Does your bike have a permanent place on the top of your car or hitched on your bumper? Are your vacation destinations selected by the quality of riding? If given a choice between leaving your spouse at home or leaving your bike behind – well, there’s really no choice to be made?
Take a hard look at the Greenbrier Valley for your next exploratory weekend getaway. After all, with so many riding options, there’s no reason to leave home without either of your best companions.
You’ll find a good starting point is just off Interstate 64 at exit 169, Lewisburg, WV. There are numerous options to rest your head, laid-back eateries for a sit-down bite to eat and informed folks with plenty of knowledge about the area.
With more than one way to enjoy a bike ride in these mountains, options run the gamut from road and recreational jaunts to mountain bike and downhill rides.
For starters, check out the Greenbrier River Trail. It’s a gravel-packed, rails-to-trails that loosely follows the Greenbrier River for 78 miles. Its easy, one-percent grade is suitable for any age or skill level. Depending on agenda and ambition, your time in the saddle can be an hour or two or extended to a multi-day, overnight trek. To make your excursion even more of an adventure, plan a few stops along the trail. There are picnic sites, swimming and fishing holes, even established campsites with rustic facilities and potable water.
Another easy-to-access trail system is located in the Greenbrier State Forest. There are 16 miles of single-track trails that wind through 5,000 acres of forested parklands. Trails range from beginner-style mountain bike loops to full-throttle, downhill descents equipped with natural, gravity features and machine-built berms and tabletops.
If you’re in town on any given Thursday at 5:30 pm – April through September – join the mountain bike group ride that meets at the Greenbrier State Forest main picnic area. Organized by Stu Schwab, owner of downtown Lewisburg’s Appalachian Bicycle Company, it’s a chance to learn the trails from some of the area’s local mountain bikers and dedicated trail builders.
For those who prefer hardtop, the Greenbrier Valley’s mountainous terrain features mile-upon-mile of low-traffic, country road options. Most are mid-range climbs that max out around 3,000 feet and roll across pasture lands, through hardwood forests, over streams and creeks and by the occasional roadside township.
Road riders with a hybrid-style bike will appreciate the 22-mile loop over Kate’s Mountain. It’s a mixed-surface option – pavement and hard-pack gravel -- that tops out at 3200-feet. It’s a beast of a mountain but so worth it for the spectacular view.
Before hitting the trail, drop in on Stu at Appalachian Bicycle Company. Not only does he stock those last-minute necessities needed to keep your bike rolling, he is a wealth of knowledge about the area. When he recommends a ride, it’s tailored just for you… maps included.
RESOURCES – Depending on your bike-related needs, you’ll find the local service is knowledgeable and friendly.
EATERIES – Short-list of local eateries for fueling up before you go or refueling after your ride.