In the foothills of the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia’s Piedmont region is a perfect spot for road biking enthusiasts. Characterized by rolling hills and breathtaking scenery, Central Virginia has enough trail to keep even the most seasoned distance biker entertained. Here are a few of our favorite weekend cycling destinations.
Length: 26 mi.
Nearby Town: Ashland, VA
Taking riders through the rolling farmlands of Hanover County, the Ashland Ramble is a local favorite among Richmond cyclists. This route goes through Ashland and a few other charming rural communities including Scotchtown, the historic home of Patrick Henry. With a nice mix of pleasant, gradual terrain and a few small climbs, this ride is perfect for the beginner cyclist. You can find the start at the Ashland/Hanover Visitors Center and train station at 112 North Railroad Ave. Parking is available along Railroad Ave. and at the visitor’s center.
For more information and a map of Ashland Ramble, click here.
Blue Ridge Parkway
Length: 469 mi.
Nearby Town: Afton, VA
Continuing where Skyline Drive leaves off, the Blue Ridge Parkway extends the extra 469 miles southwest to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With 214 miles within the Virginia state boundary, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a beautiful ridgeline journey usually only traversed by cars. Typically done as a challenging five to 10 day bike tour, the full length trip is characterized by long stretches of climb and descent. For those looking for a quicker day ride in the central Virginia area, a shorter down and back trip along the Parkway is a great option. To find the Parkway, follow the road signs off of Interstates 64, 81, or 77 in the Afton area. Parking is available at any of the campgrounds and overlooks.
Length: 45 mi.
Nearby Town: Charlottesville, VA
The Charlottesville Challenge is a beautiful, moderate ride through the Albemarle County countryside. The trip follows National Bike Route 76 at the start, offering gorgeous views at each stop. The Charlottesville Challenge then turns off and explores the more rural area to the south of Charlottesville before passing through the heart of the historic University of Virginia. You can find the start at the shopping area on Ivy Rd., just west of the Ivy Rd./Alderman Rd. intersection. Parking is free at any of the stores nearby.
For information and a map of Charlottesville Challenge, click here.
Length: 40 mi.
Nearby Town: Culpeper, VA
Culpeper Cruise, centered in the small town that gives the ride its name, is a scenic tour of the surrounding historic area. With some significant hills at some points, this trip is ideal as an easy day ride for the intermediate cyclist. A full loop through Culpeper County, this ride has its fair share of small towns, farms, rivers, Civil War battlefields, and breathtaking views. Culpeper is a charming town, and a perfect spot to grab lunch at the start or end of the cruise. The trip starts in downtown Culpeper on East Davis St. Parking is available along the road or at any of the shops or restaurants nearby.
For more information and a map of Culpeper Cruise, click here.
Lake Anna Century Classic
Length: 102 mi.
Nearby Town: Montpelier, VA
Offering options for both an English (102 mi.) or metric (65 mi.) century, the Lake Anna Century Classic is a nice, pleasant ride for the budding distance cyclist. The ride takes cyclists on a tour around the scenic Lake Anna, through the rolling Spotsylvania, Orange, Louisa, and Hanover counties. Riders get to see all this rural area has to offer, passing numerous farms, woodlands, and miles of shoreline. The ride starts off of Mountain Rd. in the small town of Montpelier. Parking can be found at the Montpelier Branch Library or any of the stores or restaurants in the area.
For more information and a map of Lake Anna Century Classic, click here.
Length: 105 mi.
Nearby Town: Afton, VA
Since National Park Week is coming up from April 16-24 and all admission fees will be waived, now is the perfect time to start planning a route along the scenic Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park. Following the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains from Front Royal to Afton, this is a great route for those seeking wonderful views at overlooks and access to plentiful hiking opportunities. You can enter the south entrance, Rockfish Gap at Rt. 64 and Rt. 250, or the north entrance, Front Royal near Rt. 66 and 340, if you opt for the full 105-mile trip. If you are looking for a shorter ride, enter Thorton Gap at Rt. 211 or Swift Run Gap at Rt. 33. Plentiful parking is available at overlooks and trailheads.
For more information & a map of Skyline Drive, click here.
Length: 83 mi.
Nearby Town: Front Royal, VA
The Luray Classic is known as one of the most beautiful, exciting rides in Virginia. This trip can either be completed as a one-day ride by more advanced cyclists or as a two-day adventure for more average riders. The Luray Classic includes 30 miles of the scenic Skyline Drive, a pass through small town of Luray, a climb up Massanutten Mountain, and a dip into the George Washington National Forest. You can find the start to this ride off of S. Royal Ave. in downtown Front Royal, near the Randolph-Macon campus. Parking is available on side streets, any of the nearby stores or restaurants, or the Front Royal/Warren County Visitor Center.
For information and a map of Luray Classic, click here.
Length: 32 mi.
Nearby Town: Orange, VA
The Orange Ramble takes the rider on a pleasant loop through the quiet Orange County. The area has plenty of historical significance: the small town of Rapidan was hotly contested during the Civil War. The ride not only passes numerous historical sites, but also showcases rolling hills, peaceful farmlands, and the 124-acre Lake Orange. This is a gorgeous area and is only a short drive away from Montpelier, the home of founding father James Madison. You can find the start off of E. Main St. in downtown Orange. Parking is available at the shops and restaurants in the area.
For more information and a map of Orange Ramble, click here.
Richmond Battlefield Cruise
Length: 33 mi.
Nearby Town: Henrico, VA
The Richmond Battlefield Cruise is a relatively easy, historic ride located just 10 miles southeast of Richmond. The cyclist passes Fort Harrison, Fort Hoke, and through the Richmond National Battlefield Park. Nearby are Malvern Hill Battlefield, Glendale Visitor Center and National Cemetery, and Dory Park, which is a great picnic spot with scenic lake views. You can find the start at Fort Harrison, just outside of Henrico on Battlefield Park Rd. Parking is available at the Fort or at the nearby Fort Harrison National Cemetery.
For more information and a map of Richmond Battlefield Cruise, click here.