Asheville is a big-time bike town. Mountain and road biking are equally popular, and there are all levels of riders, from cruisers to pros. Bringing this community together to share a common love of bikes was how Asheville Rides was born.
Asheville Rides is a social ride for cyclists of all levels, and it was a product of the Asheville Chamber of Commerce teaming up with community nonprofit Asheville on Bikes. These rides are held on the second Thursday of each month from spring through fall. Kids are also welcome at these short outings, which typically last about an hour and are between five and seven miles in length.
Mike Sule of Asheville on Bikes says that each ride has a theme, which ranges from highlighting a greenway or park in the city to riding downtown and enjoying Asheville’s views. The rides meet at the Chamber offices at 5:30 pm and leave at 6:00. They go at a leisurely pace with stops along the way.
Newbies interested in learning more about cycling will be comfortable with the routes, and the social aspect makes them fun for experienced riders as well. While these are community rides, visitors are more than welcome — the rides are a great way to connect with locals. It’s free, so if you come to town with your bike (or rent one) all you need to do is show up at the Chamber parking lot. For those who might be thinking about moving to the area, the rides are a great way to learn about Asheville’s in-town neighborhoods.
The rides are a way to mix business with leisure according to Asheville Chamber spokesperson Michael Jordan. Besides the social aspect, riders have a chance to learn more about locally owned businesses. Sule says the rides also demonstrate the Chamber’s commitment to active transportation in Asheville.
Both organizations have done a lot to promote bike culture in Asheville. Asheville on Bikes has lobbied for bike rental lockers downtown and aided in a creating a comprehensive bike plan for the city. The group is highly visible at local events, participating each year in the city’s Holiday Parade, often wearing the most attention-getting costumes. The group also sponsors a number of community rides throughout the year, such as the Bike of the Irish to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and the Summer Cycle.
For more information about Asheville Community Rides, check out their website, where route information is also available. For additional questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 230-1423. Follow @AshevilleonBike on Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates.