A few weeks back a couple of friends of mine and I took a weekend bike trip from southern Ohio to southern Kentucky and the towns of Pineville and Middlesboro. Kentucky. The purpose of the trip was two fold. We wanted to ride the fantastic roads through the Central-Eastern part of Kentucky and we wanted to attend the first annual Pine Mountain Hillclimb event. The Hillclimb at this point is limited only to race prepared cars, of which they have many classes, and no motorcycles as of yet. They use 1.7 miles of wonderfully smooth and twisty paved road that runs through a section of Pine Mountain State park. The event is jointly organized by the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and the Backroads of Appalachia. It is the BoA that I’m going to focus on in this article. The BoA puts on many events through the year, mainly geared toward motorcycle riders but with some car events too, that are designed to draw mototourism to a very depressed part of our country. But one that every motorcycle rider should visit, as the roads, the scenery, the attractions are some of the best to be found anywhere. From their own website, I’ll let the BoA tell you about themsleves…
“Backroads of Appalachia leverages motorsports tourism to address some of the most pressing issues in Appalachia. Our theory of change takes a 3-pronged approach:
Economic Development: Backroads leverages tourism to improve the economy and revitalize coal towns in Appalachia. We map, trademark, and market motorsports trails in Eastern Kentucky that connect to Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Ohio.
Addiction Recovery Workforce Training: We hire women in addiction recovery programs and provide them with job training in careers related to tourism, special events, and entrepreneurship.
Supporting Local Businesses & Community Organizations: We support small, locally owned businesses, entrepreneurs, and community organizations, especially those in impoverished rural communities hit hardest by the coal industry downturn and COVID19
We choose beautiful Appalachian highways traveling through distressed former coal towns to promote tourism. Our headquarters is based in Lynch, KY in Harlan County— one of the poorest counties in Kentucky. As of December 2019, Harlan County had an unemployment rate triple the national average. This town that once boomed with 10,000 residents now has less than 500. Like Lynch, we find distressed towns along beautiful Appalachian backroads and infuse new tourism dollars supporting local businesses, providing jobs, relieving poverty, and improving quality of life for low-income residents.”
The organizations website can be found here: Backroads of Appalachia.Org
On their website you will find information about the different events that they have organized throughout the year, along with information about ROUTES, places to Eat, and places to STAY within the region. So not only are they doing a great job for the community, they are also providing a valuable resource service for those of us that want to travel to the area.
A couple of the routes:
I highly recommend checking out their website and plan a weekend trip to the area sometime this summer. You’ll find some really great riding, and you’ll meet some really great people too!