An Epic Ride Around Roanoke with Stratton of Keirin Culture

IMGP0709

Recently I visited a long time friend of mine, Stratton Delaney, owner of Keirin Culture & Kazane Bikes.

My time in Roanoke was limited so we opted for a morning ride.  I was entrusted with a steel Rossin and

Stratton rode a carbon Kazane Arashi.  I had a feeling we’d be tackling some serious scenery. And we did.

Our morning started early.  We stopped by Keirin Culture. Got our bikes and cruised over to Breadcraft.

After some scones and coffee we embarked towards our first climb, Mill Mountain & the Roanoke Star.

IMGP0712

People have put on time trials here for years there. Former pro Brian Walton still has the record.

Below you see the star among the power lines. Its alluring appeal made the climb no less difficult.

IMGP0711

The vertical rise of the course is slightly over 900 feet and switched back time and again.

This always tricks you into thinking you are on the last turn.  nope. nope. still not. keep climbing…

IMGP0715

The finish line is located next to the overlook at the base of the iconic Roanoke Star that earns the town its

namesake as the “Star City of the South”.  Below you’ll see the world’s largest illuminated man-made

free-standing star.  And, to think as I crested the summit I thought it was a cell phone tower. Not quite.

IMGP0717

Obviously we’re stoked.

IMGP0716

After a refresshing almost chilly descent, we got on to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Its a National Park road that stretches from near Charlottesville, VA all the way to Asheville.

IMGP0736

Stratton claims that it’s one of he best roads in the country to ride on.  I can’t say I have ever seen better.

The views were amazing and paired with rolling terrain & well preserved pavement, I couldn’t ask for more.

Except for well, more climbing.

IMGP0722

Next was  Explore Park. It has some really good mtb trails. In fact, its a mountain biker’s dream come true.

IMGP0730

Infrequently, when we were descending so fast or climbing so hard, I managed to snap some shots.

IMGP0749

Its not hard to see the appeal here. If Rapha Continental is looking for a uniquely challenging and scenic

locale for their next East Coast stop, they need not to look any further. Roanoke really blew me away.

IMGP0718

Each climb rewarded us with yet another grand view.  And we didn’t even cover all the bases!

IMGP0741

All told it was an unreal amount of beauty and perfect dose of pain for a morning ride.

Thank you Stratton for the tour of what Roanoke’s country roads have to offer!

More photos from the ride are here and more about Stratton & Keirin Culture is here.

IMGP0733