One of my favorite parts of the Crozet Cycling Club is the Easy Riders. If you want to join them, please fill out the contact form at the end of this post.
Thanks to Terri Miyamoto for the photos and the story! (I added links)
On a perfect late-autumn day – the sky deep blue, the sun bright and low in the sky, and just enough chill to make you want to keep moving if you were outside – the Crozet Cycling Club “Easy Riders” took a field trip to scope out the trail system in Lynchburg, Virginia. We stowed the bikes and drove about an hour south, enjoying the last of the fall color through the 151 corridor and down US 29. Arriving at the parking lot, we were surprised to find it full, even on a weekday morning. Obviously, this is a popular trail system!
We began on the Blackwater Creek Trail, wide and paved, on a slight downhill for most of its three mile length to where it meets the James River. This is a rail trail, and the cuts through rock, plus a short, lighted tunnel, make for an interesting ride.
At the river, we encountered the RiverWalk Trail, through a historic section of Lynchburg with many choices for meals and refreshments, although some of them would require quite a walk up stairs from the river level to the bluff above! We recommend staying on the trail (which we think runs along the sidewalk) because biking over the cobblestone streets is kidney-shaking. Take it from me.
Past the commercial section, the trail makes a sharp bend back and then crosses a bridge over to Percival Island. For a mile you are biking on a narrow island in the middle of the James River, with water a short distance away on each side. Through another bridge, then you are on the other side of the James, biking through a section of woods and fields, all golden on that autumn morning.
At the end of the pavement, we turned around and rode back into town for lunch, really nice pizza and sandwiches at Waterstone Pizza. And beer, of course. The building had originally been a shoe factory, we were told, and the immense beams and super-thick walls made for interesting conjectures as we lunched. It is an impressive building.
Heading back toward the car, from the RiverWalk Trail we took the Point of Honor Trail. This trail follows Blackwater Creek very closely, and includes a beautiful stop to take pictures at an old mill dam. It’s not quite as flat as the Blackwater Creek Trail, but other than a couple short climbs, certainly not too strenuous.
Choosing to add a couple more miles to our ride, we rode the Kemper Street Trail up to the Lynchburg train station. Yes, up—it’s a climb the whole way. But coming back down was great fun. Almost enough to be tempted to do it again.
All together, including a couple “oops” detours (the trails in the downtown section could use some better signs) we biked 17 miles and had a wonderful day. There are lots of places to stop and appreciate the river, the city, and the woods. It’s all safely off-road, and not too far for an easy family trip.