Since our last tour in the summer of 2017, we moved to Reno, Nevada, and I started a business making custom steel bicycle frames. Going on a tour hasn’t been a priority. But there’s only so much time that can elapse before I start getting antsy. And after our first long winter in Reno, I could think of nothing better than to ride bikes and go camping.
We chose to ride the Blue Ridge Parkway for many reasons:
- The Parkway’s 469 miles is a good distance for a roughly two-week trip.
- We have friends who can join us for half of the trip.
- The same friends live near the start of the Parkway.
- Cyclists report that the Parkway makes for excellent riding.
- We’ve never been to Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia.
While all of those reasons made it easy to decide to ride the Parkway, there’s one big reason why it’s a bad idea: all of the climbing. This route averages 102 feet of elevation gain per mile. By comparison, the notoriously hilly Sierra Cascades route we rode in 2017 averages 61 feet of elevation gain per mile. My legs are quivering just thinking of all of that climbing.
If we were wise, we’d have planned to ride the Parkway on lightweight road bikes, stopping at B&Bs along the way. Instead, we’re hauling our camping and cooking gear on stout touring bikes. You can find our pack list here.