Road Cycling Rides in Asheville - North, South, East, and West
There are few flat places to ride, but, in each part of Asheville, east, west, north, and south, of Asheville there are some decent short rides that are relatively easy and, just as important, relatively traffic free. These rides require little in the way of preparation.
In south Asheville, you can ride through Biltmore Forest. Use Vanderbilt Dr, near the All Souls church to enter Biltmore forest from the north. It is about four miles to the Blue Ridge Parkway following Vanderbilt Dr and then Stuyvesant Dr through the manicured streets of Biltmore Village. This route has very little traffic and gentle hills. At the south end, Stuyvesant Dr connects with the access road from US 25 to the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is also the best route to get to the Parkway going south from Asheville toward Mt Pisgah.
In east Asheville, Azalea Rd, which starts by Asheville's Rec Park on Swannonoa River Rd and runs to US 70 near Lower Grassy Branch Rd, is a great gentle ride and, like the ride through Biltmore Forest, is a useful way of starting longer rides. Lower Grassy Branch connects to Old Farm School Rd, which is the nice way to ride Warren Wilson College. From Warren Wilson you can ride Bee Tree Rd and then Old US 70, into Black Mountain. From Black Mountain you can ride south on NC 9 or east on old 70 and Mill Creek - a good dirt road - to 70 down by Old Fort.
In west and north Asheville it is hard to find flat rides. Riding north along the river, starting from one of the parks on the river is the easiest riding, but I won't ride there during the day because of the truck traffic. Riding along the river in the other direction, going south from Broadway is easy riding but not that pretty. However, this is a very useful route for riding between north and south Asheville and, if you cross the river on the Craven St bridge and ride up Waynesville Rd, a good way for riding to west Asheville.
In the west part of town, riding on Sulphur Springs Rd starting from Haywood St and heading west into the Malvern Hills area is very nice, but moderately hilly.
In the north, riding on Sunset Dr starting from Old Toll Rd, is gentle and quite pretty, but the other end, where Sunset has become North Griffing Blvd, gets quite steep. If you are in good enough shape to ride up the bottom part of Old Toll Rd, there is a very nice loop made by Old Toll, Sunset, North Griffing, Country Club, and Grovewood Rd. You cut through the Grove Park Inn parking lot to get to Macon which, very shortly, becomes Old Toll. This is a spectacular ride, and there is some challenging climbing involved.
Asheville Mellowdrome Bicycle Track
Carrier Park at Amboy Road boasts Western North Carolina's velodrome. Once the home track of some of NASCAR's best, including Lee Petty and his sons, the one-third mile oval track has been converted into a 500 meter cycling track. With the support of Asheville Parks and Recreation Department, the cycling community has made the Mellowdrome a vital part of the local racing scene.
Asheville, NC has what is best described as a training velodrome. Fondly dubbed by Dr. Jim McMillan the Mellowdrome, the 500m asphalt oval is a freshly paved, gently banked (4 to 8 degrees), retired motor speedway that is now part of the Asheville City Parks and Recreation Department. The track is asymmetrical in shape with each corner having a different radius and degree of bank, however the track is striped and marked as a velodrome. Access to the infield is controlled by a pedestrian bridge that crosses over the track. For the last seven years, a summer race series has been conducted weekly, featuring both fixed gear omnium fields and a card of points races for road bikes. In addition to the race series, a Saturday morning training session is conducted at the facility with focus on familiarization with track rules and etiquette. During the winter, the Saturday program continues, even in the coldest months.
Visit the Asheville Mellowdrome Website.