Le Tour de Transylvania - Brevard North Carolina
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Le Tour de Transylvania

Exploring Transylvania County on Two Wheels

Without question, Transylvania County offers road cyclists some of the most varied and spectacular topography in the eastern United States: scenic valley rides along tributaries like the French Broad and East Fork; epic climbs with elevation gains of over 3,000 feet; spectacular long-range views from the Blue Ridge Parkway; and non-stop natural beauty, including famous landmarks like Looking Glass Falls, Looking Glass Rock and the Sassafras Mountain Observation Tower.

This month, we are excited to share our interview with Hank Birdsong, creator of “Le Tour de Transylvania.”

Moore Cove Falls, Pisgah National Forest

Q&A

Q&A:

Hank, for starters, what is “Le Tour de Transylvania?”

It’s a series of road cycling rides that happen on the same days as the Tour de France July 1-24, including three rest days.

Moore Cove Falls, Pisgah National Forest

Q&A

Q&A:

Where did the idea originate?

I had been leading rides for the Blue Ridge Bike Club for four years. During the pandemic, we stopped doing group rides, so I came up with the idea to ride every day the Tour de France rides using routes that showcase Transylvania County. I designed routes for people to do on their own or with a few friends on their own timetable. I really thought that would be the end of it, but folks said they liked it and hoped I’d repeat it in 2021. So, I put together a new series of routes and I tried to match the profile to whatever was happening on the Tour de France. Last year, folks had the choice of doing each ride with the group or on their own.

 

Moore Cove Falls, Pisgah National Forest

Q&A

Q&A:

How has “Le Tour” been received by the cycling community?

It has been received very well. People like that they can have a group ride option most every day. They can skip days, and ride when it’s convenient for them. People can also do it on their own. Last year, we had days where over 50 cyclists showed up. It all depends on the weather and the difficulty of the ride.

 

Moore Cove Falls, Pisgah National Forest

Q&A

Q&A:

What’s new for 2022?

Well, last year I put together and led the rides, and it about killed me! But so many people really wanted me to do it again, so I re-focused my efforts and decided to offer two routes for each day – make one longer and presumably faster and one that was a no-drop ride. I also put out the word to ride leaders, and now we have different leaders to ride each ride. Some days we hope to have 3-4 ride leaders who will lead the groups at different paces.

Also, this year I decided to make the “event” a fundraiser to support Ukrainian Aid Organizations. So far, we’ve raised $13,800 for a variety of worthy charities to benefit the Ukrainian people.

Moore Cove Falls, Pisgah National Forest

Q&A

Q&A:

Where do the rides start?

They start at several locations around Transylvania County, including Silvermont, Cedar Mountain, Pink Beds, Oskar Blues, and Champion Park in Rosman.

Moore Cove Falls, Pisgah National Forest

Q&A

Q&A:

What will cyclists see on these routes?

Gosh, a little bit of everything. I don’t think people realize just how fantastic our roads are for cycling. Highlights include Looking Glass Falls, beautiful stretches of the French Broad River, including East Fork, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Frozen Creek, and Black Balsam, just to name a few.

Moore Cove Falls, Pisgah National Forest

Q&A

Q&A:

How can cyclists learn more about the event?

We encourage folks to join the Blue Ridge Bike Club. It’s an outstanding organization that does a lot of advocacy work for cycling throughout western North Carolina. Once you join, indicate “Transylvania County Rides” as an interest group. Then you’ll get an email update for every ride, along with a route that you can download. What’s also great about the membership is that you are covered by the Blue Ridge Bike Club’s insurance.

To find out more about cycling in Transylvania County, we invite you to visit explorebrevard.com