The Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway
The following information is gathered from
www.nps.gov/Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina/Virginia
The Blue Ridge Parkway runs from Virginia all the way down to Tennessee. It is 469 miles of beautiful overlooks, waterfalls, and educational events, such as the local animals and their habitat, mountain music and demonstrations of mountain art. There are picnic areas and seasonal camping.
During the Spring months, visitors come to see the changing colors and the blooming flowers and renewal of the gorgeous mountains. In the Fall, they come to see the changing colors. Not only do visitors come to enjoy the beauty, motorcyclists love to come and ride the curves, sharp turns and windy roads. The Parkway is a two-lane highway with an average speed of 45 mph or slower in some areas. With that said there are some safety issues to address when riding the Parkway.
Helmets and protective eyewear are mandatory and it is highly recommended to wear bright visible clothing. The headlights must be on after dusk.
The weather changes quickly. There is very little shelter. Be prepared to stop or adapt. There are no shoulders to the parkway so make sure you have a safe place to pull off. Sometimes, temperatures drop or elevation quickly changes, so carry some warm clothes in case. Lastly, the visibility of fog in the early mornings or after a rain should be considered.
Other safety issues when riding: steep grades, unforgiving road shoulders, built-in distractions(scenery and wildlife), limited sight distance, speed limit changes, and decreasing radius curves. Fuel is not available but can be gotten shortly off the parkway. It is highly recommended to plan ahead and look at the national park service website for road conditions and closures.
Patience is a virtue. Visitors' sightseeing and large vehicles pulling RVs become very slow. Don’t try to pass; even if the driver ahead flags you to.
Not only do bikers love to see the scenery, they love the challenge of the roads provided on the parkway. Because of the windy, sharp curves bikers should not ride side by side and stay close to the middle for quick changes or reaction of other vehicles.
www.blueridgemotorcycling.com provides information on rides, lodging and dining. Here are a few:
Claw of the Dragon
Tail of the Dragon
Best of the Snake
So come on out and ride the Blue Ridge Parkway and enjoy the beautiful Appalachian Mountains!