Pedaling the Gap

We celebrated National Bike Travel Weekend by pedaling from Furman University to our beautiful Jones Gap State Park, camping out, and returning the next day.

Bicycle Adventurers: Tom and Dave Johnson (a.k.a. “the Bros”)

When: June 4–5, 2016 during National Bike Travel Weekend.

Accommodations: Our tents at beautiful site #5 at Jones Gap State Park

Distance: 27 miles each way. The way up gains 400 feet in elevation, and more importantly, over 1,400 feet of total climbing on a hot and humid day was exhausting.

Bonus tip for this adventure:

  • When you arrive hot and tired, find a good pool in the cool river and sit a spell. It does wonders!
  • Also, when you are only going to be out one night, prepare a foil dinner and freeze it prior to departure. Dave made a Mediterranean chicken with vegetable dinner that was by far the best meal I have eaten while camping!

Day One

We were excited to find that our first self-chosen tour route using the cycling option on Google Maps’ Directions was just what we had hoped for: beautiful scenery on back roads with little traffic except for a short segment on Highway 11.

When we arrived at the state park, the ranger told us we were his heroes for having biked up, and a local news film crew happened to be there and asked to film our arrival.

Day Two

We bumped into all sorts of friendly, chatty people and were amazed at the common links we had with them. The only guy we saw in a tiny rural area happened to be preparing to move to Ecuador, where Dave lived for many years. They exchanged notes on common places there that they have both been to. The guy at the Swamp Rabbit Brewery who served us our celebratory beer at the conclusion was a big bicycle enthusiast and wanted to know all about our trip, as did many others while we were there. Four young people asked about our trip and then said we were “inspirational.” :)

Your favorite local bike shop? I love the Greenville REI bike shop. Their mechanics do great work, and they are experienced cyclists themselves who can offer great advice.

Bike overnight tips and tricks? We did this trip with my new handlebar bag with its clear plastic sleeve at the top for maps. It made navigation and stopping to snap some photos very easy with my camera at the ready in the bag. This was something Barb Wade of Adventure Cycling showed us in our fantastic Introduction to Road Touring event in May. 

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HOW ABOUT YOU? Inspire others by submitting your own bike overnight adventure!

2 responses so far ↓

Neil Reamer - Aug 7, 2016 at 2:56 PM

Nice over-nighter! We are from SC, in the Midlands, and getting ready to do an ~ 140 mile ride in a loop, leaving from home and returning home. The trip will include at least 4 historical spots, travel in a National Forest on beautiful quiet roads and camping in nice lightly used campgrounds! I am seriously thinking of writing it up for this site and maybe post on CGOAB also.

We recently rode the Swamp Rabbit, end to end. We have been looking at potential weekend rides that incorporate a trail such as this. This is one we could easily do, any weekend!

Thanks for posting this!

Tom Johnson - Aug 10, 2016 at 10:02 AM

Your planned trips sounds great, Neil. I'll be looking for your story on Bike Overnights.
Our next trip is a four day trek from Cleveland to Columbus (Ohio) next month.

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