Bethel Grocery Store - At the Crossroads!
This past Tuesday evening, June 26th, several members of BicycleHaywoodNC had the pleasure of joining together for an evening ride up Lake Logan Road and Little East Fork to the Camp Daniel Boone entrance. For me, it was a ride that I’ve done many times and have written more than once about its beauty and the vast majority of courteous drivers along that particular route. For my co-riders, it was a (re)learning experience of just how beautiful that section of Haywood County really is. I think they enjoyed the descent out of East Little Fork almost as much as I did!
We started our ride at Bethel Grocery Store, a recently named “Bicycle Friendly Business”. When I approached Marvin and Karen about stocking supplies for cyclists back in the spring of this year, they gave it some thought and then decided that they were a logical outpost for cyclists. Plus, they already had cyclists stopping in to purchase drinks and energy bars. Now, thanks to their willingness to expand their business, cyclists can also pick up tubes, tires, chain repair kits, and other necessities for making “on the road” repairs.
Bethel Grocery Store is ideally located for riding in the southern end of the county. Sitting at the crossroads of US 276 and Lake Logan Road, a multitude of cycling routes are available. Similar to the one we took Tuesday night, a moderately experienced beginning cyclist can enjoy an 18 mile out and back ride while building conditioning for longer rides. Going north on Old River Road takes cyclists past two schools in the Bethel Area and then two more in Canton before looping back on NC 110 for an 11 mile ride.
For the more experienced rider, a 36 mile out and back ride to the Blue Ridge Parkway from Bethel Grocery Store will test your mettle and if you want to add mileage, hang a left (go north on the BRP), ride over Wagon Wheel Gap, descend down US 276 through Crusoe and get in a 45 mile journey. The Blue Ridge Breakaway takes advantage of this area of the county by coming off of Stamey Cove onto Old River Road before cutting over to NC 110 and then riding the length of Love Joy (another great mountain view at dusk!) and then following Lake Logan Road past Sunburst and to the BRP. The 105 mile route of the Breakaway then turns south and climbs over the highest peak of the Parkway before descending to Balsam Gap and (joy! Joy!) climbing over Water Rock Knob with a descent to Soco and back to Lake Junaluska through Maggie. Whew!
Karen and Marvin welcome cyclists to park at Bethel Grocery Store to start their ride. They are definitely invited to stop in and get some cycling supplies as they enjoy our great countryside. I know I had a pretty darn good COLD chocolate milk after our great ride on Tuesday!
For more information, visit http://gr8smokieszeke.blogspot.com and www.bicyclehaywoodnc.org . You may also link to Zeke’s Great Smoky Mountain 2 Wheeled Adventures under Opinion on the Mountaineer’s website.