Blue Ridge Rambler Mixed Terrain - Lizard Head Cycling Guides
   
107 Aurum St, Box 855, Ophir, CO 81426 970.728.5891 info@LizardHeadCyclingGuides.com

Blue Ridge Rambler Mixed Terrain

Please click here to jump to the Overview section with all tour details including pricing.

Blue Ridge Rambler Mixed Terrain: Highlights

Blowing Rock, North Carolina

Fonta Flora Brewery – Whippoorwill Farm

Downtown Asheville, North Carolina

Along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Sierra Nevada Taproom & Restaurant

Blue Ridge Rambler Mixed Terrain: Dates

Potential tour dates are listed below and not all tour dates will run. Lock in your preferred tour date early as unopened tour dates will be closed. Please see the Spring/Autumn Tour Calendar and the Summer Tour Calendar for confirmed departures. Any unopened date can be a Custom Week (9 riders required). Please contact us via email or call 970.728.5891

To easily register for a particular tour, please click the Book Now! link after the tour date listed below. This will select the tour name and the appropriate date on the registration form.

2023 Tour Dates

Note: This tour meets on Saturday and then runs from Sunday to Thursday

Tour Status Notes: NO STATUS = Date Set, no riders have signed up. TOUR OPENED = Tour Opened, rider minimums not met. TOUR A GO! = Tour is Go, rider minimums met. SOLD OUT = Tour Full, rider maximums met.

Blue Ridge Rambler Mixed Terrain: Overview

Reptile Rewards

Tour Length: 5-Days Cycling/5-Nights Lodging

Meeting/Ending Town: Fletcher, North Carolina. Fly into and out of Asheville Regional Airport (AVL).

Total Miles: 250 miles with 57% paved and 43% gravel. Additional mileage and gravel options are available.

Ability Level: Upper Intermediate (3) , Advanced (3/4)

Tour Cost: $3,095 per person. Add $495 per person to this Tour Cost for a private room each night of the tour (includes 5-Nights). Please see our Reptile Rewards & Tour Discounts page for more information on Group Discounts. Please note that for discounts to apply the tour minimum must be met.

Bike Rental Discounts: Get a $200 Bike Rental Discount for tours 5 days or more, or get a $100 Bike Rental Discount for tours 4 days or less for new registrations made before February 1, 2023. Please make sure to mention this offer when you register.
New registrations only. Not stackable with other any other discounts or promotions.

Tour Includes: 5 days of guide service, most meals (except dinner nights 0, 2, & 3), park service fees, energy food, liquid refreshments, shuttles, and mechanical support. Alcoholic beverages, bike rental, and massage (if available) are additional.

Lodging for 5 Nights: (subject to change)

Meeting Hotel and Ending Hotel reservations and costs are NOT included unless specified otherwise. Guests are on-their-own to make reservations at the Meeting Hotel or Ending Hotel, or other nearby hotels.

Gravel Bike Rentals

NOTE: The make, model, and specifications of rental bikes may differ from what is described below. Please contact us if you have any specific needs for a rental bike or have any questions about rental bikes.

Lizard Head Cycling Guides is proud to rent the Scott 2023 Addict 30 which is light, can handle rough terrain, fits chunky tires and has enough mounts to carry all the liquids and freeze-dried chicken curry you want. What's really important, though is what this bike allows you to do. Now, perhaps more than ever, the Addict Gravel 30 is your ticket to adventure when you need it most.

The Addict 30 features: Addict Gravel Disc HMF Carbon Gravel geometry, Shimano GRX 22 speed drivetrain, Shimano BR-RX400 hydraulic disc brakes, Schwalbe G-ONE Bite Performance 700x45C tires. Approx. Weight: 20.3 / 9.2 kg (without pedals)

Learn More: Click Here to learn more about our Gravel Bike Rentals including pricing.

If you have any further questions, please read more on our Rental Bikes FAQ page. You can also email us at info@lizardheadcyclingguides.com or call us at 970.728.5891

Meals On Tour

Lizard Head Cycling Guides provides most meals on all tours (unless otherwise noted) including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Guides will prepare a daily lunch en route for nearly every tour, both road and off-road, as well as provide nutritious snacks at periodic aid stations during the day.

Most of our road tours utilize local restaurants for all meals and occasionally guides may prepare a dinner or two during a tour. Due to the nature of being "off the grid", most of our off-road tours feature guide prepared meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. FUN NOTE: When guides prepare a meal in camp and the guests sit around and watch, this is called "Guide TV". :)

We also pride ourselves on being able to cater to specific dietary requests and needs, so rest assured that you will be able to get the nutrition that works best for you during your tour. Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan, or a someone who loves it all – we will keep you well fed during the tour!

Lunches: Lizard Head Cycling Guides prepares healthy lunches to keep you going. We will serve you fresh organic fruits and veggies, salads, hummus, sandwich fixings, nuts, gourmet cheeses and, of course, plenty of salty/sweet snacks such as chips and cookies.

Dinners: On our road tours, Lizard Head Cycling sources our favorite restaurants in each town that we visit. Our guides focus on establishments that offer fresh and local ingredients and guests choose whatever they desire to eat off the menu including: appetizer, salad, entrée, and of course, dessert... yum! :) Also, while on tour if a guest wants to dine early before the group and go to bed, this is fine. We understand that on some days sleep is the most important post-ride element.

Ability Level: Can I Ride This Tour?

Definition of Ability Levels

= Intermediate (2/3) Rides and/or takes spin classes 1 to 3 times a week for a total of 50 or more miles.
= Upper Intermediate (3) Rides and/or takes spin classes 2 to 4 times a week for a total of 75 or more miles.
= Advanced (3/4) Rides and/or takes spin classes 3 to 5 times a week for a total of 100 or more miles. Has ridden multi-day tours and done a century ride.
= Expert (4) Rides 4 or more times per week totaling 150 or more miles. Rides E.F.I. with regularity. Has done numerous multi-day tours, century rides and races.

How Fit do I Have to Be? If one month prior to the tour, you can ride 2 to 3 times a week equaling a total of 75 or more miles a week, you'll do just fine. We like to jokingly say that "one is ready for a Lizard Head Cycling Tour when they are finished with tour" and this is true! The only way to simulate a week long bike tour is to go on a week long tour.

Our average rider age is 55 years. These are bike tours, not races so we take our time to stop, take pictures and see the sights. We have all day to reach our destination and most riders take "bumps" at some points. We offer reduced mileage options for each day. Of course if someone wants to ride E.F.I. (Every Freaking Inch), we love to show them all the extra climbs, loops and hidden canyons that can be included!

Do the Bump! Daily mileage options allow cyclists of varying abilities to enjoy this tour. One of our favorite options is to give cyclists a "bump" via the support vehicle, or a 10 to 20 mile lift down the road representing an hour of pedal time. After the bump the rider is "off the front" and riding at his or her own pace without feeling they are being left behind the group. They'll then have time to linger and take in the spectacular scenery. All cyclists come together in time for lunch. Afterwards, cyclists can take another bump and/or continue riding.

Seamless Mileage Options: Lizard Head Cycling Guides designs multiple mileage options for each tour – something we're well known for in our business. This technique is similar to heliskiing in that one does not ski everything, they ski the best. 🙂

Slow or Fast? Many cyclists who sign up for our tours have worried themselves silly about not being able to keep up, but then they're surprised to find that all the worrying was about nothing. They do just fine! Slow and Fast only exist relative to other cyclists. Speed does not matter as long as one is moving on the bike. As long as one is moving, they are truly going fast enough.

If you have questions about your ability to ride this tour, please contact our office via email or call us at 970.728.5891 - we'll more than happy to guide you!

Please also see this blog post for more information.

Overall Route Map

Below is an example of the daily routes for this tour and are subject to change based on season, available accommodations, road closures, and other factors. The actual routes will be made available to registered participants before their tour, so please view these routes as a general outline as to what to expect.

Blue Ridge Rambler Mixed Terrain: Itinerary*

*Tour itineraries are subject to change and modification based on the group, available accommodations, road construction, road closures, and other unforeseen circumstances including weather, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, landslides and/or other acts of nature. Also, the distances and elevation profiles shown below may not reflect the actual distances and elevations while on tour as these are provided here to give an idea as to the anticipated mileage and terrain. Please view this itinerary, the distances, and elevation profiles as a general outline as to what to expect while on this tour.

Day 0: Arrival in Asheville Area

If you are flying in for this tour, book flights to Asheville Regional Airport (AVL). Lizard Head provides a Day 0 late afternoon shuttle from Fletcher, North Carolina/Asheville Regional Airport to the Night 0 hotel in Morganton, North Carolina and then a post-tour shuttle on the last day of the tour back to Fletcher, North Carolina/Asheville Regional Airport.

If you are you driving to this tour, you can leave your car at long-term parking at Asheville Regional Airport. At the end of the tour we will shuttle you back to Asheville Regional Airport.

Please refer to your tour confirmation documents for detailed logistics and meeting hotel information.

Suggestion: We recommend that guests either arrive a few days early or stay a few days after the tour in the Asheville area to explore this beautiful region.

Day 1: Morganton to Blowing Rock Brewing
42 miles with up to 4,835 feet of climbing (50% paved/50% gravel)

The tour begins early morning from the small town of Morganton, North Carolina, located in the Catawba River valley in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The first day’s route proceeds north along mostly gravel roads within Pisgah National Forest. The first 36 miles remain relatively flat along rolling terrain, then comes the final 5 mile ascent climbing Elk Ridge up to Blowing Rock, North Carolina where we spend our first night and where post-ride libations await at Blowing Rock Brewing.

Elevation Profile: 42 miles +4,835 feet / -2,455 feet

Day 2: Blowing Rock to Fonta Flora Brewery
52 miles with up to 5,575 feet of climbing (30% paved/70% gravel)

The second day of the tour offers a more back country experience along mostly gravel Appalachian roads. Starting from Blowing Rock, the first few miles offer a blistering descent down through Boyd Gap. The gravel comes early in the ride and ascends for the next 20 miles past Little Lost Cove Cliffs and Big Lost Cove Ridge. Passing through the small village of Jonas Ridge and into Pisgah National Forest, we enter the Linville Gorge Wilderness and enjoy a 14 mile mostly downhill gravel descent along Old Highway 105.

With the last few miles along paved roads, we reach the end of the ride at Fonta Flora Brewery to sample the local brews. Following this we shuttle a short distance back up the Appalachian Ridge to the small town of Little Switzerland, North Carolina for this evening’s lodging. Tonight guests are on-their-own for dinner in the pub or on-site restaurant.

Elevation Profile: 52 miles +5,575 feet / -7,850 feet

Day 3: Little Switzerland to Wicked Weed Brewing (Asheville)
63 miles with up to 7,645 feet of climbing (100% paved)

Even though we hit no gravel, today will be the most challenging of the tour with a net gain of 5,100 feet of elevation in the first 25 miles – that’s nearly a mile! From Little Switzerland we set out along the Blue Ridge Parkway for most of the riding today and at around 22 miles get to the base of Mount Mitchell which at 6,684 feet is the highest peak of the Appalachian Mountains and the highest peak in mainland eastern North America.

From the peak of Mount Mitchell, the view is spectacular! But from here it is quite literally all downhill with a net loss of over 6,000 feet over the final 33 miles! The last miles of descending is along a local’s favorite road – Town Mountain Road – a beautiful road with multiple twists and turns that deposits riders into the downtown district of Asheville where we end the epic day at Wicked Weed Brewing.

With multiple breweries, pubs, and restaurants in the downtown area, guests are free to enjoy a casual and relaxing evening on the town on-their-own.

Elevation Profile: 63 miles +7,645 feet / -8,290 feet

Day 4: Asheville to Oskar Blues Brewery
60 miles with up to 5,900 feet of climbing (50% paved/50% gravel)

The adventure continues today as we say goodbye to Asheville and depart on bike from downtown, through Biltmore Village, then through Biltmore Forest for a short jaunt along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Soon turning off the parkway, we make our way back onto gravel roads along Bent Creek Trail up to Bent Creek Gap where we rejoin the Blue Ridge Parkway for the next dozen miles. From here we descend down Pisgah Highway and then divert onto Headwater Road, a gravel forest road passing through Cave Ridge Gap and Gumstand Gap.

The final few miles are along more dual-track forest roads making our way into Brevard, North Carolina and eventually ending at the Oskar Blues Brewery Taproom. After a celebratory brew, we shuttle a short distance south into the heart of downtown Brevard for our lodging and to enjoy the local dining scene with a final group dinner.

Elevation Profile: 55 miles +5,900 feet / -5,980 feet

Day 5: Brevard to Sierra Nevada Taproom
36 miles with up to 3,060 feet of climbing (43% paved/57% gravel)

On this final day, the morning riding starts from Brevard and diverts back onto the Art Loeb Trail. Taking a turn onto Avery Creek Road and then onto Yellow Gap Road, the route turns to dual-track gravel for (mostly) the next 20 miles. After reaching Yellow Gap, the remainder of the ride is a descent through the North Mills River Recreation Area where we meander the final miles to end our day, and the tour, at the Sierra Nevada Taproom & Restaurant.

After lunch and a well deserved brew, we shuttle a few short miles back to where we began in Fletcher, North Carolina and Asheville Regional Airport.

Suggestion: We recommend that guests either arrive a few days early or stay a few days after the tour in the Asheville area to explore this beautiful region.

Elevation Profile: 36 miles +3,060 feet / -3,115 feet

Blue Ridge Rambler Mixed Terrain: Logistics & FAQs

General Tour & Cancellation Policies

Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with all of our tour and cancellation policies, which can be found by clicking here.

Travel Insurance

If you have not already, now would be a great time to consider adding travel insurance to your tour. You are welcome to use any travel insurance company you would like. We recommend Generali/Trip Mate.

Generally, if contracting COVID causes clients to cancel or interrupt their tour, trip insurance companies would treat it as any other illness as long as it is contracted after the insurance was purchased. Please check your individual plan documentation for details. Please note that quarantine is usually only covered if clients are actually sick with COVID. If a state requires quarantine upon arrival because of standardized state law, coverage is generally not covered. Again, check your individual plan documentation for details.

American Guests - use this link: http://www.generalitravelinsurance.com/get-a-quote.html?partner=LIZA0855

  • The Premium Plan is the only plan which offers Pre-Existing coverage so long as the plan is purchased prior to Final Payment.
  • The Premium Plan is the only plan that offers an optional Cancel For Any Reason - the policy must be purchased within 24 hours of initial trip deposit, the full trip cost must be insured, and if they cancel for Any Reason, it must be 48 hours prior to departure, and the reimbursement for an Any Reason claim is 60% of pre-paid, insured, non-refundable trip cost.
  • Customer Service can be reached at 1-800-874-2442 for coverage questions and policy modifications or to purchase by phone. Agency Code: LIZA0855

Canadian Guests - use this link: https://tripmate.catravelins.ca/?utm_source=lizardhead

 
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