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