Bicycle Tourism in the Shenandoah Valley

Mountain biker, friend of the shop, and huge Harrisonburg advocate, Ben V.

Bicycle Tourism has been on our mind a lot lately at the shop. We've seen more and more out-of-town customers at Bluestone Bike & Run and we can't help but all feel a sense of pride over where we live.

Both from a mountain biking and road cycling perspective. It seems that every weekend there is a group coming to town to tackle some of our favorite roads and single track.

We know that Harrisonburg Tourism and the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition have done a lot of work looking at the benefits of bicycle tourism and we can say we've seen it first hand.

Here's a perfect example...

Recently a couple from NJ was visiting Massanutten Resort and wanted to take in some activities outside of what the resort had to offer. Through a quick web search they ended up at the shop, because they loved to check out local bike shops. From their opinion, shops are usually well connected to the community and the outdoors. They are right!

Chef Jakob Napotnik of Harrisonburg's Local Chop & Grill House speaks to why local and organic food is important to him.

We put them on some demo bikes for a day and they had a blast. When they came back they made a few purchases and then asked about a good place to grab a bite to eat while in town. Without any hesitation, we mentioned the Local Chop House. Kyle is good friends with the owner, Jeff Hill and the chef, Jakob Napotnik. At the Chop House you can't go wrong, they have the bar for a more casual meal and a dining room or patio for a nicer atmosphere. The food and drink options at each of the dining options are amazing. Jakob, even cooked for ESPN during live television when they came to GameDay at JMU last fall!

A few days after the couple had been by the shop we got a call from them saying how much they appreciated our help and that they had one of their best dinners ever at the Chop House. So cool! We smiled and thanked them again for their business and said we hope to see them again sometime. They promptly replied, "Oh, we'll definitely be back."

And another...

Pale Fire Brewing Sampler - Delicious!

Kyle has a good friend who lives in Asheville, NC. A lot of mountain bikers view Asheville as the East Coast's premier biking area. It has tons of riding options and it's a great vacation town in general. We'll Kyle's buddy has come to visit Harrisonburg a few times and every time he's said how similar the two areas are and that he actually enjoy's Harrisonburg's trail systems just as much and, in some cases, even more than his local trails. Our trails are top notch and so are the food and drink options. Asheville, NC and the surrounding area is home to about 50 breweries that are overflowing with vacationers. We're not quite there in Harrisonburg, but our beer scene is awesome and steadily growing. When at Pale Fire on his last trip, Kyle's friend, was amazed at the sampler and even more surprised the the place wasn't packed with only college students. From a bicycle tourism standpoint; as a visitor, Kyle's friend spent money at the bike shop, at three of the four breweries, two different local restaurants, and bought some local wine to take home to his girlfriend. He had a free place to stay, but it's guaranteed that he'll spread the good word of Harrisonburg to his riding buddies back in North Carolina and we'll see them come up here and stay at a local hotel or campsite.

These are two different, but similar stories. Bikes bring people to Harrisonburg and what's seems to be so special about the type of people they bring, is that they care about local shopping and supporting small businesses. Our observation is that cyclists as a whole care about community and are willing to spend their money to have unforgettable experiences.

So from everyone at Bluestone Bike & Run, we want to thank the local businesses and organizations that make Harrisonburg and the surrounding area great for people on bicycles. We know there is always room for improvement, but as a whole we are proud of our home. We want to bring more people to the area, which is why we've started a formalized Shenandoah Valley Wine & Bike Tour and plan to bring more similar events to Harrisonburg.

Let's get more people on bikes in Harrisonburg and let's get more people with bikes to Harrisonburg!