By Eric Crews
While mountain bikers across the southeast have known for years that Pisgah National Forest offered some of the best mountain biking in the United States, the rest of the world is quickly catching on. Last year, the hundreds of miles of mountain biking trails and gravel roads around Brevard played host to Bike Magazine during their annual gear review as they tested the latest mountain bikes on some of the area’s most popular trails. during their stay, the writers at Bike Magazine dubbed the area “ground zero for some of the best mountain biking in the nation.”
Meanwhile, a recent article on Singletracks.com, an online mountain biking trail guide, named Brevard one of the Top 10 mountain biking destinations in the United States.
When asked about Brevard’s most recent accolades in the cycling world, Wes Dickson, owner of Brevard-based bike shop Sycamore Cycles, said the quality of the riding in the area is one of those things that most people in Transylvania County and Western North Carolina have known for years. But the recent national recognition is just an added bonus.
“I think people are finally figuring it out,” he said. “The East Coast has pretty good riding up and down it, but we’re pretty blessed that we have so much in one spot. I’ve been to good riding locations across the country, but a lot of times it’s a little more down-played. Here, the community recognizes that it’s one of our greatest assets and one of our strongest identities.”
Sam Salman, owner of The Hub and Backcountry Outdoors, a bike retailer and outdoor shop in Brevard, agreed that the recognition is well-deserved.
“I grew up on the East Coast and have ridden just about everywhere there is to ride around here,” he said. “There are definitely some trail systems that have amazing trails, but I think Brevard has probably the greatest diversity of trails in the whole United States.
“We have DuPont and Bent Creek that have purpose-built, flowy, amazing single-track and doubletrack, and we have Pisgah, which was never meant to be ridden on by bikes,” he said. “But we’ve been graciously allowed to ride on these 100-year-old logging and hiking trails that tend to satisfy anyone’s desire for super-gnarly riding. There are incredible, long burly climbs, beautiful ridge lines and pretty amazing technical trails.”
Salman said the test in the future is going to be maintaining the trails—as well as good relations with the U.S. Forest Service—in order to continue to keep up the trails people have come to love.
“We just have to continue to promote and maintain these trails so they don’t fall apart on us,” he said.
“Making sure we are good stewards of our resources is really important,” Dickson said. “But right now we’ve got a lot of great people on the ground working on the trails on a regular basis, so we’re on the right track with that.”
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