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Riding in Shenandoah Area VA. ? Advice needed.(8 posts)

Riding in Shenandoah Area VA. ? Advice needed.Hudson123
Apr 10, 2003 9:20 AM
We are heading from Canada to do a bit of a roiad tri p and have heard about great road riding along the ridge of the Skyline Drive. Where would once be best to head out from to do a 60 km out 60 km back and get some great views ? I have a good map that starts at Front Royal to Waynesboro.

Any help would be appreciated and are the roads safe ?

Cheers Anthony
A fine and safe ride but hilly.MB1
Apr 10, 2003 9:53 AM
This book will help a lot.

http://www.cccyclery.com/bookshop/brcycle.htm
A fine and safe ride but hilly.ms
Apr 10, 2003 10:36 AM
I too recommend the book linked by MB1 (there is a newer edition with a blue cover, but I think that the contents essentially are the same). The book had great elevation profiles and detailed, mile-by-mile information about the road. Last September I rode the Skyline drive from Front Royal to Waynesboro (105 miles). The first 20 miles from Front Royal essentially are uphill, the middle 65 miles or so have ups and downs and the last 20 miles are essentially downhill (I don't have the book with me at the office, so I am approximating). If I were only going to do a part of the Skyline Drive, I would do the northern end rather than the southern end -- it has better overlooks and better hills. However, you really cannot go wrong with any section of the road.
It's All Very PrettyGregory Taylor
Apr 10, 2003 1:31 PM
My sister lives in Luray (which is on the Page Valley side of the mountain off of Route 211), and you are in for a treat. There is also some excellent riding in the Page and Fort valleys, off of Skyline Drive, that is worth checking out.

A trip to Luray, by the way, is kind of cool. There are hotels and a couple of good restaurants in town (Brookside, on Rt. 211 is where the locals go) and a vist to the Caverns is fun in an old fashioned tourist trap-py kinda way. Sperryville, is also a good bet. It's a very small town on the other side of the mountain on Rt. 211. It also has some good eats and shopping, but it is most notable for "Cooters", the store run by Ben Johnson, one of the stars of the TV show "The Dukes of Hazzard" and former member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Really. It's worth the climb back up the mountain just to check this place out and get your picture taken next to the "General Lee", an orange late '60's Dodge Charger done up with Confederate Flags.

While this may be a bit off of what you are asking for, if you want the prettiest view in all of Virginia, I'd say that you should make a stop at Harpers Ferry West Virginia. The town is situated at the confluence of the Shennandoah and Potomac rivers, and the view from atop the bluff on the West Virginia side is worth the trip from Canada, in my humble opinion. Stay at the Hilltop House, which is located above the town on the aforementioned bluff, or farther upriver at Shepardstown. The Bavarian Inn in Shepardstown is pricy, but worth it. Think river views and in-room jacuzzis. Shepardstown is a small college community, so there are plenty of restaurants, coffeshops, and quaintness to go around. There are some pretty roads around there as well -- there is also the C&O canal which follows the Potomac River. It's dirt, but very ridable when dry.
re: Riding in Shenandoah Area VA. ? Advice needed.AllUpHill
Apr 10, 2003 2:47 PM
You can't go wrong no matter which part on the Skyline you pick. I live in nearby Charlottesville and ride it often. The views on the southern section are my favorite (from Rockfish Gap to Swift Run Gap), but it's all good. The road is hilly of course, but always at a gentle grade. You can expect some traffic since the weather is getting nice and some spring foliage is appearing, but it won't be enough to make your riding unpleasant or unsafe. I hope you catch a day of clear skies.

For a fun descent and a stout climb, ride highway 33 east off the Ridge, then go back up. Be prepared for some traffic though.
re: Riding in Shenandoah Area VA. ? Advice needed.GW Rider
Apr 10, 2003 6:52 PM
I live in Staunton which is at the heart of the Shenandoah Valley. I prefer riding the Blue Ridge Parkway, just south of the Skyline Drive. Milepost Zero for both the Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway is at Afton Mtn where Interstate 64 crosses the Blue Ridge. You can go north on the Skyline or south on the Parkway. I tend to stay on the Parkway side since it doesn't cost any money to travel it. It does cost $$ to ride on the Skyline.

There are a multitude of great rides down in the valley. I recommend visiting Staunton Va. The town was just noted as being one of the best cycling towns in Appalachia by Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine.

A good book to point you in the right direction for valley rides is "A Cyclist's Guide to the Shenandoah Valley"
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0963781901/qid%3D1050028970/sr%3D11-1/ref%3Dsr%5F11%5F1/104-0232300-7664750

This book delves into some of the great history of the area.

Good Luck and hope to see ya in the valley.
Thanks very much for the great info ........Hudson123
Apr 11, 2003 5:29 AM
We are going to pay and pay dearly for living in such a flat province ( Ontario ) we are looking forward to theis stop off prior to Asheville and then on to Gainseville GA.

We should be there on the 18th and 19th of April and we are stoked.

Thanks again...Anthony.
A weekday is bestpmf1
Apr 11, 2003 5:33 AM
The road is in great shape and is relatively wide. There is much less traffic on the weekdays. When I do it, that's when I try to go. You're either climbing or descending -- not any flat stretches. Water is not real plentiful (at least where I go from Front Royal), so take as much as you can. 120 km is more than I've ever done on it. I usually do half that starting in Front Royal (along I-66). Its long climb up to the visitors center where you can stop for water. There's another stop about 20 miles beyond that at a campground store. At that point, I usually turn around. Its a lot more climbing on the way out than on the way back which is kind of nice.

Its a really pretty road with lots of scenic overlooks.