Things to Consider When Riding Outside of Asheville NC
Once you start to ride out of Asheville in any direction except along the river, you need to be ready for some serious climbing and, even along the river, you need to be comfortable riding in traffic. You should also carry water - climbing is thirsty work - and be prepared for some common bike problems like flat tires. Lots of folks ride into the mountains with inadequate supplies and no knowledge of how to repair a flat tire. It isn't a big deal to carry water bottle(s), a pump, tire tools, and a patch kit. If you don't know how to do simple things, like fixing a flat tire, ask your bike store if they offer classes in basic bike maintenance and repair. Once your rides get longer than 20 or 30 miles, you should plan on carrying food or stopping to buy it. Note that there are very few places to buy food on the Parkway and the nicest rides in the mountains are on back roads with few services. Carrying the food and water you need is the only sure way to avoid dehydration or boinking!
My route descriptions here assume that you have a decent map and look up the roads before you try to ride them. Google Maps is also good for checking out these routes. Many of them are discussed, with images and more detail in my web pages, but I'm not providing cue sheets. It is up to you to understand the routes and to prepare yourself and your bike for riding them. Riding safely in the mountains requires both bike and rider to be in good condition. A tire blowout or a brake failure is far more dangerous in the mountains than when riding on flat land! A broken down bike in town may require a phone call for help. A broken down bike in the mountains can require a very long walk to get help. Been there, done that: I pushed my bike for 14 miles in the dark once, because I only had one patch for two holes and my spare tube was bad. Don't count on your cell phone. It probably won't be able to connect.