Living the South Asheville Bikestyle

This is an article that I wrote for Velocity Asheville magazine a few months ago. As the wonderful spring weather approaches, I hope this encourages you to dust off your bicycle and explore your neighborhood. 

 

In this month's column, I take you to Asheville’s Southside. South Asheville may be best known for the Biltmore House but what it offers the cycling community is number of equally stunning road rides, easy access to trails and a number of great cycling centered businesses. While it lacks the friendly commuting opportunities of North and West Asheville, it does offer access to the Blue Ridge Parkway, country roads and a short drive to some of my favorite trailheads.

If living close to downtown and commuting is important, there are neighborhoods around Biltmore Village that offer affordable homes and provide relatively easy access to the River Arts district and downtown. The direct route is a short but exhilarating ride via Biltmore Avenue into downtown. However, if rubbing elbows with cars isn’t the excitement you are looking for, you can wind your way through the hills of Kenilworth. Another and more relaxing alternative is to ride Meadow Road to the access the bike lane on Lyman into the River Arts District or hang a left on Amboy and cruise the greenway along the French Broad River in Carrier Park to access West Asheville.

For road cyclist there are a number of neighborhoods that provide easy access to the Blue Ridge Parkway and several popular rides that offer stunning scenery and quaint back roads through the towns of Fairview, Mills River, and Bat Cave. If you are unsure of where to find a good road ride, check out BlueRidgeBicycleClub.org for cue sheets and a calendar of group rides in the area. For mountain biking, Bent Creek and North Mills Recreation Area are less than 25 minutes from most neighborhoods in South Asheville. North Mills offers several of my favorite trails in all of Pisgah, along with postride swimming holes that will bring you back to life after a hot summer ride. For those like myself that have four legged riding partners, North Mills also offers a creek crossing or two on most trials for your pup to enjoy as temperatures rise. If you are looking to work on your bike skills, drive a little further south and check out the new Hendersonville Bike Park. The bike park will offer a skills section and pumptrack to have some fun and improve your performance on the trails.

The mountain road and trails around South Asheville will certainly keep your body in shape. And if you live in South Asheville, there are a number of business and manufactures that will ensure your equipment is performing at its best. Liberty Bikes has been serving and supporting the Asheville cycling scene since 1980. In addition to running a great bike shop, Mike and Claudia Nix are major advocates for cycling in Asheville and beyond. Personally, I have seen Mike or Claudia and every advocacy event and committee meeting that I have ever attended in Asheville and in 2007 they received the National Bicycle Advocate Award for their efforts. Liberty Bikes also organizes weekly groups from the shop for different skill levels, so give them a call if you are interested in getting to know some new riders and new routes.

Pedal east from the River Arts District (or RAD) to Thompson Street to the Bicycle Arts District (or BAD). Located in an unassuming row of buildings, you will find talented individuals who practice the fine art of tuning and repairing mountain bike suspension. You will also find great deals at the Bicycle Thrift Shop. Kevin and Shelly Booth and the staff at Suspension Experts work on MTB suspension exclusively. Whether you’re a local trying to shave a few seconds off your Green’s Lick run or a National Downhill Champion, Suspension Experts can rebuild, replace and dial in your suspension so you get the most out of your equipment. On the other end of the bicycle spectrum, if your needs are simply a good used bike for “A to B” rides or an older replacement part, stop by and see Steven Janes at the Bicycle Thrift Shop. You will find a wide assortment of inexpensive used kids / adult bikes, clothing and accessories and if you need to get rid of some bicycle clutter, the Thrift Shop takes donations too! The money raised from sales at the shop supports the WNC Trips for Kids Program to ensure the next generation of cyclists start off on the right pedal.

South Asheville / Fletcher is also the home of Cane Creek Cycling Components. Cane Creek manufactures some of the finest bicycle components made and they can be found on high end bicycles worldwide. In an additional to their quality standards, it is likely that their innovations have helped enhance the performance of the bike you are currently riding. The Cane Creek Aheadset innovation quickly set a new standard in the bicycle industry and continue continues to raise the bar today, pun intended. Mention the word Double Barrel in a crowd of a downhill racers and watch the drooling begin. The coveted Double Barrel is the rear shock of choice for riders that take using gravity seriously. Appropriately located on Cane Creek Road, the employees manufacture and assemble the cutting edge components by day, then put them to the test on the backroads of Fletcher and wet, rocky trails of Pisgah when the workday is done.

South Asheville certainly plays a role in the Asheville Bikestyle. If you’re looking to call South Asheville home there is a wide assortment of neighborhoods and price ranges. Most areas offer convenience to everything you may need in your daily life as well as access to the amazing road rides and trails I mentioned above. As with most of areas of Asheville, housing prices can vary considerably. If you happen to own one of the top three bike companies in the US and are looking for a mini Biltmore Estate, check out 79 Mirehouse Run  (mls# 538699). The homes sits on an acre and a half lot that borders the Parkway and offers every luxury amenity you would expect for $2 million. Since many of us cyclist would rather ride more and work less, you can still have the Mountains to Sea Traill / BRP in your backyard and a hot tub to relax in after that long cold ride to Mount Pisgah for about 400k. The home at 78 Charlyn Drive (mls# 531566) is priced at $397,000 and has 3 beds and 2.5 baths, a double garage for all your toys and a 2.4 acre lot so you can create your own mini trail system. For those who would prefer to spend their money on bikes versus a mortgage South Asheville offers affordability at 5 Bostic Street (mls# 538428). It’s a cute 3 bed / 2 bath house very close to Biltmore Village and an easy jump onto the interstate to hit the trailhead. Modestly priced at $139,000, so you can still afford that Cane Creek Double Barrel and a weekend lift ticket at Beech Mountain Bike Park.

 

Living the North Asheville Bikestyle

Fall has hit the mountains of WNC! It's my favorite time of the year to ride, so I thought it would be fitting to post an article I wrote for Asheville Velo City.  

 Living the Asheville Bikestyle.

The column focuses on the different neighborhoods of Asheville and what each offer to the bicycle scene in Asheville. Enjoy. 

The urban neighborhoods of North Asheville offer a number of benefits to a cyclist. N. Asheville is made up of a patchwork of small subdivisions and offers a wide range of businesses and services within walking and biking distance. When I am working with home buyers new to Asheville who would like to commute or live car free, this factor often makes it a first choice. Quick trips via two wheels to grocery stores, restaurants and entertainment options are generally a ten minute pedal or less. With the close proximity to downtown and the lack of any major climbs, you can pedal into downtown and lock your bike faster that you can drive into town and find a parking spot in many cases. For your cycling specific needs, the north side has three bike shops to meet the needs of any cyclist. Whether you are looking for a posh 10k road bike or a downhill bike made to handle 10ft drops, Chainheart Cycling Studio, Youngblood Bikes and Ski Country Sports can make your dream bike come true or just keep your bike running smooth. 

As a commuter on the north side you learn a few things quickly. Rule number one, avoid Merrimon Ave. Several wide streets run parallel to Merrimon that allow for an enjoyable ride into downtown. If you want to avoid rubbing elbows with cars as much as possible, the Glen’s Creek Greenway and Reed Creek Greenway create a safe and enjoyable access to downtown for residents of Norwood Park, Grove Park and other areas to the North.

For road cycling enthusiast the main question is to climb or not to climb. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a just a short but steep climb away. On a sunny afternoon weaving up the scenic roads of Sunset and Old Toll you are likely to encounter more bikes and walkers than cars on your way to Town Mountain Road. Once you are on the parkway it is up to your legs, lungs and desire how far you choose to go and the ride from town to Mt. Mitchell is a rite of passage of sorts for those who own a road bike. For those days you don’t feel like climbing mountains, River Road offers a gently rolling ride alongside the French Broad. You can relax and enjoy beautiful ride along the river then refuel for the return trip with a cup of java at Zuma in Marshall or turn your ride into an amazing loop through beautiful country back roads.

For those that prefer to hit the trails, the north side offers no direct access to Pisgah but it does offers a number of options within a short drive. For a quick after work ride, Bent Creek offers something for everyone and from most locations on the north side it’s a quick a 15-20 minute drive to the trailhead. If you are looking for a more secluded experience, the North Mills area of Pisgah and Kitsuma / Heartbreak Ridge in Black Mountain offer views and trails that will challenge any rider. If you seek the real back country, Coleman Boundary is sure to push the limits of your handling skills and your equipment.

There is no question that life on the North side is good for the Asheville cyclist, but the conveniences do come at a price. Expect to spend more for housing than you would for home with similar features in other areas surrounding Asheville. If living close to downtown is your desire, you can find a small 2 bed / 2 bath for 170k (mls #527450) or a comfortable 3 bed / 2 bath for 230K (mls #534687)  and ride to the majority of services you need in a few minutes. If luxurious urban living is what you are looking for, 700k gets you a 4 bed / 3.5 bath dream home with a greenway a few feet away and an extra lot for a pumptrack in Montford (mls #530185). As we say in the Real Estate business, “location, location, location.” This is especially true if your desire is to make most trips to the daily services you need on a bike. It is also worth considering the economic benefits of riding a bike versus driving. While you might pay a little more for rent or a mortgage, the reduction in your spending on gas and maintenance on a vehicle does add up, as do the quality of life and health benefits. Just some thoughts to consider when living the Asheville Bikestyle.

Feel free to send me any questions about biking or Real Estate in Asheville. And provide me comments about your experience, secret routes, or updates on cycling related happenings in your area and I will add them to the column.

Justin Mitchell - Realtor / Rider

Mosaic Community Lifestyle Realty

Justin@JustInAsheville.com

828-713-9400

Living and loving the Asheville Bikestyle.

For the past few months, I have been a regular contributor to Asheville Velocity Magazine. As a cyclist, sociology major and Realtor I enjoy reflecting on the bicycle scene in Asheville, the different areas / neighborhoods in our city and what each contribute to the cycling community. Below is the first of a six column series, make sure to stop by a local shop and pick up a hard copy of our local cycling magazine. The online version of each issue can be found here. Enjoy.

 

Living the Asheville Bikestyle

 

Spend a few minutes on a Sunday morning at a busy intersection downtown and you will see a collection of bicycles as diverse as the people and neighborhoods that make up our city. Mountain bikes on roof racks heading to the trails, still covered in dirt from the last epic adventure. Road bikes resembling works of art moving gracefully towards higher elevation. BMX bikes strapped to the back of the family SUV heading north. And of course, a vast collection of cruisers, vintage ten speeds and bikes with kids in tow heading to their next destination. Where are all these bikes going and what is the common thread that connects them all. I like to think of it as the Asheville Bikestyle.  

 

So what is the Asheville Bikestyle? In part, it’s the hundreds of miles of challenging single track in the mountains that surround us and the lung busting climbs to the highest peak on the East Coast. It’s the seemingly endless gravel roads, cyclocross under the lights and fix gear racing at the Mellowdrome. There’s the fun factor of alleycat races and scavenger hunts, nuns on tall bikes or a rolling costume party with 300 people taking over the streets. But most of the time it is as simple as Sunday ride to meet up with friends. We are very lucky to have a cycling scene as rich and diverse as the flora and fauna that exist in the mountains surrounding Asheville.

 

Over the past few years I have watched the number of business that cater to cyclist and level of cycling infrastructure grow considerably. And for good reason, we have some of the country's most scenic roadways and trails to challenge every level of rider. But the Parkway and trails are only a catalyst of the Asheville Bikestyle. Our flourishing bike scene is driven by an astonishing group of business owners, manufactures, event promoters, advocacy groups, world class athletes and YOU!

 

While the surrounding trails and Blue Ridge Parkway have experienced little change since my move to the mountains several years ago, the city of Asheville has come a long way! Asheville is now a League of American Cyclist Bronze Level Bike City in thanks to the bicycle infrastructure improvements made in the past few years. With the City of Asheville’s adoption of a Comprehensive Bike Plan, and groups such as Asheville on Bikes, Connect Buncombe, Trips for Kids, Healthy Buncombe and the hiring of a full time bike / pedestrian planner we are transforming our city into a bicycle paradise for all cyclist.

 

With an abundance of Ashevillians on bikes and a city that has attracted national recognition for our trails and roadways we have witnessed the growth of a cycling economy in Asheville. The area is now home to over fifteen bike shops and there is rarely a bike part, style or brand of bicycle that is difficult to find. When parts do break Asheville has you covered. Numerous world class bike mechanics call Asheville home and a there is a thriving business that solely services mountain bike suspension forks and shocks sent in from all over the country. Asheville is also home to several manufactures whose coveted components grace bicycles all over the world. The knowledge and ideas of local cyclist / engineers are transformed into high performance components that are then tested by the very riders who play a direct role in their creation. In addition to the brick and mortar companies there are now several guiding, coaching and support services in Asheville that cater directly to cyclist. These individuals will enhance your experience in the woods, train you to ride faster in your next competitive event or bring your body back to a state of harmony after a long weekend in the mountains. We are also fortunate to have numerous event promoters that encourage us to push our limits, social organizations that remind us the biking is fun and advocacy groups that keep trails open and our greenways expanding. These fine people ensure there is a world class race, a trail work day or a party on two wheels almost every weekend of the year.

 

So as you see, Asheville has a lot going on for a town of 85,000 people. As someone who has been passionate about riding bikes for most of my life, the robust cycling scene is a major reason I chose to live in Asheville. And in my career as a Realtor, I am asked weekly about the different areas of our city. To answer these questions, I share my knowledge of price ranges, school districts, and proximity to this or that. These are all important factors in determining your ideal location of course! However, I feel that it is just as important to find a home that suits not only your needs but your lifestyle as well. And in the next few issues of Asheville VELOCITY I will focus on the different areas of Asheville and highlight what each has to offer a cyclist so you can find a place that suits your bikestyle. It is my hope this column will serve to enhance YOUR experience in Asheville. With the depth of our scene there is a lot to know and new experiences to be had. And by checking out this column you might just learn a better route, ride a new trail, or visit a new cycling related business.  And if you’re new to the area or been here since birth you may find a new group to get involved and learn a few things about the cost of living and the Real Estate market in these different areas. So stay tuned and in next months issue I will discuss the North Asheville area from the perspective of a cyclist and Realtor living the Asheville Bikestyle.

 

Feel free to send me any questions about biking or Real Estate in Asheville. And provide me comments about your experience, secret routes, or updates on cycling related happenings in your area and I will add them to the column.

 

Justin Mitchell

Mosaic Realty

Justin@JustInAsheville.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4th Annual Green Home Bike Tour - May 18th, 2013



The bike tour has been canceled due to the rain and possibility of thunderstorms.We will reschedule for another date.



Tour De Green



On Saturday May 18th, take a bicycle tour of Asheville neighborhoods and visit 5 properties that feature green building and enegy conservation construction methods. Cutting edge properties built by JAG Construction, Koerber Construction and Surefoot Builders will be featured along with the Gain and Clingman Loft Developments.

The tour will also provide information on energy efficiency upgrades and methods that can be applied to existing homes. Green Building professionals will be available at select properties to answer questions and an experienced cyclist will be your guide and provide information on current and developing infrastructure improvements taking place in core areas of the city.


The tour will originate at Beer City Bicycles, conveniently located in the heart of Downtown at 144 Biltmore Ave. A moderate fitness level is suggested and helmets are required.


Meet at Beer City Bicycles at noon and the ride will begin at 12:15. Parking is available to the right of the building.

The tour is free and food and refreshments will be provided at the end of the tour. To register for the event, contact Justin Mitchell with the number of participants in your party at justin@justinasheville.com or 828.713.9400.


Tour De Green is proud to be a part of Strive Not To Drive week taking place in Asheville May 12th-18th. To learn more about the events or to take the pledge visit the Strive Not to Drive website. www.strivenottodrive.org or check them out on Facebook .

Sponsored by Mosaic Community Lifestyle Realty, Pisgah Brewing Company and Doc Cheys

Adventures in Real Estate / Adventure Properties

The Blue Ridge Mountains in Asheville offer adventure seekers an opportunity to take their passions to a level not found in many places in the Southeast. In addition to outdoor adventure, Asheville also provides urban adventures to keep you busy on a rainy day or once the sun sets. So it is no wonder that many people such as myself choose to call Asheville home if they are seeking both outdoor recreation and a thriving arts and music scene.

As a Realtor and someone who enjoys all the qualities I mentioned above I pay close attention to neighborhoods and homes that offer easy access to the outdoor experience that draw many of us to the area. While these areas I will highlight offer direct access to the areas that many seek I will say based on experience that access to a good trail, road ride or boating adventure is never that far away. However for those adventure seeker who prefer to either keep the car parked all weekend or not own a car there are several neighborhoods that you might want to explore.

Bent Creek - Want mountain trails in your backyard? If you are into hiking, trail running or Mountain Biking no neighborhood offers the convenience to both the best of Asheville's nightlife and trial system. Located eight miles from downtown the Bent Creek Neighborhood offers numerous recreational opportunities as well as neighborhood trails that link to the Bent Creek Experimental Forest Trails. Once you hit the Bent Creek Trails your adventure is only limited by your legs and lungs as you can easily access the Pisgah National Forest Trails with a climb up and over Bent Creek Gap. For Road Biking Enthusiast the Blue Ridge Parkway is so close that you will not even have your heart rate up before you begin the climb up to Mount Pisgah or Mount Mitchell. Home prices are very reasonable in this popular area, a cute three bedroom two bath brick ranch will run 160k-220k.



West Asheville - Want to leave the car parked all weekend? Greenways, walkable neighborhoods and parks galore. Whether you're into track racing, mountain biking, running, river adventures, disc golf or taking Fido to the dog park West Asheville has you covered. If you are feeling mellow just hop on the greenway and enjoy a relaxing walk or ride to your favorite restaurant, pub or art studio or better yet find something that floats and take the river to the River Arts District or The Bywater for a cookout and pint. For those craving a trail, a quick ride to Richmond Hill Park offers several miles of tight twisty single track and a disc golf course. West Asheville provides plenty of activities to keep you busy all weekend without ever picking up the car keys. West Asheville offers a diverse supply of Real Estate. From cutting edge new green homes to charming 20's bungalows West Asheville has it covered. You can find a cute cottage for 125k or spend 300k+ on your dream green home or remolded charmer walking distance to everything. 

North Asheville - Want to ride trails to the coffee shop? The North side of Asheville is not without it's opportunity for outdoor adventure either. A short yet expanding section of Greenway exist on Reed Creek and the UNCA campus offers several miles of walking and biking trails that will make you forget that you are only one mile from all that downtown has to offer. Easy access to River Road is great for road cyclist looking for an enjoyable ride to Marshal or a fast paced competitive time trial. The Northside of Merrimon Ave also offers beautiful roads like sunset where you are likely to encounter more walkers, runners, and cyclist (and sometimes bears) than cars. For those who craving an adrenaline rush, Food Lion Skatepark is located in the Montford neighborhood and offers 17,000 sq ft of concrete adventure. Home prices in this area are higher with homes starting in the 200k range but expect to pay 300k+ for a 3/2 in the hotspots.

East Asheville and Montreat -Looking for Wild and wonderful East Asheville. East Asheville and Montreat also offer wilderness trails great for hiking and biking as well. Shope Creek in East Asheville near Riceville Road now offers a parking area and there are number of short trails. A mix of old hunting trails can take you to some amazing remote areas of Pisgah. The Montreat neighborhood, college and conference center offers over 30 miles of trails for hiking, trail running and biking and during parts of the season you can access the infamous Heartbreak Ridge Trail for one of the best mountain bike descents in the area. Home prices and options vary greatly in this area. Expect to pay 125K for a humble mountain abode to 500k and higher for homes in the hills with a view and quick access to the Montreat Trail system.

This is just the beginning of the neighborhoods and areas that offer a weekend of adventure without getting in your car. If you would like any additional information on these neighborhoods or homes available in these areas don't hesitate to call opr email me.