General Information About Regional Bike Routes
One of the great pleasures of cycling in this region is the number and variety of roads available. This site offers a significant number of pre-plotted routes, complete with descriptions, cue sheets, maps, and directions to starting points.
Choosing a Route
In general, terrain to the east of Charlottesville is more open and rolling, while terrain to the west (between the city and the mountains) is more hilly and the hills are often moderately steep.
The Shenandoah Valley (to the west of the mountains) is mostly open farmland and very scenic. Routes that go up and down the valley tend to be fairly flat, while routes that go across the valley usually include long rollers.
The information for the bike routes listed on this site include the amount of climbing in feet per mile, which in combination with distance is a rough analog for difficulty.
Winter Riding and Gravel Routes
In most years, the winters in central Virginia are mild enough to allow riding on at least a few days during any given week. While temperatures can sometimes be too cold to ride for extended periods, the limiting factor is just as often a matter of precipitation (snow or ice the roads).
Routes that are primarily on gravel roads can be fun at any time of year, but they are particularly suited to colder weather:
They tend to be in more wooded areas with less exposure to wind;
Speeds are lower, producing less wind chill;
They require hybrid, cyclocross, or mountain bikes, which give you extra stability.
For more information, see the Gravel Routes page.