Bikes & Brews in the Friendly City of Harrisonburg, VA

From downtown to the nearby national forest, discover why Harrisonburg, Va., was built for bikes and brews. Recognized as a Bronze-Level Ride Center by IMBA, cyclists of all ages, abilities, and styles will find a ride against the beautiful backdrop of the Shenandoah Valley.

harrrisonburg va

Get your start on the Bluestone Trail, a one-mile paved path through Purcell Park, before leveling up on the Rocktown Trails at Hillandale Park, perfect for newer mountain bikers or visitors looking to get in a quick ride. Just a short drive from downtown Harrisonburg, you’ll find a variety of backcountry options in George Washington National Forest, including part of the TransVirginia Bike Route, for a full day in the saddle. 

bikes harrisonburg va

Swing by one of three bike shops in town to get situated and on your way. From service and repairs to guided biking trips, Bluestone Bike & Run has cyclists of every skill level covered. In addition to all of the biking gear you’ll need, check out Rocktown Bicycles for the staff’s favorite road, gravel, and mountain bike routes in the area. Stop into Shenandoah Bicycle Company for bike rentals and refuel with an organic Açaí bowl on the back patio from the in-house PULP Cafe.

alpine loop gran fondo
Alpine Loop Gran Fondo

Get a real feel for the city at one of Harrisonburg’s numerous cycling events. In 2010, cross-country mountain biker and pan-American gold medalist Jeremiah Bishop started his annual Alpine Loop Gran Fondo. Ranked by Men’s Journal as one of America’s top 10 Gran Fondos, it covers approximately 11,000 feet of climbing over 107 miles. Other popular cycling events include Bike Shenandoah, Shenandoah Valley Century Ride, and the Harris-Roubaix.

bikes harrisonburg va
photo courtesy of Bluestone Bike & Run

Bike Like a Local

A little more than a decade after visiting Harrisonburg for the first time, Thomas Jenkins helped open Shenandoah Bicycle Company in 2000 to support cyclists of all abilities. “I immediately fell in love with the mountains, fire roads, and dirt roads in the George Washington National Forest,”  he said. Jenkins also recommends the Western Slope of Massanutten Resort, designed with mountain bikes in mind and just seven miles from downtown. “Due to the great partnership between the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition and the Resort, the trail system continues to grow and become a destination for mountain biking and trail running,” he said.

Those planning to ride in the area should be prepared for long rides over challenging terrain, featuring lots of elevation change and rocks. “Instead of measuring rides by mileage, we think of rides in time length because the miles do not click very fast,” Jenkins said. “One thing I learned a long time ago riding in the Harrisonburg area is it’s okay to walk your bike.” With over 3,500 feet of elevation difference in some places, Jenkins packs extra clothes almost every month of the year so he’s prepared for changes in weather. “Even though I have lived and biked the area for the past 30 years, I am still discovering new roads and even trails to enjoy,” he said.

shenandoah beerwerks trail

Out of the Saddle

There’s plenty more to explore when you’re done biking for the day. Stop into one of Harrisonburg’s five breweries, all of which are on the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail, for a refreshing post-adventure drink. Located within a mile of each other, Pale Fire Brewing Co., Brothers Craft Brewing, Restless Moons Brewing, Three Notch’d Valley Collab House, and The Friendly Fermenter all provide a relaxing atmosphere after a long day of pedaling.

bikes and brews harrisonburg va

The five breweries are also within easy walking distance to all the downtown shops and restaurants. Enjoy a meal on the patio at Clementine Café, including a delicious brunch spread served on the weekends. Head to the rooftop at Jimmy Madison’s for southern cuisine and whiskey cocktails or try Rocktown Kitchen for seasonal dishes and decadent desserts.

joshua wilton house

Crawl into bed and get a rejuvenating night’s rest at one of Harrisonburg’s charming inns. The Joshua Wilton House features five intimate rooms in a restored Victorian home, plus an elegant bistro on the bottom floor for an upscale meal. Stay in a historic bed and breakfast at the Friendly City Inn with ten unique rooms and breakfast served on the patio.

Once you experience the trails and brews for yourself, you’ll want to make Harrisonburg, Va., an annual trip.

Cover photo by Jess Daddio, courtesy of Bluestone Bike & Run

Places to Go, Things to See: