Grade percent on Skyline Drive

Discussion in 'Recumbent bicycles' started by Pete, May 12, 2003.

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  1. Pete

    Pete Guest

    Can anyone tell me what the grade percent is from Front Royal, VA to Big Meadows on Skyline Drive? I
    know that the 50 some odd miles from Front Royal to Big Meadows, 35 miles of it is up hill. Some of
    those grades look a bit steep

    Thanks

    ofwaih
     
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  2. Cletus Lee

    Cletus Lee Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    > Can anyone tell me what the grade percent is from Front Royal, VA to Big Meadows on Skyline Drive?
    > I know that the 50 some odd miles from Front Royal to Big Meadows, 35 miles of it is up hill. Some
    > of those grades look a bit steep

    This is a portion of the BRP/SLD that I have not traversed by bike. I can only infer from what I
    know of other parts of the BRL/SLD. The roads are designed to accomodate vehicles towing travel
    trailers (Note Bene: These will be your biggest nemesis). As such, the steepest grades will be
    8-10%. I don't expect that you will find many of those. However, a 5% grade can go for 'miles' on
    the BRP/SLD.
    --

    Cletus D. Lee Bacchetta Giro Lightning Voyager http://www.clee.org
    - Bellaire, TX USA -
     
  3. R.White

    R.White Guest

    [email protected] (Pete) wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > Can anyone tell me what the grade percent is from Front Royal, VA to Big Meadows on Skyline Drive?
    > I know that the 50 some odd miles from Front Royal to Big Meadows, 35 miles of it is up hill. Some
    > of those grades look a bit steep

    This website has a graph of the elevation changes and may help you some.

    <http://www.zinnware.com/HighAdv/HighAdv_Skyline20000902.html>

    From the webpage:

    "Joe Kaehler of the High Adventure Club completed a 1-day, 105-mile bike ride in September of 2000
    on the Skyline Drive in Virginia. The ride began in Front Royal, Virginia and ended in Rock Fish
    Gap.Joe conquered the ride that included 15,707 total feet climbed in just 10 hours 15 minutes."
     
  4. Pete

    Pete Guest

    Cletus...thanks,

    I was told the steepest grade was 7%. I have traveled by car and motorcycle on sld many times and
    that didn't seem right. The grades look much steeper than that. I would like to try biking the
    drive on a TE and need to know what to expect. I should be able to do the 5% grade without any
    problem. I have my bike geared pretty low. I just want to be able to make it from Front Royal to
    Big Meadows in one day.

    ofwaih

    Cletus Lee <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    > > Can anyone tell me what the grade percent is from Front Royal, VA to Big Meadows on Skyline
    > > Drive? I know that the 50 some odd miles from Front Royal to Big Meadows, 35 miles of it is up
    > > hill. Some of those grades look a bit steep
    >
    > This is a portion of the BRP/SLD that I have not traversed by bike. I can only infer from what I
    > know of other parts of the BRL/SLD. The roads are designed to accomodate vehicles towing travel
    > trailers (Note Bene: These will be your biggest nemesis). As such, the steepest grades will be
    > 8-10%. I don't expect that you will find many of those. However, a 5% grade can go for 'miles' on
    > the BRP/SLD.
     
  5. In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    > Cletus...thanks,
    >
    > I was told the steepest grade was 7%. I have traveled by car and motorcycle on sld many times and
    > that didn't seem right. The grades look much steeper than that. I would like to try biking the
    > drive on a TE and need to know what to expect. I should be able to do the 5% grade without any
    > problem. I have my bike geared pretty low. I just want to be able to make it from Front Royal to
    > Big Meadows in one day.

    Firstly, 7% is steeper than the numbers imply. A grade of 7% is 4°. A 12% grade (too damned steep)
    is ~7°. The 'angle of repose' of loose sand grains is ~30° or a 58% grade.

    Three months after I got my RANS Stratus, I climbed out of the Shenandoah Valley and along the BRP
    to Afton Mtn. Admittedly, I did not have my bent legs yet and the low gear on the Stratus was
    about 24g.i.

    http://www.clee.org/BikeTrips/default.cfm?main=va_trip_sept_99.cfm

    Although I had to stop once to rest before the parkway entrance, I did make it up that climb from
    Sherando. It was the only hill on that day trip that I had to rest on the way up. I did other climbs
    with the Stratus fully loaded for tours. I never got around to putting on a lower granny.

    I don't think you should have much problem with a TE even loaded for touring. Sometimes no knowing
    what to expect is the better option.
    --
    Cletus D. Lee Bacchetta Giro Lightning Voyager http://www.clee.org
    - Bellaire, TX USA -
     
  6. According to TOPO USA there is ~8170 ft of climbing in those 50 miles for an average 5% grade and
    163ft per mile of climbing - a substantial amount in anyone's book. The most difficult portion looks
    like a 3.6 mile stretch from Rte 211 to Pinnacle Peak which climbs 1400 feet for a 9% grade. Within
    that section is a 2/10 mile bump with what Delorme says is 23%. I take these short sections of road
    in Topo with a grain of salt, though. I think the exact placement of the road is sometimes off and
    for short readings, the
    % grade could be off. I do believe it is very accurate for readings of
    several miles and more. I've done the Oak Creek canyon climb from Sonoma to Flagstaff, AZ and Topo
    says there's a 20+% section of that climb, but it was really a very easy climb, on a DF at least.

    Hope this is of some help.

    Gene

    "Pete" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Can anyone tell me what the grade percent is from Front Royal, VA to Big Meadows on Skyline Drive?
    > I know that the 50 some odd miles from Front Royal to Big Meadows, 35 miles of it is up hill. Some
    > of those grades look a bit steep
    >
    > Thanks
    >
    > ofwaih
     
  7. Schodges

    Schodges Guest

    I did this on a DF with about 20# baggage some time back and the hills are not so much steep as
    long. Note the web site referenced as to the 105mi ride: he logged about 5.5-6.5 mph up hill. Most
    bent riders will not do this well, so you might see 4.5 to 5.5mph, which makes 35mi of uphill a very
    long day. Those 40+mph downhills only last a few minutes by comparison. Contour map also shows the
    numerous up/down roller coaster terrain after the first long hill that is typical of eastern
    mountain roads. There will be a 'lot' of cars, and the Harley clubs exhaust and noise get old: 20
    Hawgs blatting by leaving smoke and gasoline in their wake when you are slogging away at 5mph gets
    tiring. Most drivers don't know about gearing down on the down hills so you get eau de brake shoes
    later in the day. Steve
     
  8. Pete

    Pete Guest

    I thank everyone for their input. All of the information that is coming in from this thread seems to
    be more of an accurate picture of the true elevation of SLD. If everything works out I will be
    trying this later on in the summer. The 23% grade for a short distance is what I remember while
    traveling the drive. The 5% grade average can be somewhat deceiving. Anyway that you look at it, it
    will be a beautiful ride.

    Cletus, do you ever go back to VA and travel the drive?

    ofwaih (pete)

    Cletus D. Lee <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    > > Cletus...thanks,
    > >
    > > I was told the steepest grade was 7%. I have traveled by car and motorcycle on sld many times
    > > and that didn't seem right. The grades look much steeper than that. I would like to try biking
    > > the drive on a TE and need to know what to expect. I should be able to do the 5% grade without
    > > any problem. I have my bike geared pretty low. I just want to be able to make it from Front
    > > Royal to Big Meadows in one day.
    >
    > Firstly, 7% is steeper than the numbers imply. A grade of 7% is 4°. A 12% grade (too damned steep)
    > is ~7°. The 'angle of repose' of loose sand grains is ~30° or a 58% grade.
    >
    > Three months after I got my RANS Stratus, I climbed out of the Shenandoah Valley and along the BRP
    > to Afton Mtn. Admittedly, I did not have my bent legs yet and the low gear on the Stratus was
    > about 24g.i.
    >
    > http://www.clee.org/BikeTrips/default.cfm?main=va_trip_sept_99.cfm
    >
    > Although I had to stop once to rest before the parkway entrance, I did make it up that climb from
    > Sherando. It was the only hill on that day trip that I had to rest on the way up. I did other
    > climbs with the Stratus fully loaded for tours. I never got around to putting on a lower granny.
    >
    > I don't think you should have much problem with a TE even loaded for touring. Sometimes no knowing
    > what to expect is the better option.
     
  9. Cletus Lee

    Cletus Lee Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    > The 23% grade for a short distance is what I remember while traveling the drive. The 5% grade
    > average can be somewhat deceiving. Anyway that you look at it, it will be a beautiful ride.

    I will be very surprised if you find any major road in Va that has a 23% grade. If it had no steep
    grade sign (at the top for trucks) it was less than 12%

    > Cletus, do you ever go back to VA and travel the drive?

    Last May after MoM I stayed for a few days at the Peaks of Otter Lodge and did some day trips
    on the BRP.

    http://www.clee.org/BikeTrips/default.cfm?main=MoM.cfm http://www.clee.org/MoM2002/index.htm

    --

    Cletus D. Lee Bacchetta Giro Lightning Voyager http://www.clee.org
    - Bellaire, TX USA -
     
  10. Freewheeling

    Freewheeling Guest

    Cletus:

    I did Bike Virginia last year, and there were definitely a few places with a grade that steep. I
    walked once. There was also a century ride on the BRP that I skipped, but people tell me it had one
    climb *up to* the parkway of around 20%. Once you get up to the ridge it's not so bad. (Relatively
    speaking, that is.) Even having skipped the century, the ride into Hillendale was brutal. (Hence the
    name, I guess.) Big climb, big downhill, big climb, big downhill, big climb, big downhill... and I
    eventually decided I was caught in the Twilight Zone and really wasn't making any forward progress
    at all. And then they ran out of food at dinner (although I was there early enough that I was fed).
    There were a lot of unhappy campers.

    --Scott

    On Tue, 13 May 2003 07:05:33 -0500, Cletus Lee <[email protected]> wrote:

    >In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    >> The 23% grade for a short distance is what I remember while traveling the drive. The 5% grade
    >> average can be somewhat deceiving. Anyway that you look at it, it will be a beautiful ride.
    >
    >I will be very surprised if you find any major road in Va that has a 23% grade. If it had no steep
    >grade sign (at the top for trucks) it was less than 12%
    >
    >> Cletus, do you ever go back to VA and travel the drive?
    >
    >Last May after MoM I stayed for a few days at the Peaks of Otter Lodge and did some day trips
    >on the BRP.
    >
    >http://www.clee.org/BikeTrips/default.cfm?main=MoM.cfm http://www.clee.org/MoM2002/index.htm
     
  11. Pete,

    > Can anyone tell me what the grade percent is from Front Royal, VA to Big Meadows on Skyline Drive?
    > I know that the 50 some odd miles from Front Royal to Big Meadows, 35 miles of it is up hill. Some
    > of those grades look a bit steep

    My wife and I rode our 26/26 Screamer tandem on that very route on May 22, 1999. I was in the best
    shape of my life back then. We had an 18" low gear and we used it a lot! We averaged 8.2 mph for the
    whole distance. My stoker, with her drag brake, limited our downhill speeds to 35 mph, but I doubt
    our average would have been more than 1 mph faster had she let me risk our lives. :)

    I have a lot of miles on the SD and BRP. There are no grades in excess of 10% for more than a few
    anaerobic yards that I know of. Getting up *onto* the route from the sides is another matter,
    however! If you go down off the SD or BRP into the valleys, expect long 15-20% climbs.

    Warren
     
  12. John Foltz

    John Foltz Guest

    Freewheeling wrote:
    >
    > I did Bike Virginia last year, and there were definitely a few places with a grade that steep.
    > (snippage here) And then they ran out of food at dinner (although I was there early enough that I
    > was fed). There were a lot of unhappy campers.
    >
    I did Cycle North Carolina in '01, and they did the same thing to us there. Burn 8000 Kcal/day in
    the mountains, and they want to only give you a 1500 Kcal dinner. Gee, three of *those* meals will
    get you about half of what you need! How NOT to get return customers!
    --

    John Foltz --- O _ Baron --- _O _ V-Rex 24/63 --- _\\/\-%)
    _________(_)`=()___________________(_)= (_)_____
     
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