For cycling enthusiasts and vacationing families, the Upcountry is a great place to ride a bike and see the sights on two wheels.
Seventeen-time Tour de France rider (and Greenville resident) George Hincapie is so convinced that it’s a cyclist’s paradise that he built the Hotel Domestique, a luxury hotel in Travelers Rest that caters to cyclists with on-site bike rentals, customized bike routes for those who wish to explore on their own, and guided rides. Every fall, the hotel hosts Hincapie’s Gran Fondo bike race, with three rides of different lengths for cyclists. There’s fun for spectators, too, at the Family Festival, with plenty of food, drink, music, and cycling-themed fun for all.
Every spring, one of the biggest events at Spartanburg’s Spring Fling is the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System Criterium, an opportunity to see professional cyclists race in a closed-circuit, multi-lap race through downtown that draws large crowds every year.
You don’t have to be a professional cyclist—or even put on spandex—to enjoy the bike-friendly Upcountry, though. With eight BCycle stations throughout Greenville and five in Spartanburg and plenty of bike lanes on city streets, you can tour the Upcountry’s two biggest cities by bicycle, returning the bike to any BCycle station.
Rail trails offer longer treks on safe, paved bike paths. The Swamp Rabbit is the longest and best-known of these in the region, running from downtown Greenville to Travelers Rest, with bike rentals at either end and plenty to do and see along the nearly 20 miles. Spartanburg’s Mary Black Foundation Rail Trail is just a couple of miles long, but there are a dog park and a skate park adjacent to it, and there is a BCycle station at one end. And the seven-mile Doodle Rail Trail connects the towns of Easley and Pickens, featuring two wooden bridges and an abundance of rural scenery.
And there’s no shortage of trails for mountain bikers: Gateway Park in Travelers Rest offers a figure-8 pump track, trails, and a youth skills development track. Paris Mountain State Park in Greenville, Croft State Park in Spartanburg, and Sadlers Creek State Park in Anderson, and Chau Ram County Park in Westminster offer mixed-use trails for mountain bikers.
Whether you’re on a road, a trail, or a bike path, being on two wheels is a great way to see the Upcountry!
By Sharon Purvis, a freelance writer based in Duncan. See more of her work at SharonPurvisWrites.com.