Last time I went to NYC and walked around in Manhattan it really felt as if I was in a different world or something. I didn’t feel comfortable asking someone I was walking right next to where something was located or to even strike a conversation with them. People are in a world of their own and couldn’t give a damn about you (overall). Philly is just the same, but a little bit more open and receptive to communication. Got to admit, I love Philadelphia though… Jersey… last time I was there, people were CRAZY. They probably still are crazy now. Almost everything spoken ends in either the person gawking like a wild hen, or laughing similar to a hyena. Floridians tend to be quiet unless you approach them, but then the kindness shines through. In Virginia, at least in the Hampton/Metro area where I lived, people are starting to pick up the “I don’t need to involve myself in anything” way of life. I think crime has to do a little bit with people and the way they behave in public.
West Virginia is oddly friendly. THERE IS EVEN A FRIENDLY WV! People are hospitable and generally know how to have a good time. Remember, Aunt Bee from Andy Griffith was from WV. I know of several instances where friends have stopped at a house to get extra water on a longer than expected ride. I have done this twice in the past two or three years with open arms. While filling my bottles, they ask the general non-cyclist questions like “how far” “why” “how fast” “funny pants?!” etc… People are willing to help. I once snapped my chain on my MTB after a bad shift/fall and trudged out to the closest road. I went to the first house I could find and humbly asked if I could hose off the mud from my body and drivetrain so I could work on it. I received only help and friendliness. My spaceman cycling outfits always create a little bit of hesitation in people’s eyes, but once they hear that I have the voice of a human and not some kind of spandex alien, they figuratively open their eyes.
I don’t know about other areas, but I am not sure if I would receive help, or if I would want to walk to someone’s porch to ask for help on the east coast. People in WV are typically known for carrying their shotguns to protect land and property alike, which I have never seen… Nevertheless, unless you run into some crazy or paranoid person, I’m betting you won’t see anything like this anymore.
The second thing that WV natives and WV tourists comment about that makes West Virginia so great is the scenery. Oh man… the scenery. I’ve already touched on this, but West Virginia has so much un-tampered land available to take advantage of. Miles of roads. Miles of trails. Miles of forest where another human may have not been for months. Simply amazing. This isn’t your lol state park where you have RVs and campers all over (There are some places like that…) This is land that people care about and want to keep it this way. WVMBA does good work, and so does the forestry rangers, etc.
Spruce Knob is the highest place in the state. You should go there and drive up to the gravel road, get out and ride to the top. FANTASTIC VIEWS. Then there is Cooper’s Rock, Seneca Rock, Smoke Hole, Babcock State Park, North Fork, Cheat Mountain, etc… I could go on for days and these are just the big places.
Yes, there are two sides to every coin. When you start nearing Kentucky, the territory becomes a little bit inhospitable. The Ohio/WV border area tends to have a faux metropolitan feel to it, but it is still pretty rural. Watch out for more vehicles in this area. Wheeling and the areas closer to Maryland are becoming Washington D.C.’s backyard. People are becoming braver and starting to use this for uber-commute suburb area.
The RAAM teams love West Virginia. In 2004, this was said:
…A little over two hours later, the first solo rider should roll into Parkersburg. To prove its goodwill toward the skinny-tired folk (for skinny and tired they will be when they reach Parkersburg), the first team in each category will receive a basket filled with West Virginia fare to help them onward to the finish line 492 miles away in Atlantic City.
RAAM participants will certainly experience first-hand why West Virginia is called the Mountain State. Hopefully, the state’s abundance of natural beauty will help offset some demanding climbs that await them. -Tony O’Leary WVDOT
What other reasons are there for coming to West Virginia? Can you think of any?