The Shenandoah Valley’s growing reputation as an acclaimed cycling area just got another boost. Blue Ridge Outdoors named Harrisonburg one of its “10 Best Blue Ridge Bike Towns.” The city had previously been honored by National Geographic as one of America’s “Top 10 Mountain Bike Towns.”
In choosing Harrisonburg, Blue Ridge Outdoors cited its “proximity to a lifetime’s worth of trail riding and a full calendar of bike races and festivals.” The magazine added, “While there, make sure you hit Massanutten Mountain for dirt and single track, or, to take advantage of breathtaking road rides through the countryside, head east of town to the Shenandoah Valley or up to Skyline Drive.”
“Cycling is part of our culture here in the friendly city,” said Brenda Black, Harrisonburg’s Director of Tourism. “Harrisonburg is the perfect getaway for heart-pumping adventure and we are the Cycling Capital of the Shenandoah Valley. Situated in the shadows of the Alleghany and Massanutten Mountains, the city boasts a diverse mix of peaceful county trails, bike-friendly city streets, winding single tracks, and challenging mountain bike courses. (Learn more about cycling in and around Harrisonburg.)
Local cyclist Kyle Lawrence added, “Harrisonburg is a rare place where everything cycling falls under one tent with a single Bicycle Coalition representing every type of cycling you can imagine. You can access amazing roads and trails within minutes of a vibrant downtown.”
Another notable cycling venue near Harrisonburg is Mountain Bike Park at Massanutten Resort. The park’s downhill trails begin near the top of Massanutten Peak (2,922 feet) and are divided into five skill levels: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Advanced plus jumping skills, and Expert. There is a fully stocked bike shop on the premises, and if downhill isn’t for you, try about 30 miles of wooded trails on the western slope of the mountain–best suited for intermediate to advanced riders. Bike rentals, shuttles and lessons are all available, too. This four-season resort is in McGaheysville, VA, about 20 minutes southeast of Harrisonburg.
Massanutten now offers special Bike Park Packages, and the resort’s Sarah Elson told us about some spectacular upcoming events: On September 16th they will host the first “SheJumps Downhill Day.” It starts with a 75-minute lesson on the lower trails followed by a free-ride session. After lunch, take a guided group ride on the advanced upper trails, or opt for more free riding. Then comes Women’s Weekend September 30- October 1, with professional coaching from certified female mountain bike instructors, lift passes, discount lodging and discount rentals. Then on October 28-29 Massanutten joins Bryce Bike Park in an event called the 81DHURO.
Cycling is just one of many reasons to visit Harrisonburg. Vineyards, festivals, performance art, endless dining options and several stops along the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail. are compelling reasons as well.
Mild temperatures and the prospect of fall color make September and October ideal times to visit Harrisonburg–or anywhere in the Shenandoah Valley. For a comprehensive list of accommodations, click here.