A Cycling Enthusiast’s Guide to Greenville, South Carolina

“There are just so many little backroads, so many different ways, loops, and routes to get everywhere,” Julich says. “And some of them, you think, ‘Wait, am I in Belgium right now? Or Switzerland? Or France?”

Julich, who is a Tour de France podium finisher (he finished third in 1998) and an Olympic medalist, moved to Greenville after spending years in the South of France, working in the cycling industry. At first, he was skeptical of Hincapie’s promise that Greenville offered some of the best riding in America. But as soon as he and his wife relocated to be closer to her family, Julich realized he was at the epicenter of one of America’s best-kept cycling secrets. 

“I never expected to be this close to legitimate climbing. I always associated the South [with] being flat,” Julich, who grew up in the mountains of Colorado, says. “But the South Carolina Upstate is just the gift that keeps on giving.”

Riding in and around Greenville offers a variety of places to test your mettle, with climbs like Ceasers Head, Saluda Grade, Green River Cove, or the mighty and unrelenting Skyuka Mountain, the peak of which offers one of the most stunning views in this corner of Appalachia. 

Of course, the most well-known climb in the area is arguably Paris Mountain, likely due to the annual Paris Mountain X event. At 2.2 miles and with an average gradient of 6.6-percent, Paris is hardly a daunting climb. However, the “X” means 10; as in, the goal of the event is to climb Paris Mountain ten times in one go. A bit more daunting, no doubt, but still very achievable for even the most intermediate cyclist. And while mountains like Skyuka, Ceasar’s Head, and Saluda are all a bit of a ride from Downtown Greenville, Paris Mountain’s proximity makes it ideal for a quick climb. 

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