Road Riding Virginia

xc62701

Well-Known Member
Hey guys and gals. I've got a little cabin fever and a 3 day weekend to get away so I'm traveling down with my girl to Luray VA tonight to find a campsite and head out on 3 days of whatever I feel like. :getsome: We'll be camping in the Shenandoah National Forest(if campsites are open - still figuring that one out) and I'll be getting some decent road rides in. We'll be camping on Skyline Drive or nearby and that leaves for some interesting road riding. My plans are to hit a piece of Skyline Drive each day unless there's something else more spectacular that I need to go ride. I know Skyline through the Shenandoah National Forest is about 105 miles long so it should provide me with enough miles and great scenery to keep me interested. Any thoughts or suggestions? Oh and did I mention it's supposed to be in the mid to upper 70's there :D

Looking to do:
70-80 miles Sat
30-40 miles Sun
50-60 miles Mon
 

noonito

New Member
I grew up in Virginia and went to Shenandoah National Park a lot, although not for biking. The Skyline Drive is very popular with cyclists. You can get some good climbs in if you incorporate some of the roads from the valleys; for example route 250 from the east or west up to Rockfish Gap. http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=waynesboro,+va&sll=40.341706,-74.624121&sspn=0.158316,0.21801&ie=UTF8&ll=38.042954,-78.85437&spn=0.078546,0.109005&t=p&z=13

Route 211 is a big climb too.

If you get tired of climbing you can do some rides through Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, Waynesboro, Madison, etc... the scenery in the Piedmont region and the Shendandoah Valley is beautiful.

Finally, drivers should be used to seeing bikes out there... but don't be surprised if you have some encounters with aggressive rural pickup drivers.
 

BiknBen

Well-Known Member
The Blue Ridge Parkway which extends south from Skyline Drive has been on my RADAR for years. Haven't had the opportunity to ride down there.

FWIW, I often see mixed reviews about the road. Decent pavement with a shoulder, fantastic views. OTOH, riders point out that there is no support services; few or no options for food rest stops, etc. Traffic can also be a mixed bag. Moderate traffic at high speed with drivers looking at the views. Traffic should not be an issue this time of year but be aware.
 

Cyclopath

Shop Owner / Employee
Shop Keep
It is gorgeous there, ditto everything Ben says.
You'll see forever without summer's humdity.

On the camping...
Even though it is 'way south in VA', that area tends to have weather and temps VERY similar to ours. I'd suggest being prepared to get a hotel. Very plentiful along rte 81 just 1/2 hr west of most BRPW exits.
 

Ian F

Well-Known Member
FWIW, I often see mixed reviews about the road. Decent pavement with a shoulder, fantastic views. OTOH, riders point out that there is no support services; few or no options for food rest stops, etc. Traffic can also be a mixed bag. Moderate traffic at high speed with drivers looking at the views. Traffic should not be an issue this time of year but be aware.

Agreed.. avoid in a Fall... distracted drivers...
 

xc62701

Well-Known Member
It is gorgeous there, ditto everything Ben says.
You'll see forever without summer's humdity.

On the camping...
Even though it is 'way south in VA', that area tends to have weather and temps VERY similar to ours. I'd suggest being prepared to get a hotel. Very plentiful along rte 81 just 1/2 hr west of most BRPW exits.

It's supposed to get to a low of 45 or so each night. I'm prepared to camp down to about 15 if need be. I'm just curious if those places are open. If not I know some primitive sites that will be open for sure, just a longer drive than I'd like. I'm trying my best to stay out of the hotels. Sleeping in a Neon is comfortable right? :hmmm:
 

xc62701

Well-Known Member
Yea I've been drooling over those climbs. I'll probably throw one or two in just to play. I know the one I checked out said 7 miles and about 2500 feet of elevation gain...YIKES!!!:hitsfan:

I grew up in Virginia and went to Shenandoah National Park a lot, although not for biking. The Skyline Drive is very popular with cyclists. You can get some good climbs in if you incorporate some of the roads from the valleys; for example route 250 from the east or west up to Rockfish Gap. http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=waynesboro,+va&sll=40.341706,-74.624121&sspn=0.158316,0.21801&ie=UTF8&ll=38.042954,-78.85437&spn=0.078546,0.109005&t=p&z=13

Route 211 is a big climb too.

If you get tired of climbing you can do some rides through Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, Waynesboro, Madison, etc... the scenery in the Piedmont region and the Shendandoah Valley is beautiful.

Finally, drivers should be used to seeing bikes out there... but don't be surprised if you have some encounters with aggressive rural pickup drivers.
 

Cyclopath

Shop Owner / Employee
Shop Keep
Sleeping in a Neon is comfortable right? :hmmm:


Two people and a bunch of gear in a Neon?:hmmm:
Well, I guess that would depend on your sleeping configuration...

But in such close quarters, you'd probably be warm enough.:D
 

Ian F

Well-Known Member
Yea I've been drooling over those climbs. I'll probably throw one or two in just to play. I know the one I checked out said 7 miles and about 2500 feet of elevation gain...YIKES!!!:hitsfan:

Pan West for a bit to the other side of I-81 where it really climbs up into WV... I took that route to Snowshoe one year... brutal switchback climbs...

...and descents... :drooling:


Although my van was hating them... :rolleyes:
 

Glancing Aft

Active Member
I'm a little late finding this thread but enjoy yourself! I rode a chunk of skyline drive last summer and loved it! Good Stuff!
 

xc62701

Well-Known Member
Report from Virginia

Well I had an opportunity this weekend to get away for 3 days. With the warmer temps my girl and I decided to head down to the Shenandoah National Park to get some travelin in.

We arrived Friday night to nothing but closed campgrounds so the seats of the neon turned into some comfy(insert sarcasm here) beds. So Saturday morning after being directed to another closed campground we found a sweet primitive spot down by a river. The only bad part was that it was 3 miles of gravel to the nearest spot of pavement. We set up and took a nap and I got the first of my rides in.

2:22 minutes, 37 miles, 4703 ft of vert, the one main climb was 3 miles and 1100 ft of vert on a very constant grade which was sweet.

http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/7764819

Back to the camp to chill and cook dinner and relax and enjoy the downtime. After all the problem we had finding a campsite I sometimes wonder if it's worth the camping issues. We were having dinner and looked up to see a bald eagle chilling in a tree across the river(looking for dinner as well) I was reminded how it really was worth it.

The next moring I woke up and decided to head up to Skyline Drive. For those who aren't familiar it is a sweet road in the top of the Shenandoah mountain range with spectacular views and some nice undulating hills. I headed out from camp and had to do the fun gravel road and head up, ALL UPHILL, to Skyline drive.

5:32 minutes, 82 miles, 9331 ft of vert, the one main climb was 8 miles and 2500 ft of vert on a pretty consistant grade.

http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/7764818

Needless to say after that ride I was pretty shot but we still managed to wander around and check out the local town and some local caverns. We slept in this morning and took a nice leisurely ride home. All in all a great weekend and did I mention that it was mid 70's all weekend. After I washed all the dirt off I actually got a tan line from my bibs...SWEET!!!
 

pixychick

JORBA: Ringwood
JORBA.ORG
Wow, sounds like you found some big mountains and had a great weekend! ....and very cool with the bald eagle spotting.
 

xc62701

Well-Known Member
Yea it really was good. Weather was nice, riding was great, views were spectacular. What more could you ask for? There's one thing for sure. We certainly don't have hills like that around here. The 8 mile one was pretty intense. I was trying to put some consistent power down and it kept going and going. I'd like to get back there again and do some more later in the season. The best part - riding in shorts and a sleeveless jersey!
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Awesome trip man. I love the elevation profile of that long ride. Good stuff, glad to hear you had a good weekend.

Once had a bald eagle sighting while hiking in New England. Very cool stuff.
 

xc62701

Well-Known Member
Awesome trip man. I love the elevation profile of that long ride. Good stuff, glad to hear you had a good weekend.

Once had a bald eagle sighting while hiking in New England. Very cool stuff.

The sighting was pretty cool but the gravel road was the worst. It was a newly laid 1/2 mile section of gravel that was like a sand pit leaving and coming back to the camp area. I won't miss that.
 

xc62701

Well-Known Member
Here's a couple of pics from the weekend. One from the highest point on Skyline Drive and one from Luray Caverns. The caverns were pretty cool. The pic is with stalactites being reflected in a pool.
 

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Cyclopath

Shop Owner / Employee
Shop Keep
the one main climb was 3 miles and 1100 ft of vert on a very constant grade which was sweet...

...the one main climb was 8 miles and 2500 ft of vert on a pretty consistant grade...

Needless to say after that ride I was pretty shot but we still managed to wander around and check out the local town and some local caverns.

Seems to me you took those hills in the wrong direction... they're much more fun the other way!!

Really, I'm in awe.

Luray is really cool and big. There are a few local caverns that get much less traffic and are also beautiful. Grand Caverns in Grottoes is off the tourist list and gives a more subdued tour. Both have unique attributes. It's good you left something to go back for;).
 
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