The story below is from our September/October 2015 issue. For the DIGITALLY ENHANCED VERSION, download our FREE iOS app or view our digital edition for FREE today!
What better time than in the cooling air of fall to get outside and try something new.
For several years now, Roanoke has marketed itself as the premier East Coast mountain adventure town, thanks, in large part, to Pete Eshelman and the RoanokeOutside.com franchise. While thousands of visitors come to the city annually for events like the Blue Ridge Marathon and GO Fest, other natural playgrounds like Carvins Cove, the Roanoke River and the Appalachian Trail attract thousands more. James Revercomb, along with his father Jim, foresaw a perfect business opportunity for those visitors: a service that not only rents mountain bikes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) to locals and visitors, but also provides shuttles to the various parks and natural resources.
Nestled in the River House complex in Wasena, Roanoke Mountain Adventures (RMA) is geared toward “making public land accessible for visitors and residents alike,” as Revercomb explains, and offers four kinds of bikes (mountain—hardtail and full suspension—road, and greenway-specific), inflatable SUPs, kayaks, and tubes for rent. It also offers shuttles from hotels to Carvins Cove, Explore Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and to put-ins on the Roanoke River so that visitors can easily transport their rental gear to their destination of choice. Further, Revercomb and his crew provide one-on-one or group instruction for mountain biking, fly fishing and SUPing. In short, RMA is your one-stop-shop for all things outdoors in the Roanoke valley.
Though SUP instruction and rentals have been the most popular activity, Revercomb is expanding his mountain bike offerings via a partnership with PlayRoanoke (Roanoke City Parks & Rec), to include shuttles and rentals for downhill mountain biking at Bryce Bike Park at Bryce Resort. He is also concocting a weeknight service that will shuttle downhill mountain bikers from the base of Mill Mountain to the top for a series of happy hour downhill runs. In short, Revercomb is interested in expanding recreational opportunities for everyone in Roanoke, be they visitors or residents.
After spending a few years in Wyoming as a Class III and IV raft guide on the Snake River and as a fly fishing instructor, Revercomb said it was “a no-brainer to move back to Roanoke” to open an outdoor outfitter. “For an urban area, it’s really rare to have this many trails in your backyard, let alone the awesome blueway of the Roanoke River.” Between the “outdoor synergy,” as he puts it, in the Wasena River House of River Rock Climbing Gym and the Wasena Tap Room, and the natural resources that form the core of the Roanoke regional area, RMA is poised to continue to shape Roanoke into the east coast’s number one outdoor city.
Roanoke Mountain Adventures
806 Wasena Ave, SW, Roanoke
Shred New Trails
Interested in checking out some of the best mountain biking on the east coast? Look no further than Carvins Cove. With now more than 55 miles of trails and more in the works, the cove offers visitors from all over the United States a wonderful set of rocky descents, flowy berms and world-class climbs.
One of the newest trails is Rattlin Run, a 2.2-mile expert-rated trail finished in December by the Pathfinders for Greenways Midweek Trail crew, that connects hardcore cyclists from the Bennett Springs parking lot to the Songbird trail. “A bike-and-hike mini epic adventure,” as Ron Glowczynski, a local mountain bike enthusiast describes it, Rattlin Run will test your endurance and skills on its rocky, rooty, and downright technical jaunt through the forest.
Looking for something a little smoother? The New Rock-N-Roll trail that will connect Arrowhead and Schoolhouse is currently under construction but can be used as an out-and-back until it is completed. A two-mile “flow trail,” Rock-N-Roll enhances the beginner- and intermediate-friendly nature of the lower trails at Carvins Cove and offers single speeders and those looking for speed a chance to pump their legs. The effort to build this trail is being led by Pathfinders for Greenways. To learn how to volunteer, visit greenways.org.