Carter County local to offer thrilling ride in Roan Mountain

Published 9:30 pm Thursday, July 6, 2017

When Carter County’s David Mcgee looks at Roan Mountain, he sees plenty of potential.

And that is why he decided to start Roan Mountain Bike Rental.

The idea blossomed when Mcgee’s wife, Karen Mcgee, who lived in Hawaii for 15 years, told David about a homeless gentleman in Maui who, with just a couple bikes, started a company 25 years ago giving tours on the Haleakalā volcano.

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“Now, he’s a multi-millionaire,” said Mcgee. “So, I said, ‘We have a big mountain, and it would be fun riding a bike down it.’

“We see rafters come through, and they are doing adventurous stuff,” McGee added. “We have ziplines. We see Damascus doing the Creeper Trail bikes. So why are we not doing that here? We have the perfect mountain for it.”

Right now, Mcgee’s operation is small. He has two single-gear Worksman touring cycles which have large disc brakes on the front and back wheels making it ideal for smooth riding down hill. Workman Cycles are built in both New York and South Carolina and are used by bike touring companies in Maui to make the trip down the Haleakalā volcano which is more than 10,000 feet above sea level.

Recently, Mcgee was contacted by Worksman vice president Wayne Sosin who was excited about the biking opportunities in Roan Mountain.

“I got a call directly from him, and he was excited that we were planning on doing something like this,” said Mcgee. “He told me about his bike. So he said, ‘let me get you two bikes this season.’

“That is exciting to have an American bike company involved.”

Mcgee said that riders will be in for a thrill as he shuttles them to the Carver’s Gap where they will begin their winding and scenic trip down Highway 143 en route to Jack’s Grocery. The trip, if the riders don’t stop to take in the picturesque views, takes roughly 25 minutes, Mcgee said. Mcgee also said that renters have the option of starting at Jack’s Grocery and riding through the Roan Mountain State Park on their way to Cloudland.

To rent one of the bikes, it is $25 a person which includes a shuttle up from the Roan Mountain Community Park to Carver’s Gap and a ride back to the community park once the trip is over. Roan Mountain Bike Rental will be ready for business on Wednesday, July 12. To set up a trip, call (575)-694-0734. To see a GoPro video of the trip from Carver’s Gap on one of Mcgee’s bikes visit the Roan Mountain Bike Rental Facebook page.

According to Mcgee, the future of bike tours on the Roan could be bright.

“Haleakalā has a thousand people a day go down that mountain. So, the sky’s the limit.”