Transylvania is a top destination for cyclists and mountain bikers from across the country who come here to experience the county’s hundreds of miles of trails, scenic byways, lung-busting climbs and exhilarating descents. In fact, the biking opportunities are so good in the county that professional athletes train here, companies test their products here, and Brevard College has a cycling team that keeps winning national championships. The Transylvania Times publishes a magazine, “Bike Transylvania,” and website, www.biketransylvania.com, which provides an in-depth look at the local cycling scene. Free copies of the 2019 edition may be picked up at the newspaper’s office on North Broad Street in Brevard, the Visitors Center on East Main Street in Brevard, the Pisgah District Ranger Station Visitors Center in Pisgah National Forest, local bike shops and other locations. Mountain bikers are really spoiled for choices in the county, thanks to two major public lands, Pisgah National Forest and DuPont State Recreational Forest. There are 180 miles of trails in the Pisgah District of Pisgah National Forest, alone. Two rides, Sycamore Cove (4.7 miles) and Thrift Cove (4.5 miles), begin at the Ranger Station and Visitors Center. At the Pisgah Forest Fish Hatchery, tougher rides may be accessed, while the really serious riders should try those near FS 477 off U.S. 276. Bennett Gap and Black Mountain trails are some of the most popular mountain bike trails on the East Coast. They begin with long gravel road climbs but end in thrilling single track littered with drops, rocks and rooty switchbacks. For more information about biking in Pisgah, stop by the Visitors Center on U.S. 276 or call (828) 877-3265. DuPont State Recreational Forest in Cedar Mountain has 82 miles of forest roads and trails that are open to mountain biking. While Pisgah is known for its challenging single-track trails, DuPont offers trails that are accessible to a wide variety of skill levels. Classic loops like Ridgeline Trail can be accessed from the Lake Imaging parking lot, while the trails with vistas, like Big Rock, can be accessed from the Corn Mill Shoals parking lot. The forest office may be reached at (828) 877-6527 or go to www.ncforestservice.gov/contacts/dsf.htm or www.dupontforest.com for more information. A third local parkland, Gorges State Park, located in the southern part of Transylvania County off N.C. 281, allows mountain bikes on the 12-mile round-trip Auger Hole Trail from the Frozen Creek Access to Turkey Pen Gap on the park’s western boundary. For more information about Gorges, call (828) 966-9099 or go to www.ncparks.gov/gorges-state-park. For road cyclists, there are endless miles of (Continued on pg. 50) two-lane country roads that wind from the picturesque French Broad River valley to the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains. For those who prefer the solitude and challenge of gravel riding, the gravel roads that crisscross the county’s forest lands can have you grinding through breathtaking scenery for hours. Brevard is also home to a popular multi-use path. It currently extends from Allison Road to Lowe’s, a distance of 3.5 miles. At Lowe’s, the multi-use path heads into Pisgah National Forest, where it turns to gravel, taking riders into the heart of the forest and the many trails open to mountain bikers. Some 6 miles of trails are also open to mountain bikes on the city’s Bracken Mountain property, which sits above downtown Brevard adjacent to the Brevard Music Center. One trail is a 4-mile loop around the mountain. A 2-mile trail connects the Bracken Mountain Trail with Forest Road 475C. This allows mountain bikers to travel on to the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education in Pisgah National Forest. Biketransylvania.com is a fantastic resource for learning more about cycling opportunities and recommended routes, but there’s also no substitution for speaking with one of the professionals at the local bike shops, all of whom will be happy to point you in the right direction: Squatch Bikes & Brews at the Brevard Lumber Yard on King Street (828-877-2453 or go to www.squatchbikes.com); Sycamore Cycles at 112 New Hendersonville Highway (828-877-5790 or go to www.sycamore cycles.com); and The Hub and Pisgah Tavern at 72 U.S. 276 (828-884-8670 or go to www.thehubpisgah.com). For more information about all local activities, go to www.transylvaniaexplorer.com.