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A Harrisonburg Biking Adventure

Iris bike

When I came to work at the Stonewall Jackson Inn Wayne’s gift to me was a red vintage “Free Spirit” cruiser bicycle. The whole month of August she went nearly unused because of this California Central Valley girl’s fear of Shenandoah Valley hills. But September brought a slight case of cabin fever which led me to begin researching bike routes. This is how I stumbled across these inspiring words written by Brenda Ruby, in a Spokes Magazine article, about her experience cycling around Harrisonburg:

“Sure there were a few hills, but moderately rolling with some really sweet stretches of easy ridiris blog pic3ing were what we discovered, along with calm roads, beautiful, quiet farms, and church steeples dotting the crests of hills.”

As I read this my heart sang, “YESS! I could do this!” I knew that my little cruiser had no business following in the tracks of the great road bikes that have gone before her, still, I packed up my water bottle, trail mix, and bike pump for a 25 mile cycling adventure called the Harrisonburg Cruise. I passed through historic downtown and took Virginia Avenue out of the North-West side of Harrisonburg. After only a few minutes the traffic began to dissipate as my ride opened with a nice long downhill stretch through green hills. After leaving Harrisonburg I realized that my bike seat was too low, which created a unique challenge throughout the ride, but was not enough to dampen my excitement over the fresh air, good exercise, and beautiful scenery! I turned off 42 and on to 721 at the scenic community of Edom, riding toward Linville where I turned onto Melrose Road.

The day started fairly overcast, but by 10:30 the sun finally started shining, offering lovely views of white puffy clouds against blue sky. On the corner where Melrose Road meets Historic Route 11 is a convenience stiris blog pic2ore with a set of shaded picnic tables which was a perfect spot to eat lunch and rest before the short but intense section under the gorgeous green foliage of Trinity Church Rd. As it was throughout the whole ride, each incline was rewarded with a lovely downhill coast. At Trinity Church I stopped and walked over to a small stand of trees where I found two wooden chairs surrounded by a shaded flower garden overlooking the valley. Perfect spot to stretch and take a water break!iris blog pic

After my descent back to the lower valley, through Keezeltown, the landscape became large open fields, and white farm houses under tall siloes and blue sky, eventually turning into the buildings and houses of Harrisonburg’s E. Market Street. I ended my ride unofficially at 2:00 just up the street from the Stonewall Jackson Inn at the Rolling Hills Antique Mall, where I was greeted graciously by pleasant smiles in spite of my surely ragged appearance. A few hours of browsing through seemingly endless treasures was the perfect way to end a relaxing historic ride in the Shenandoah Valley.

Final words: As a person who has not ridden her bike in about a year, this was great medium intensity ride, a wonderful way to spend a morning, and offers full immersion into the beautiful scenery of the Shenandoah Valley!

 

 

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