similar scenic loops. Another thing I love about this area is that it offers choice. You can choose to make your ride challenging, or you can opt for a relaxing ride. 

Expert Riding 

If you’re an expert rider who’s comfortable on the road, the Blue Ridge Parkway is an absolute must. By far, the Parkway offers the most beautiful riding in the area. There are endless routes you can ride filled with steep climbs, fast descents, and surreal views. There are no bike lanes on the Parkway, so ride with caution. Generally speaking, the Parkway has quite a bit of traffic, so ensure you’re wearing protective gear and have safety lights in place on your bike – a good rule of thumb in general, but do take extra precautions on the Parkway! 

 

Cycling events in and around Boone NC 

Blood, Sweat, & Gears 

Boone Gran Fondo

Cowbelle Classic 

Cycle North Carolina “Mountains to the Coast”

Cyclocross: Boone-town throw down

Boone Cyclo. Via

 

Enjoy the ride

Want more detailed information about routes and events? Consider reaching out to Boone Bike and Magic Cycles for advice. They’ll leave you feeling confident and ready to ride. Consider making us your home base the next time you plan to bike the high country! And in the meantime, stay in the loop by clicking here to join our mailing list.

 

Author: Megan Biddix

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