Riding the Virginia Creeper Trail with a Handcycle
The Virginia Creeper is a very beautiful 34 mile long hiking, jogging, and cycling Trail in Western Virginia. I'll take you on a ride over that trail starting out in Abingdon, Virginia at one of the bike shops where you can rent a bicycle and shuttle ride to White Top Mountain. There you can coast 17 miles down to Damascas, VA, eat lunch, and ride another 17 gently rising miles to the Western end of the Trail where you started, Riding it on a handcycle adds some interesting twists.
They hang your bike on this trailer and take it to the top of the mountain.
It's a bike shop where you can rent bicycles, or you can ride your own bike and they will shuttle it to the top of the mountain - for a small price.
My family was shuttled to the top of the mountain and we're ready to start. You'll notice I am riding a weird vehicle. It's a One-Off handcycle. It is an off-road vehicle for people who are paralyzed from the waist down. Hand cranked.
The first section is a bit rocky and fairly steep. The upper parts of the trail go through some National Forest Park land.
There are interesting bridges over valleys and streams all along the way.
They're all very picturesque.
You see gorgeous vistas all along the way.
This is an old preserved train station close to the top of the trail.
The Creeper is a Rails to Trails project. An old, unused railroad track was ripped out and the trail was created where the track used to be.
If you can walk, you can get to the store that is located across this narrow, stepped walkway. I couldn't get there, but my wife, Betsy was able to. So she got some refreshment for us both.
Beautiful scenery along the way.
Filled with different flowers depending on the season.
You pass through people's private property, and you are expected to close gates and of course, clean up after yourself. We took a plastic sack and collected some of the trash that others had left behind.
In spite of her feigned confusion, it is difficult to lose the trail.
There are some interesting cliffs along the way.
I was the slowest of the bunch. But my pace made the trip more leisurely (and therefore more enjoyable) for everyone else.
This was one of my favorite bridges.
It was cool, but I was getting hot and tired. I wasn't used to riding the One-Off for long periods of time.
At around mile 17, we finally found some FOOD!
I'll spare you the details, but when I stopped to "go", a bunch of cows formed a semi-circle around me and watched in silence. My wife died laughing.
We're over half-way there and the trail has flattened out considerably.
The upper trail is mostly State Forest. Lower down, the land is largely owned by farmers. When you go through gates, make sure you close them, because the farmer's cows will wander off.
I haven't shown them, but the last section of the trail goes through rural areas with lots of beautiful homes.
When I got through, I was tee-totally pooped!. The One-Off handcycle is great for really bumpy areas, but for long distance rides, a more comfortable upright sitting position would be better.
We survived the trail, even if we were all really tired when we finished. We're up for another Creeper ride when fall comes. The trees will be awesome.