Brevard: Cycling Capital of the South!

Bike Magazine gives national recognition to Brevard, NC
Bike Magazine Hails Transylvania County as Cycling Mecca

If you haven’t seen this, read on – Big News for BREVARD, NC!

The experts have spoken.  BIKE Magazine, the premier mountain biking publication in the country, calls Transylvania County “America’s best kept secret,” and “home to some of the best riding in the country,” in their January issue. The publication hits newsstands on January 17th.

For three weeks during the fall of 2011, the magazine’s editors, writers and photographers hammered the trails of Pisgah and DuPont as they tested the latest bikes and equipment for their annual gear guide entitled “The Bible of Bike Tests.”

The issue features an in-depth profile of Brevard and Transylvania County, chronicling its transformation into one of the top outdoor adventure destinations in the nation. DuPont State Recreational Forest is featured on the cover of the issue, which hit newsstands nationwide on January 17th.

Editor and writer Vernon Felton lavishes praise not just on the trails — but on the bike-friendly vibe that Transylvania County has cultivated in recent years. The county’s embrace of the biking ethos has earned it the title, “Cycling Capital of the South.”

Brevard, NC named Cycling Capital!
Check out the trails this summer after dropping your daughter off at Illahee!

“We came to Brevard with an inkling that the trails were good,” says Felton in the article, “but we underestimated them.” He goes on to say that the team spent two weeks riding trails that “absolutely blew our minds.”

“We were honored to host BIKE Magazine.” says Kristy Harris, chairperson of the Transylvania County Tourism Development Authority, which came up with the idea of inviting the magazine to Transylvania County for their gear guide tests. “They were great fun to be around and you could sense how much they enjoyed being here. They really got into the Zombie Squirrel Alleycat Race.”

The entire BIKE Magazine team participated in this popular local Halloween tradition that includes costumes, custom bikes and lots of fake blood. The team’s escapades are chronicled in the story as well.

But the real focus is on the riding and the experience that awaits mountain bikers who venture into the playground of over 100,000 acres that comprise Pisgah and DuPont in Transylvania County. The area is home to over 300 miles of spectacular single-track trails and an additional 700 miles of multi-use trails.

Felton quotes World Cup cyclist and former Olympian Adam Craig about the quality of riding in Transylvania. Craig, who participated in the Pisgah Mountain Bike Stage Race in October, said, “Pisgah is definitely one of the top three places in the universe that I’ve ever ridden — and maybe the very best one.”

Logistical support for the BIKE Magazine visit was provided by the Transylvania County Tourism Development Authority. In addition, dozens of volunteers generously donated time, expertise and resources to support the publication’s team while they were in the community. In all, over 500 hours were donated by individuals to assist BIKE Magazine’s team.

On Friday, January 13th, the community held a “premiere” of the issue in the Brevard City Council chambers. Over 100 individuals turned out to celebrate the publication of the issue and bask in the praise from BIKE’s writers.

In addition to the trails described in the issue, the magazine plans on launching a mini-website soon that supports the Bible and will include locations and descriptions of more trails. The magazine has already posted many of the testing trails on their website,

Transylvania County hosts a friendly and deeply ingrained biking culture open to giving visitors and residents alike all the information they need to make the most of two-wheeled transport. If there’s small town that could be accused of good-naturedly conspiring to get your feet on the pedals, it’s Brevard.

Bike Magazine tells that story, too, chronicling the City of Brevard’s latest bike-friendly effort, the Bracken Mountain trail, which will ultimately connect downtown Brevard with Pisgah National Forest.

“That’s going to be a game-changer for us,” says Jimmy Harris, Mayor of Brevard. “We’ll be the only place on the East Coast where you can ride from downtown, on a trail system, right into a national forest.”

On Saturday, January 14th, over 35 volunteers showed up early on a chilly Saturday morning to help begin clearing a path through the forest for the trail.

“We had hikers, horseback riders, mountain bikers and bird watchers show up for our our first trail building day,” says Todd Branham, a local mountain bike race promoter and the volunteer trail coordinator for the project. “It was really cool to see the diversity of people and their enthusiasm. People really can come together to make things happen in a community and this trail is a testament to that.”

“The BIKE Magazine story will mean great exposure for Transylvania County,” says Sam Salman, owner of The Hub, a cycling shop near the entrance to Pisgah National Forest. “This is one of the best forms of advertising our county can have. It will definitely drive bike and outdoor enthusiasts our way.”

Wes Dickson, owner of Sycamore Cycles, has long been impressed with BIKE. “It’s the only magazine we carry in our store. And it always sells out,” he says. “The magazine has a lot of credibility with riders. It’s one of the most influential magazines out there.”

Both Dickson and Salman are big believers in the economic impact of adventure travel to the area.

“Everyone is out there grabbing for the same small industries. But we’ve got something no one else can offer,” says Dickson of a county with over 100,000 acres of public lands encompassed within Pisgah, DuPont and Gorges State Park. “You can’t fake this. We’ve got some of the best and most extensive riding trails in the country.”

“Riders come to our area and some of them will be here for a week or longer,” says Salman. “They stay in our hotels, they eat in our great restaurants, they shop in our stores. These are people with disposable income who are willing to spend money to have a great time.”

“Our resources were a big draw for BIKE,” says Thad Walker of Carmichael Training Systems,which just opened an office in Brevard. “But I also think they were attracted by our biking culture. It’s a really welcoming, accepting community. A lot of people live here because they want to take advantage of those active lifestyle opportunities.”

Like Dickson and Salman, Walker also believes in the economic development possibilities.

“Bottom line, this is a sustainable industry,” he says. “You’ve got a community that’s passionate about what we have, passionate about sharing it with others and passionate about doing our best to preserve it for future generations.”

“North Carolina boasts a tremendous mountain bike community,” agrees Felton, who has visited the area many times. “People around here are enthusiastic about getting outside and exploring, and at the end of the day, that’s really BIKE’s mission: to inspire readers to ditch the sofa in favor of adventure. We couldn’t dream of a better setting than Transylvania County.”


We would like to credit Dan Barham ( for the photography on the cover of BIKE Magazine that is included in this news release.

3 responses to “Brevard: Cycling Capital of the South!

  1. I can vouch for the awesome biking in Brevard. Lucky enough to have spent 6 or 7 summers at Camp Illahee taking photos, and also being an avid cyclist, I finally brought my road bike to Illahee 2 years ago. What a treat. Those misty morning rides are awesome. Looping out of camp and up the Greenville Highway into Brevard with a stop at Bracken Mountain Bakery for refueling with their coffee and home baked breads is a must. There is something for every cyclist in that area!

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