No car needed: Beautiful biking adventures await right outside your door.
You may not know this, but there are some pretty great biking adventures just outside Morgantown.
“The cycling outside my door is world-class,” says Don Dickerson, a Morgantown cycling enthusiast who devotes time most days to long rides and has ridden in multiple states and countries.
When Dickerson started cycling seriously 30 years ago, he learned about the training routes the WVU cycling club used. Those routes are still enjoyed by WVU and Morgantown-area cyclists today.
Ready to up your cycling game? The main route follows the river north through Westover and Granville out to Greene County in the southwest corner of Pennsylvania. “You cross the Westover bridge, make the first right”—that takes you off of busy Dunkard Avenue, Dickerson says, onto a wide road that skirts the river and ends at W.V. Route 100 in Granville—“then follow 100 out through Maidsville.” Past Maidsville, you can veer off for the 25-mile “Taylortown Loop,” or stay on 100 to U.S. Route 19 through Mount Morris to Little Shannon Run Road, Kirby Road, and back to U.S. 19 for a 38-mile loop.
But those are just the often-used routes, Dickerson says. “There are hundreds of miles of secondary roads that are underutilized in Greene County, a whole maze of low-traffic roads. You can’t get bored.” He compares it favorably with northern Italy, a cycling mecca. “We have the same infrastructure they have there—a developed secondary road system with low traffic, plus good scenery.”
Longtime Morgantown cyclist Gunnar Shogren agrees. “We don’t have super-long sustained climbs, but if you want to ride nice roads, make neat loops all over the place, and have challenging terrain, we have it right here.” Shogren raced professionally through the ’90s and holds national championships in cyclo-cross, road, and mountain biking and says, “I lived and trained in Morgantown the whole time.”
Shogren works at the Pathfinder sporting goods store downtown and has seen interest in all types of cycling grow during COVID. For cyclists considering these longer routes, he has a few tips. The industrial vehicles on W.V. 100 can seem intimidating but, in his experience, the drivers give wide berth. Beyond 100, the roads are wide and smooth. And his best advice is to make yourself visible and make it social—ride with friends or with a cycling group like Country Road Cyclists.
If you prefer remote adventures with minimal vehicle interaction, we have that, too. “Worldwide, the growth segment in cycling is gravel,” Dickerson says. “The gravel roads in this area mostly connect up with each other, so that network expands the secondary road system even more.” He describes great rides he’s had recently in Preston County, to our east, and in the triangle between Route 19 and the Mon River south of Westover. “You can have these adventures right out your door here.”