Rising temps and blooming trees mean it’s time to pull out the spandex. Tune up your steel steed and get ready to spin your wheels at one of these regional rides.
Bicycle Ride Across Georgia (BRAG) Spring Tune-Up
Madison, Ga. • April 20-22
Cyclists getting ready for the epic weeklong Bicycle Ride Across Georgia in June will congregate for a range of spring training rides, including a fully supported century on Saturday. Choose your distance and pedal flat stretches and rolling hills through Madison’s scenic Antebellum streets.
Boone, N.C. • April 21
Dubbed the Hell of the High Country, the Boone Roubaix is a bike ride you’ll never forget. It starts at the Boone Fairgrounds and takes cyclists through a 79K (50-mile) loop of treacherously steep and winding mountain roads. To make things interesting, the ride mixes in 10 miles of unpredictable unpaved roads, including the infamous slog up the Koppenberg of the High Country, which crushes quads with an incline over 20 percent. The ride’s burly 5,000 feet of climbing means some equally screeching descents—some so technical that organizers bluntly warn, “One guy had his ear ripped off.”
Elizabeth City, N.C. • April 28
Beginners looking to reach the 100-mile mark should clip in for the TarWheel Century. Known as the “world’s flattest century,” the ride takes cyclists on a mellow ride through the historic downtowns of Elizabeth City and Edenton. Pedal through quaint waterside communities, where the Pasquotank River winds its way to the Albemarle Sound, past popping azaleas and dogwoods on a spring ride that’s perfect for increasing your mileage
Wheels for Meals
Greenville, S.C. • April 28
Ride through scenic upstate South Carolina to help fight hunger. Wheels for Meals features four different rides (25, 40, 62, and 100 miles) that depart from Furman University, including a tough century route that travels north into the mountains of western North Carolina, gaining nearly 4,000 feet throughout the ride. At a past event, Tour de France veteran and local resident George Hincapie came out to pedal with the field.
3 State 3 Mountain Challenge
Chattanooga, Tenn. • May 5
Cyclists willing to take on this challenge should be forewarned: the mountains get tougher as the ride goes on. The 3 State 3 Mountain Challenge’s full century features a winding course through rural roads in Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia with hearty ascents over Suck Creek, Sand, and Lookout Mountains. The final major challenge—the 2.3-mile climb of Lookout—crushes riders with a 20-percent grade at the top. Shorter course options of 90, 62, and 25 miles are also offered.
It’s Not Your Grandma’s Century
Hayesville, N.C. • May 19
Destined to become a regional classic, the Southern Appalachian Bicycle Association is set to host the second running of this rugged ride that’s not for the novice cyclist. Both the century and metric century course options cover remote roads of the Nantahala and Chattahoochee National Forests’ wild and scenic topography in southwestern North Carolina and northern Georgia, respectively. It’s a mountain roller coaster with consistent elevation change from start to finish.
Upland Gran Fondo of Louisville
Louisville, Ky. • May 19
Upland Brewing Co. hosts this 100-mile ride to bridge an Italian cycling tradition with craft beer culture. Cyclists will quickly cross the Ohio River and ride into Indiana for a spin around Floyds Knob before crossing back into Kentucky for a lengthy tour of Louisville’s plentiful greenspace, including Iroquois Park and Jefferson Memorial Forest. After the long ride, you can recover at the post-party at Thurman Hutchins Park with live music and plenty of Upland suds like the Dragonfly IPA or Helios Ale.
Storming of Thunder Ridge
Lynchburg, Va. • May 20
Better bring your climbing legs if you want to tackle this epic ride in the Central Virginia stretch of the Blue Ridge. The Storming of Thunder Ridge’s century course features 9,000 feet of climbing, including a relentless 13-mile ascent to the highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. After besting the race’s namesake and tucking in for a technical descent from the Peaks of Otter, the latter part of the course moves through Bedford’s rolling scenic countryside before finishing back in Lynchburg. Shorter course options of 75, 45, and 27 miles are also offered.
Bicycle Ride Across Georgia
Details on this year’s route have yet to be announced, but last year cyclists traveled across the Peach State from Atlanta to Savannah.
June 22 – June 27
Bike Virginia starts in the quaint Shenandoah Valley town of Berryville and includes five days of riding around the Commonwealth and parts of West Virginia, including stints near Charles Town, Harper’s Ferry, and Shepherdstown.
Bicycle Ride Across Tennessee
Pedal for seven days from Cumberland Mountain State Park in Crossville through some of Tennessee’s most scenic terrain. The ride includes overnight camping stops at Standing Stone, Pickett, and Harrison Bay State Parks