Mountain biking

This is one of the fastest growing recreational activities in the Smokies, one easily witnessed by all the vehicles with mountain bikes strapped to the back or top. Pretty straightforward as to why so may partake of this sport: the Smokies contain some of the best bike trails anywhere. Here are the popular spots:

‘A trail for everybody’: YouTuber raises funds for Canton bike park

The first trails at Canton’s Chestnut Mountain Park will be ready to ride before the leaves drop this fall thanks to an overwhelmingly successful fundraising effort from Asheville YouTuber Seth Alvo. 

Trail of Love: Despite paralysis, EBCI member will cycle Remember the Removal

Maranda Bradley knows exactly what her 2015 self would say if she knew what the 2020 version was up to now. 

“‘You’re crazy. You’re in a wheelchair. You can’t even hold your bowels.’ That’s what I would say at this point,” said Bradley.

Fighting an uphill battle: Motion Makers Bicycle Shop

Emerging from the back of his bicycle shop in downtown Sylva, Motion Makers owner Kent Cranford squeezes around a service desk blocking the front entrance and steps outside to ensure he’s adhering to proper social distancing in the era of the coronavirus while being interviewed. 

Betting on Cherokee: Fire Mountain Outpost opens on Qualla Boundary

Motion Makers Bicycles in Cherokee is starting 2020 with a new location and a new roommate, but the same optimism about the future of outdoor sports on the Qualla Boundary. 

The bike shop’s Cherokee location first opened 2018, sharing a two-story yellow building on Big Cove Road with Franklin-based outfitter Outdoor 76. The concept was solid, but the logistics proved problematic. Four months after opening in Cherokee, Outdoor 76 launched a third location in Clayton, Georgia. Travel between the three locations was time-consuming, and the two-story layout was a challenge. 

Kids in Parks logs one million TRACK Trails adventures

In its mission to engage children with the outdoors, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation’s Kids in Parks program is marking a powerful milestone; kids and families have completed one million adventures through the program’s TRACK Trails. This figure represents more than one million miles hiked, biked or paddled, and more than 500,000 hours spent outside.

Founder’s grandson reopens RollsRite Bicycles

When John Mudge opened RollsRite Bicycles in 2002, his grandson Zack Moss was only 9 years old. Moss grew up on the other side of the country in Washington, and he didn’t really know his grandfather, or the bike shop. The first time he visited RollsRite was in 2018, after Mudge’s unexpected death on Nov. 6. Mudge was 71 years old. 

Bringing kids to the single-track: Plan in the works for children’s mountain bike trail in Jackson

If a partnership between Jackson County and the Nantahala Area Southern Off Road Bicycle Association comes to fruition, kids in Cullowhee could soon have access to a new mountain biking track made specifically for them. 

“The county reached out to us saying that they had been hoping to build a bike park on that area in the greenway,” said J.P. Gannon, president of Nantahala SORBA and assistant professor of geology at Western Carolina University. “When we heard that we jumped on it and said, ‘We can make that happen if they want to have it happen.’”

Backyard trails: Local mountain bike trails surge to popularity

In 2013, Western Carolina University cut the ribbon on 7-mile trail system zig-zagging an otherwise unbuildable piece of university property. 

Over the five years since, the trails have become an indispensible resource for mountain bikers — as well as trail runners and hikers — in the Cullowhee area, and last fall a trio of WCU employees set out to back up those observations with hard numbers. 

Trails are just good for communities

Trails are good and we could have more here.

— The board of the Nantahala Area Southern Off-Road Bicycling Association

Our primary thesis is this: trails are good for communities and their economies, and if the political will existed, we could have more in Western North Carolina. We have public lands owned by local town and county governments, amazing terrain, and the potential funding opportunities exist. As a chapter of a regional mountain biking advocacy organization (the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association (SORBA)), we hear about the amazing things trails have done for towns across the Southeast. We realize this is not common knowledge, nor is there any reason for it to be common knowledge, so we wanted to talk about some of the things we hear about in our advocacy world in a more public forum.

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