By way of introduction, I have come to motorcycling late in life as I am now 54 and will be 55 in December. I started riding a couple of years ago and took to it like a fish to water. Since then, riding has become my passion and the longer the ride the better I seem to like it. I have a local ride I enjoy that I have labeled the 4 hour tour. Actually you can probably do it in about 3 hours at a reasonable pace. This route includes a variety of kinds of roads in Amherst and Bedford counties in the Central VA area. I discovered this loop to be about the maximum I could work into a Sunday afteroon and so it has become a 'standard' ride for me. It gives me a chance to improve my riding skills on every kind of road there is except dirt. A great experience builder for people that ride a relatively narrow range of kinds of roads, this ride will give you 20-30 minutes of each type of road...unmarked county roads, 2 lane hiways, City streets in traffic, 4 lane unlimited access and 4 lane limited access. The 4 lane stretches are relatively short with the lions share of the time spent on marked two lane roads. The key feature of this ride is about 50 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway, arguably one of the best and most scenic roads in the country. This is a ride you can take over and over and never tire of the scenery. Lots of twisties for the boy racers or those like me that just like the feeling of doing the 'turn and burn.' I seldom ride at anything approaching 10 tenths. I always try to leave room for my errors and those of the folks I share the road with. So far, my judgement has kept me vertical and without damage either to me or the bike. But I still enjoy the feeling of getting leaned over... there are lots of opportunities for that on this ride along with ample opportunities for food, drink and bathroom facilities. Plenty of chances to get off the bike and walk around and see some things on foot. You could probably stretch this ride into a couple of days if you were intensely curious about everything you passed. But if the intent is to just ride 3 hours will probably do it. I leave the house and head towards downtown to hop on the Lynchburg expressway, Not much to see here except cagers who don't watch for bikes...so what else is new? :) Follow the expressway out to the Graves Mill Rd exit and take a left at the top of the ramp. Follow this road until you get to Rt 221 where you will take a left. Graves Mill Shopping Center will be on your left as you make the turn onto 221. Just a few more lights and 221 turns into a rural two lane highway. Lots of rolling hills here. As you ride out of the Forest area, keep your eyes pealed for the Casaloma subdivision on your left. That is the last landmark before your turn off 221. Turn right just past Casaloma and go to the top of the hill and take another right. There is a church right there at the corner...You are now on a nice unmarked county road that is a nice pleasant ride, just don't push the pace on this road. There are plenty of blind corners and turns that sneak up on you. Just relax and pay attention and you'll be fine. Another consideration is that the road isnt really very wide and if you are leaned over hard in a corner and someone else decides to take their half out of the middle, you are in trouble...the road isnt wide enough for that, so ride conservatively. The parkway gives you plenty of room for the 'turn and burn' and you'll be getting there within the 1/2 hour or so. The very next intersection is almost a crossroads...you will want to continue in the general direction you have been going so you'll take a hard left and an immediate hard right to continue. More of the same...unmarked road winding through the countryside of Bedford county. Beautiful countryside, nice views of the Peaks of Otter, and decent pavement. Eventually you get to 122 and you must cross 122 to continue on Jopling Rd. Jopling Rd eventually gets you to Rt 43 which is (one of) the main access road to the Peaks of Otter and to the Parkway. 43 has road markings and is a standard width 2 lane road with excellent pavement quality. You'll be turning right on 43 and heading towards the Peaks. As you get closer and the road turns sharply uphill, it also gets twisty. Be aware as you sprint up the mountain that there are places where you will likely find gravel washes across the road. Hitting one of these wrong can ruin your day...u have been warned. Again pavement quality is very good and it is a nice run up the mountain. Once you get to the top there is much to stop and see there. Campsites, the Peaks of Otter Lodge is there, if you feel like hiking, the path up Sharptop, one of the pair of peaks that are called the Peaks of Otter. is available. Most folks in decent shape can make the hike up in a couple of hours. Take water with you! And your camera...the view from up there is quite nice...especially during winter and early spring. In the summer, the haze makes it more difficult to appreciate what you are seeing. The walk back down the mountain you'll probably do in less than 1/2 the time it took to climb. And when you get back you'll be hungry. So head on down the hill and across the lake to the Lodge and have some food there. The restaurant there does a pretty good job and they serve a wide variety of things that will appeal to most american tastes. After feeding yourself and taking a bathroom break, continue heading North on the Parkway...the next place to use bathroom facilities is about 20 miles away on the James River or about a 1/2 hour at the parkway speed limit of 45 mph. Remember that any speeding ticket you 'acquire' on the parkway is a federal rap with penalties that are steeper than what u face from your local jurisdiction. So go ahead and play in the corners...but be aware of the consequences. Don't ask me how I know all this.... :) The 20 mile stretch between the peaks and the James River is mostly downhill with lots of really nice sweepers that you can see through and can safely drag the footpegs if you want. But to ride the whole parkway that way is to miss part of the point of being there...the views are spectacular and it is worth slowing down and smelling the roses a bit and taking some pictures for the scrapbook. As you reach the pinnacle of the ridge at Apple Orchard Mountain radar station ( now abandoned ) you'ff find the temperature between 10 and 15 degrees colder than it will be when you get down to the James River. If you bundle up for the colder temperature you'll be pealing it all back off in just a few miles...so enjoy the slight chill knowing you'll be getting warmer soon. The descent into the James River Valley is a pretty one with many views of the Shenandoah Valley off to your left and the James to your right. Each has it's attractions and if you are watching for photo opps, you'll find enough to make some memories for later. When you get to the James, right on the other side of the river is the Visitor's Center where you can hit the potty, pick up maps, flyers for attractions in the area and take some more photos. Be sure and take a few minutes to check out what the place offers. Continuing North on the Parkway, you are starting back uphill again as you begin the climb out of the James River Valley. There are not as many scenic views in this stretch of the Parkway, but the road is just as interesting with plenty of fast sweepers and opportunities to practice your mastery of the twisties. Not much to say about this stretch except to enjoy it. When you see the signs for Rt 60, you will exit there and take a left on 60 towards Amherst. This next leg takes you through rural Amherst county and is hilly and somewhat curvy. Again, pavement quality is generally above reproach and is a typical marked two lane road. When you get into Amherst some 20 miles or so later, you'll have some options. Amherst is the epitomy of small town america, with most of the trappings you would expect, including a traffic circle. As you enter the circle bear to the right out of the circle at the first opportunity and that puts you on 29 business and takes you through town. If you are traveling in cooler weather and are ready for a warm up, the Briar Patch Restaurant is a local favorite and caters to the local College crowd from Sweetbrier College, a girls school for the insufferably rich. The food is good without being exceptional, and it is a good place to warm up. Just follow 29 Business through town and it will be on your left down near the bottom of the hill after you pass Amherst High School. When you leave The Briar Patch, continue down 29 business and merge onto the 4 lane. Here you have a choice. If you take the bypass, you will get some 65 mph interstate-like travel for a few miles. This is a brand new road as of a year ago and is very smooth with no patches...quite a nice ride when traffic is not too heavy. Watch the signs for the Historic District and take that exit and that will take you back to downtown Lynchburg and put you just a stones throw from where we started. The whole ride could take two days if you spent the night at the Peaks of Otter Lodge, and took in some of the sights along the way. I didnt mention the Bed and Breakfast on 43 as you approach the peaks...you could stay there too. I also didnt mention the Winery on Jopling Rd. You could stop there and taste a little wine...but please don't drink and ride. Wait a while before getting back on the bike if you imbibe. So spend two leisurely days if you want to hike and see some sights...or do the ride in one day if you just want to get away from it all and ride some twisties and see some breathtaking scenery. Either way, it is a trip you will enjoy and never forget. Comments can be sent directly to my email at firstname.lastname@example.org Enjoy your ride!
This is a motorcycle ride in the state of Virgina. This motorcycle route has 10 scenery characteristics and other road conditions to help you plan your road trip. This motorcycle map was created by hotshoetom in April. Click here to see other Motorcycle Roads by hotshoetom