While Route 33 itself is not a road that is the best for cycling, it is like a vein home for so many road and mountain rides as a way to get home.
Here’s what Wikipedia says about Rt33 as it pertains to WV:
US 33 extends 248 miles (399 km) in West Virginia from the Ohio River to the Virginia state line. Shortly after entering West Virginia, US 33 intersects with I-77.
After passing through the town of Ripley, WV, US 33 joins US 119 at Spencer, WV. The road then passes through rural areas of Roane, Calhoun, Gilmer, and Lewis counties.
US 33 Intersects Interstate 79 at Weston, WV. US 33 from Interstate 79 east is 4 lane, built to Appalachian Development Highway System and is part of Corridor H. The 4 lane continues on through rural areas of Upshur, Barbour, and Randolph counties.
At Harding, WV, US 250 joins US 33 for several miles. At Elkins, WV US 33 joins SR 55, and returns to a 2 lane road, except for a seven mile (11 km) section of 4 lane across Kelly Mountain between Canfield, WV and Bowden, WV. US 33 joins SR 28 at Seneca Rocks, WV, and continues through rural areas of Pendleton County, WV.
US 220 joins US 33 for a brief time through the town of Franklin, WV. The road continues on into the mountains where it crosses the state line into Rockingham County, VA.
Off the top of my head, I can think of five to ten routes that end up taking me home via this freeway with signs all over the place showing that it is a registered and dedicated bicycle path. Some may say that it is dangerous, but a two lane road with a six-foot (or wider) shoulder to ride on keeps me feeling pretty secure. The stretch of road that I am usually on is about 41 miles long, or 1/6th of its entire WV length. This span is from Weston to Elkins and goes right by my home of Buckhannon. Every once in a while I use it to test new bikes, or TT equipment for reviewing, or to climb the nasty Buckhannon Mountain.
Buckhannon Mountain is a mountain summit in Lewis County in the state of West Virginia (WV). Buckhannon Mountain climbs to 1,775 feet, while the freeway only receives about 200 or so feet in elevation from this mountain, the roads on the side of it (Buckhannon Run, etc) are a bit more steep!
Every once in a while you see some neat signs on the road indicating a certain span of distance on the road, or signs dedicating it to Senator Robert C Byrd. He once said:
“When I was a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates 51 years ago, West Virginia had four miles of divided highway,” he said. “Four miles.” Today the state has about 37,000 miles of highway.
Believe me, I have no clue how cars made any kind of decent trip or transit without this road. It really is a vein of transportation (with surprisingly little traffic!) to I-79 or just to get to a local shopping district.
Once again on Motorcycleroads.us, we find statements about this path that all shed a positive light on it:
“US Route 33 is, without a doubt, one of the best motorcycle roads in the US. I took the road west from VA all the way thorough WV. Amazing switchbacks, increasing radius turns with blind corners all over the place. The only thing I would tell you, is do not do this road in the rain. Can be hazardous as the rain increases the possibility of rocks and dirt on the roadway. I have done the ‘Tail of the Dragon’, and the Blue Ridge Parkway, and this definitely on par with either road. In many ways superior, as the switch backs change elevation hundreds of feet within a quarter mile. You want a great ride you will never forget, this is the one. One thing, there is not a lot of gas stations on this ride so fill up often. Enjoy!!!” – Michael Sykes (8/16/09)
I completely agree with this quote, and end the post on that note. If you have any comments, footage or photos of Rt33, post them!