The Mid-Atlantic Backcountry Discovery Route (MABDR), a scenic motorcycle tour, is bringing motorcycle travelers through several historic towns in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle. Released earlier this year, the route also known as the MABDR is a 1,080-mile journey through the gravel, dirt, and paved country roads of Appalachia.

Starting in the trail-town of Damascus (VA), near the Tennessee border, the MABDR winds through rural Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania before finishing at the New York state line. The route was developed by the non-profit organization Backcountry Discovery Routes, whose goal is to develop and protect forest and desert off-road routes through the public lands and back roads of North America.

“Since we felt the route was going to be on the easier end of the BDR spectrum, we chose to include locations of historical significance,” commented Kevin Woody, route architect—who noted that, while many of the BDR can be accessed by most off-road capable vehicles, they’ve been designed with adventure motorcycle travel in mind.

Adventure motorcycles are quickly becoming one of the motorcycle industry’s top segments, with industry titan Harley Davidson even recently announcing plans to begin selling an adventure bike in 2020. Adventure riders are more like the backcountry hikers of the motorcycle world—trading stylish chrome and leather for camping gear and off-road tires. Outfitted to overcome any challenges they may encounter, their motorcycles are more closely related to a dirt bike than a chopper.

Of the nine current routes, the MABDR is the first Eastern route, with all previous routes being in Western States such as Nevada, Colorado, and Washington. “The organization has been getting requests for an East Coast BDR for many years,” said BDR President Paul Guillien. “With the Western routes being so far away, they just weren’t practical for most people living in the east. Our team desperately wanted to deliver a route for our fans out east.”

MABDR routes were designed to include locations of historical significance. ©Alfonse Palaima

Woody added, “We experienced many good remote and isolated dirt sections, but often the road would come out in a heavily populated area, which we try to avoid. This made it very difficult to stitch those segments together in a way that kept the rider having a backcountry experience.

But despite the challenges, and years in the making, the MABDR has become one of the organization’s most popular routes, with hundreds of riders completing the journey thus far. The route has also quickly met another BDR goal by facilitating an economic boost for many of the locally owned hotels, restaurants, and country stores in the rural communities along its path.

On the local level, the addition of MABDR has brought this spirit of adventure to our community and spotlights our renowned “Country Roads.” As many more make plans to ride the route and enjoy our region’s beautiful fall colors, the BDR team is hard at work developing their next release: the long-awaited Southern California Backcountry Discovery Route

— Article submitted by Kenneth Fisher

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