Ask Eddie

Ask Eddie: Why is cycling becoming so popular in our area and downtown?

Bicycle enthusiasts come together for Harrisonburg Tourism and the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s LOVE Campaign. Photo courtesy of the Harrisonburg Tourism Facebook page.

Many communities and people around the country promote cycling as healthy recreation and environmentally-friendly transportation. The Harrisonburg area is becoming well-known as a cycling destination, and local cycling is becoming more popular every year.

Downtown now has two bicycle shops, Shenandoah Bicycle Company and the soon-to-open Rocktown Bicycles, as well as Pro Tested Gear, a business that sells bicycles and other sports gear online.

Shenandoah Bicycle Company and staff. Photograph by Stealth Ink Worldwide, courtesy of the Shenandoah Bicycle Company Facebook page.

On September 14, professional cyclist Jeremiah Bishop’s second annual Alpine Loop Gran Fondo hosted 450 cyclists, who started and ended their rides in downtown.

The city promotes safe and convenient cycling by creating additional bike lanes and shared lanes (sharrows), as well as having bicycle racks in downtown. Harrisonburg City Council recently approved $1 million toward the Northend Greenway and Bluestone Trail, with plans being developed to connect these trails through downtown.

Part of the proposed route of the Northend Greenway. Photo by Aaron Johnston, courtesy of the Northend Greenway Facebook page.

The Harrisonburg Department of Parks and Recreation manages Hillandale Park’s Rocktown Trails, a looped system of trails for both novice and expert riders.

Harrisonburg received national recognition recently for its designation as a Ride Center by the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) and was named a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists.

Harrisonburg is one of only two communities in the country that is both a Ride Center and a Bicycle Friendly Community.

During their visit to the area, representatives of the IMBA commented that Harrisonburg ranks in the top 2% in the country in terms of resources for cyclists. We have fantastic mountain trails for advanced cyclists, scenic county roads for recreational riding, and a great downtown with lots of craft beer options (which is apparently very important for cyclists). They stated it is very unusual for a community to rank high in all three categories.

Bicyclists on the 30th annual Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition (SVBC) Century Ride through the Shenandoah Valley. Photo courtesy of the Shenandoah Bicycle Company Facebook page.

Eddie Bumbaugh is the Executive Director for Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance.

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