Back in 2010 I made my first bike trip, riding with my daughter across New York State on the Erie Canal. On that trip I discovered that I really enjoyed traveling by bike. There’s something really great about seeing the world at the pace of a bicycle, and it feels like most bike routes go through some very beautiful parts of the country.
Since then, I have done a bike trip each year (except 2012, I think?). I also find that having a trip to look forward to keeps me in shape and gives me a goal for the year. This year, I didn’t have a trip planned until recently. Instead I had been dedicating my training towards a challenging ride in the Sequatchie valley of Tennessee: Cycle Sequatchie Century and 3 Mountain Challenge. That ride was a couple of weekend ago and it was beautiful. I enjoyed the training, but I still wanted to try to find a relaxing multi-day trip by bike. The multi-day trips are like a rolling retreat.
A few weeks ago, I asked my trusty riding buddy, Joe, if he wanted to do a short trip. We decided to do a short 3-day bike trip on the Greenbrier River Trail. It isn’t a very long trail, nor is it many days, but we decided it would be a fun trip. The Greenbrier is nestled along the river and stretches from Lewisburg, WV to Cass, WV. Only about 75 miles, so we’re going out and back for a 150 mile round trip over 3 days.
We drove down from Lexington to Lewisburg and stayed last night at the Super 8. Let’s just say it was cost effective and you got what you paid for.
The trail starts about 5-6 miles from the hotel. We decided to leave the car and ride to the trailhead. Since Lewisburg is out of the valley, we had a nice ride on a country road that largely descended down. Coming back up might be a bit more challenging at the end of day three. I’m guessing it was about a 5-7% grade with some 10%+ sections. Much easier going down than up.
The weather today was absolutely perfect. We started with temps in the mid 50s and fog, but within a short time, the temperatures were in the mid/upper 60s and overcast. You can’t ask for better riding weather than that.
The trail is well marked and we had no trouble finding the south most trailhead. The surface is crushed limestone and is very well maintained. It is similar to the Great Allegheny Passage.
We chose this week partially because it is supposed to be very colorful foliage this week. There are quite a few leaves down along the trail, but not as much vibrant color as I had been hoping for. For nearly the entire ride we had the soft crunching of leaves beneath our wheels.
The trail description mentions 2 tunnels and lots of bridges. This was the only tunnel we saw today. It was long enough to need a headlamp, but not very long. This tunnel had a lot of wooden trusses set up near the north end to keep it stable.
I only recall seeing 2 or 3 major bridges. The rest are all tiny 10-20’ long bridges over creeks that fed the river.
We took a very leisurely pace today. Our destination today was Marlinton, WV. This is about the only real town we’ve seen since leaving Lewisburg. We decided to book two nights here. We’ll venture north to Cass, about 25 miles, and then return here tomorrow evening.
We are staying at the Old Clark Inn. It is a nice older home that has been converted into hotel rooms. It is clean and comfortable.
After getting in and cleaned up, we went in search of dinner. We didn’t have a real lunch on the trail because we didn’t see anywhere to get lunch. We had some energy bars and muffins from the hotel that we carried with us. We also didn’t see anywhere to get water. If you come to ride the Greenbrier, make sure to bring enough water for the day.
We ate at a place called Alfredo’s. The food was good. I forgot to take my usual pictures of dinner. Oh well, just imagine me eating a pizza (without cheese, of course) and some chicken wings. Mmmm…
Joe’s been getting over a cold (no, not covid – he got tested). He not been feeling well this evening, so we may scale back our plans for tomorrow to allow him to get some rest. We’ll see how he feels in the morning.
Our plan for tomorrow is to head north to Cass, about 25 miles, then return. If we’re feeling good when we get to Cass, there is a really neat radio telescope about 9 miles by road north of Cass. I’d love to go check it out!
So until tomorrow, may the Lord bless you and keep you.
Peace, Dcn. Matt
Here’s a “relive” of our trail today.