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My Parkway Thru-Ride: It’s Not About the Bike

Cycling the Blue Ridge Parkway: Victory

On our webpage, we have posted short videos of each day of cycling. Enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Blue Ridge mountains, get a glimpse of our route and stages, and feel the excitement and exhaustion that a ride like and end-to-end ride of the Blue Ridge Parkway brings with it.

Imagine yourself going along the road – and out of the blue there is white-tailed deer next to you, grazing in peace, her small one biting oak nuts right behind her. You freeze. All you can think of is wishing these graceful creature ‘Bon Appetit’. They just continue on, realizing, yet not at all minding, your presence. This is exactly what happened to us in the morning fog of Grandfather Mountain. What a mysterious setting! What an astounding meeting!

By the way, this was just one instance of many, that we got to enjoy viewing deer. Be it lonesome bucks, stags with royal crowns, or mothers with several young ones following her – be it stagnant face-offs, easy strolling ones, or leaping jumps of several yards distance, we cherished encountering every single deer on our way.

Besides deer and many many other land and air animals, there are (obviously) other human nature lovers around. Bikers and car drivers frequently asked us about our ride and cause. Joyce, a lady from Maryland, on a bus tour through the Blue Ridge Mountains, even gave us a warm, motherly hug. Once on a lunch time Overlook, a Californian cyclist called Ryan came up the mountain with his trailer, prepared for another few days in the wild. We also met Connor and Gaelan from London, Ontario, who were on their bicycling trip all the way to Georgia, staying overnight in welcoming churches and in touch with the rest of the world via free WiFi-Spots of well-known fast-food restaurants. It is fun to get a feeling of community on the Blue Ridge Parkway and meet great people, hear great stories, and fill up on great inspirations!

Emotionally, this end-to-end adventure was a roller-coaster ride. During the first days, when my legs were fresh and strong, it was a breeze. Coming out of day 3, the longest of our stages, I thought: “is that right – another day of cycling before rest day? Will the rest day be long enough to recuperate from the strenuous profile?” An hour in the hot tub of Hot Springs Spa in Hot Springs, NC, helped! Another two days later – my energy level equaled zero. I didn’t even care about what would be on my pizza anymore! After the second rest day (another hour in the hot tub), however, the final two days were fun and joyful. The jump into the waters of Sliding Rock helped – freezing cold or not! On our last day, on the last climb (up to Waterrock Knob) cycling became fun and easy. We seemed to be flying up the hill as if on a one-hour-training loop. It all climaxed in the downhill into Cherokee, NC, when on the last ten miles of the entire trip the butterflies in my stomach made me feel like freshly in love. I just had to let it all out by countless outcries of joy.

Indeed, our journey turned out to be an experience of such fantastic impact, that I can say, “yes, we do want to do it again!” The exclamation regards both dimensions: Cycling the Blue Ridge Parkway as well as Cycling for a Cause. While it was meaningful already to go bicycling – of personal meaning that is – there is great satisfaction in going beyond the bike. I am thankful for everybody and everything that appeared into my life to shape this trip into what it was: an amazing process and  an unforgettable experience. That’s true meaning in the deepest sense.

If you’re interested in pedaling the Blue Ridge Parkway, check out our guide.

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