Cycling the Blue Ridge Parkway, May 2014

I have a friend that always went to North Carolina for a week-long cycling trip with friends. She mentioned lots of climbing along the Blue Ridge Parkway. It sounded like a lot of fun.

When I announced that I was moving to North Carolina, my friend put me in touch with her friend that organized the trip. The intent was to hook up and find some cycling in the area.

Instead I ended up joining him, my friend, and several of their friends on their week-long trip in May, shortly after my move to NC. The trip was to take place in Virginia – Lexington and the Hillstown areas.

Even though I didn’t have a lot of cycling miles in my legs, I felt I could do it because of the compact gearing on my bike. What I didn’t realize was that the bike I took actually didn’t have a compact crank but a double instead. No wonder I struggled on some of the climbs! And I only found it out when I went back to Maine for a visit in June and rode a bike I had left behind for The Trek Across Maine. I wondered why the gearing felt so different and realized THAT was the bike with the compact gearing. DUH!

Even with my poor gearing, it was an incredible week cycling on some gorgeous roads. It seemed like every corner was an “oh my gosh” view. Virginia is a wonderful place to bike!

First day pre-ride meeting makes it feel very official.

First day pre-ride meeting makes it feel very official.

Elizabeth and me at Goshen.

Elizabeth and me at Goshen.

Ready for the Vesuvius climb. I want a redo with better gearing!

Ready for the Vesuvius climb. I want a redo with better gearing!

Another great view from The Blue Ridge Parkway.

Another great view from The Blue Ridge Parkway.

Elizabeth and I in front of another great view.

Elizabeth and I in front of another great view.

Mabry Mills, one of the most photographed places along The Blue Ridge Parkway.

Mabry Mills, one of the most photographed places along The Blue Ridge Parkway.

Evening bond fires.

Evening bond fires.

Cows loved to run with us as we biked by.

Cows loved to run with us as we biked by.

The views were amazing!

The views were amazing!

Views from the walk on Vesuvius.

Views from the walk on Vesuvius.

Did I mention some outstanding views?

Did I mention some outstanding views?

One of the many great views from The Blue Ridge Parkway.

One of the many great views from The Blue Ridge Parkway.

Carrying along a small digital camera allowed me to get some great shots of the group in front of me.

Carrying along a small digital camera allowed me to get some great shots of the group in front of me.

Trailing behind but enjoying the views.

Trailing behind but enjoying the views.

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