No matter what you ride, you won’t believe what Transylvania has to offer. You want rooty, rocky, teeth-jarring technical singletrack? We’ve got miles of that. How about hair-raising mountain road descents? Not a problem. Lung-busting gravel grinds that never seem to end? Yep, got those too. You like 360 panos while you glide along the parkway? Got ‘em. Or maybe you prefer fast, fun flowy trails that will have you grinning from ear to ear and dying for more. Oh yeah, we’ve got tons of that stuff.
Simply put, no matter what kind of bike you ride, Transylvania offers you some of the greatest riding you’ll find anywhere in the country, and a temperate climate where you can ride most of the year. That’s why athletes train here, companies test products here, and our college has a cycling team that keeps winning national championships. And it’s why, year after year, more and more cycling enthusiasts make Transylvania County a must-visit destination.
Transylvania has been home to a dedicated crew of riders for years, but it began to gain more national attention back in 2011, when BIKE Magazine came here to test the latest bikes and equipment for their annual gear guide, “The Bible of Bike Tests.” The magazine’s staff praised not just the diverse trails of Pisgah and DuPont, but also the bike-friendly vibe that Transylvania County has cultivated.
“We came to Brevard with an inkling that the trails were good,” said its editor, “but we underestimated them.” He went on to say that the team spent two weeks riding trails that “absolutely blew our minds,” and the magazine declared Transylvania County “America’s best kept secret.”
A couple of years later, the popular blog Singletracks added Brevard to its Top Ten Mountain Bike Destinations in North America, along with locations such as Moab, Utah and Whistler, British Columbia. That same year, the city of Brevard opened the Bracken Mountain Recreation Area, featuring 7.1 miles of hiking and biking trails that connect Brevard directly to Pisgah National Forest. Two years later, Trek Bicycles came here to test its new mountain bikes, attracting about 30 journalists and editors from around the world who praised the incredible riding in Transylvania.
That same year, the folks at The Bike Farm brought the Red Bull Dreamline to the Oskar Blues REEB Ranch. The two-day BMX dirt jump event brought in some of the best riders in the world to compete on a course designed and built specifically for them. The course, while toned down a little, is now the REEB Ranch bike park. There are kid zones, big hits and everything in between.
The county has also seen incredible growth in the road cycling scene. The Assault on the Carolinas road ride in the spring is capped at 1,000 riders and sells out every year. The spectacle of 1,000 riders pedaling through downtown Brevard is a sight not to be missed, as riders embark on a grueling 100K that takes them into South Carolina and back over Caesars Head. The charitable event raises funds for the Rotary Club of Pisgah Forest, which supports numerous local charities. The WNC Flyer, hosted by the Blue Ridge Bicycle Club, is another 1,000-rider sell-out event that starts at Brevard’s Oskar Blues Brewery. The ride takes cyclists throughout the French Broad River valley and raises money to support and promote cycling in the region.
In 2016, Cycle NC returned to Brevard for its third annual Mountain Ride, a two-day cycling festival that was hosted by Brevard College. The Transylvania Tourism Development Authority recently released a new road cycling map to help riders discover our spectacular mountain roads. There’s also an ongoing effort to convert the unused railroad between Brevard and Hendersonville into the Ecusta Trail, a proposed 18-mile multi-use path. And every year, Transylvania is home to some of the greatest mountain biking events in the region: The Pisgah Stage Race, Pisgah Mountain Bike Adventure Race and the Swank 65, just to name a few.
In fact, every weekend there seems to be a ride, a race or trail work being organized, and every year it just keeps getting better. There’s a thriving cycling-centered community, with group rides almost every day of the week, and three bike shops to keep your wheels turning. There’s also a great local beer scene, and restaurants that can hook you up with everything from sushi to barbecue.
Sound too good to be true? It’s not. It’s Transylvania, a truly one-of-a-kind place that is a dream destination for bikers. If you want to know more, there’s a ton of information in this magazine, but it doesn’t begin to tell the whole story. Be sure to stop by the local bike shops and visit these tourism-oriented websites: www.explorebrevard.com; www.biketransylvania.com and www.transylvaniaexplorer.com.