On busy Downtown streets and quiet neighborhood roads in Charlottesville, you’ll often find people out biking. Designated by the League of American Bicyclists as a “Bicycle Friendly Community,” Charlottesville prides itself on being accommodating to cyclists trying to get to work or school. Did you know the U.S. Bicycle Route 76 runs through Charlottesville? At just over 500 miles long, the U.S. Bike Route 76 crosses over 20 counties in Virginia. If you live around the Downtown area, you may even find that biking is faster than driving in some circumstances. Besides riding around in the city, there are plenty of beautiful trails for cycling in Charlottesville.
Best Places to Cycle in Charlottesville
Surrounded by mountains, Charlottesville is close to some of the best mountain biking trails around. There are also miles of bike routes around the city. Here are some of the best places to cycle in Charlottesville:
Walnut Creek Park: Just outside Charlottesville, Walnut Creek Park has 2.6 miles of biking trails. The trails wrap around the lake, varying in degrees of elevation enough to provide a ride that is suitable for intermediate level riders and above. Expect a challenging, but scenic ride.
Observatory Hill: Observatory Hill at the University of Virginia, otherwise known simply as “O-Hill,” is a popular place for cycling in Charlottesville. Tackle a difficult mountain bike ride within the city limits. Because of rocky climbs and steep descents, you’ll want to have some experience under your belt before hitting these trails.
Preddy Creek Trail: With a whopping 571 acres, Preddy Creek Trail has over 10 miles of trails for hiking, running, horseback riding, and mountain biking. In fact, Preddy Creek has a new advanced mountain bike trail, which was a project brought to life by the Charlottesville Area Mountain Bike Club. This advanced trail requires technical skills and is reserved for highly experienced mountain bikers. You’ll encounter tight corners, several stream crossings, rocky terrain, and steep inclines.
Charlottesville Winery Guided Bike Tour
The mountainous hills of Charlottesville aren’t just home to mountain biking trails. The abundance of wineries in the area attracts visitors from all over the country. For wine-drinkers who want to combine their passion for wine and cycling, the Charlottesville Winery Guided Bike Tour can make your dreams come true! You’ll get to ride your bike through a vineyard past fragrant rows of grapes, enjoy a wine tasting, and learn more about the history of the area from a professional cycling tour guide.
From mountain biking to cycling to work in the morning, the cycling community continues to grow as the city works on being more bike-friendly. With bike racks on all city buses, it’s easier to get around town on a bike. Dedicated bike lanes give cyclists more room on the road and make things easy for drivers as well. If you’re thinking about dusting off the old Schwinn laying in your garage, here are a few benefits of cycling.
Benefits of Cycling
1.) Low-impact: Cycling is a low-impact activity, so it’s much easier on the joints. For those who can’t run or suffer from lower-body pain, biking is a great workout but puts less stress on the body.
2.) Builds Muscle: Cycling may be low-impact, but it also builds muscle. Don’t be surprised if you see your glutes, quads, calves, and hamstrings growing stronger if you add cycling to your routine.
3.) Improves mental health: Ditching the car in favor of a bike won’t just help your waistline, it can help your mental health too. Exercising naturally releases endorphins and adrenaline, which will boost your mood. While going on a solo ride to a new place can be therapeutic, you can also expand your social circle through cycling trips.
Overcoming the challenges of a difficult ride or meeting up with a new cycle group will help you grow both physically and mentally. It can promote weight loss, lower the risk of cancer, and improve sleep.
Cycling does require equipment, so you’ll need to find a good bike shop. There are several local bike stores in Charlottesville that offer everything for your cycling needs.
Local Bike Shops in Charlottesville
Blue Ridge Cyclery is one of the most popular bike shops in town, with two convenient locations. They offer repair services, assistance with getting the proper fit, bike rentals, and even financing if you are looking to purchase a new bike.
The Bike Factory is another good bike shop in town, with experienced staff dedicated to helping you find the right equipment for your needs.
Blue Wheel Bicycles also has some great deals on clothing, components, and other accessories you may need for cycling. They also sell bicycles from a variety of brands, including Specialized-branded bikes. Fitting and maintenance services are also available if needed.
Take advantage of all the opportunities for cycling in Charlottesville by trying out a new trail, commuting to work one day a week, or taking a leisurely ride through the neighborhood.
Sources: cambc.org, virginiadot.org