Shenandoah Bike Tour Virginia, Lizard Head Cycling Guides
   
107 Aurum St, Box 855, Ophir, CO 81426 970.728.5891 info@LizardHeadCyclingGuides.com

Shenandoah Bike Tour

Please click here to jump to the Overview section with all tour details including pricing.

Shenandoah Bike Tour: Highlights

The Shenandoah Valley is a cycling nirvana bounded to the east by the Blue Ridge Mountains and to the west by the eastern front of the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians. Our Shenandoah bike tour delivers small road riding that twists, turns and climbs through what we feel is the best rolling hill cycling topography in eastern North America. Cyclists ride through the verdant Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountains of Virginia experiencing the rich history of the land and that of the Civil War Confederacy. The Shenandoah Valley is well suited for upper intermediate to advanced cyclists.

The word Shenandoah is of unknown origin, though the most popular and romanticized belief is that it derives from a Native American expression for “Beautiful Daughter of the Stars.”

The riding was a wonderful combination of beautiful scenery and challenging rides. I have never been to this part of America before and was surprised by the beauty. The rivers and forests are primal and I found it energizing to spend time there. All the roads were in good to excellent condition which surprised me! Highly recommend this ride to anyone! – Kevin B.

Shenandoah Bike Tour, The Shenandoah Mountains of Central Virginia

The Shenandoah Mountains of Central Virginia

Shenandoah Bike Tour, Skyline Drive

Skyline Drive

Shenandoah Bike Tour, Black bear on Skyline Drive!

Black bear on Skyline Drive!

Among the many highlights this tour enjoys are breathtaking views along Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park, a shady ascent up through Goshen Pass via Maury River Road, the revitalizing natural hot springs of Warm Springs, Virginia, an epic journey to climb West Virginia’s highest peak, Spruce Knob, at 4,863-feet, a twisty ride snaking through Smoke Hole Canyon and finally, a challenging descent through Lost River State Park to Cave Ridge Vineyards.

Virginia and West Virginia provide an entirely different venue to riding in the American West. Lizard Head Cycling’s owner, John Humphries, grew up in southern Pennsylvania and knows this region for its bucolic beauty and twisty climbs. Spring in Virginia offers boundless beauty. September offers summer’s lingering warmth coinciding with the bountiful harvest season that provides fresh foods of every type.

Shenandoah Bike Tour: Testimonials

Read what previous guests on our Shenandoah Bike tour have been saying…

Thank you for a great Tour of Shenandoah. Great trip and a fantastic experience, looking forward to the next trip. Thanks to Matt and Peter for making the trip all the better!! – Michael S.

The riding was a wonderful combination of beautiful scenery and challenging rides. I have never been to this part of America before and was surprised by the beauty. The rivers and forests are primal and I found it energizing to spend time there. All the roads were in good to excellent condition which surprised me! I assumed the back county roads would be a mess but they were fine.

The accommodations in the B&B’s were perfect. Really enjoyed not staying in big brand hotels. The care, food and comfort provided was always excellent. Being a vegetarian I was surprised to be so well fed at every establishment. Not always what I would eat at home but always plenty of calories!

I found the locals in the small towns curious about what we were doing and always chatty and friendly. Even on the roads I had not one incident of blaring horns or harsh words from passing cars.

Highly recommend this ride to anyone! – Kevin B.

Shenandoah Bike Tour: Dates

Potential tour dates are listed below and not all tour dates will run. Lock in your preferred tour date early as unopened tour dates will be closed. Please see the Spring/Autumn Tour Calendar and the Summer Tour Calendar for confirmed departures. Any unopened date can be a Custom Week (9 riders required). Please contact us via email or call 970.728.5891

To easily register for a particular tour, please click the Book Now! link after the tour date listed below. This will select the tour name and the appropriate date on the registration form.

2023 Tour Dates

Tour Status Notes: NO STATUS = Date Set, no riders have signed up. TOUR OPENED = Tour Opened, rider minimums not met. TOUR A GO! = Tour is Go, rider minimums met. SOLD OUT = Tour Full, rider maximums met.

Shenandoah Bike Tour: Overview

Reptile Rewards

Tour Length: 6-Days Cycling/5-Nights Lodging

Starting & Ending Town: Chantilly, Virginia. Dulles International Airport (IAD)

Total Miles: Up to 340 over 6 days of riding. (Can I keep up on this tour?)

Mileage Range: 41-90 (60-mile average/day)

Ability Level: Upper Intermediate (3)  to Advanced (3/4) 
The Shenandoah Bike Tour is well suited for upper intermediate to advanced cyclists.

Tour Cost: $3,185 per person with shared accommodations. Add $495 per person to this Tour Cost for a private room each night of the tour (5-Nights).
Please see our Tour Discounts Policy.

Tour Includes: 6-Days guide service, 5-Nights lodging, all meals, entrance fees, daily lunch en route, energy food, liquid refreshments, in-tour shuttles, and mechanical support. Alcoholic beverages, bike rental, and massage (if available) are additional.

Non-Riding Spouses & Partners on Tour: If a non-riding spouse or partner would like to join you on tour and they have their own transportation, they can stay in your room for the cost of the tour's single room supplement. Non-Riding spouses and partners can join a tour's meal plan of three meals a day for $85 per day.

Lodging Includes 5-Nights: (subject to change)

Ability Level: Can I Ride This Tour?

Definition of Ability Levels

= Intermediate (2/3) Rides and/or takes spin classes 1 to 3 times a week for a total of 50 or more miles.
= Upper Intermediate (3) Rides and/or takes spin classes 2 to 4 times a week for a total of 75 or more miles.
= Advanced (3/4) Rides and/or takes spin classes 3 to 5 times a week for a total of 100 or more miles. Has ridden multi-day tours and done a century ride.
= Expert (4) Rides 4 or more times per week totaling 150 or more miles. Rides E.F.I. with regularity. Has done numerous multi-day tours, century rides and races.

How Fit do I Have to Be? If one month prior to the tour, you can ride 2 to 3 times a week equaling a total of 75 or more miles a week, you'll do just fine. We like to jokingly say that "one is ready for a Lizard Head Cycling Tour when they are finished with tour" and this is true! The only way to simulate a week long bike tour is to go on a week long tour.

Our average rider age is 55 years. These are bike tours, not races so we take our time to stop, take pictures and see the sights. We have all day to reach our destination and most riders take "bumps" at some points. We offer reduced mileage options for each day. Of course if someone wants to ride E.F.I. (Every Freaking Inch), we love to show them all the extra climbs, loops and hidden canyons that can be included!

Do the Bump! Daily mileage options allow cyclists of varying abilities to enjoy this tour. One of our favorite options is to give cyclists a "bump" via the support vehicle, or a 10 to 20 mile lift down the road representing an hour of pedal time. After the bump the rider is "off the front" and riding at his or her own pace without feeling they are being left behind the group. They'll then have time to linger and take in the spectacular scenery. All cyclists come together in time for lunch. Afterwards, cyclists can take another bump and/or continue riding.

Seamless Mileage Options: Lizard Head Cycling Guides designs multiple mileage options for each tour – something we're well known for in our business. This technique is similar to heliskiing in that one does not ski everything, they ski the best. 🙂

Slow or Fast? Many cyclists who sign up for our tours have worried themselves silly about not being able to keep up, but then they're surprised to find that all the worrying was about nothing. They do just fine! Slow and Fast only exist relative to other cyclists. Speed does not matter as long as one is moving on the bike. As long as one is moving, they are truly going fast enough.

If you have questions about your ability to ride this tour, please contact our office via email or call us at 970.728.5891 - we'll more than happy to guide you!

Please also see this blog post for more information.

Road Bike Rentals

NOTE: The make, model, and specifications of rental bikes may differ from what is described below. Please contact us if you have any specific needs for a rental bike or have any questions about rental bikes.

Lizard Head Cycling Guides is proud to rent Scott Bikes. The Scott Addict 10 Disc was designed from the ground up with those longer days in mind. With geometry that is less focused on racing and more on enduring, the Addict 10 will be your go to when you’re looking to put the miles in.

The Scott Addict 10 Disc features: Carbon Frame and Fork, Shimano Ultegra 2x11 Drivetrain, 34x32 Compact Gearing, 30mm Tires, and Hydraulic Disc Brakes. Approx. Weight: 16.89 lbs / 7.66 kg (without pedals)

Learn More: Click Here to learn more about our Road Bike Rentals including pricing.

Road E-Bike Rentals: Click Here for more information on our Road E-Bike Rentals including pricing. Please note that E-Bikes are not available for certain tours including those that involve camping. Please contact us for more information before registering for a tour. NOTE: E-Bikes are great, but our tours are designed to be ridden without motorized assistance. We offer "bumps" along the road so that everyone can stay together.

Tandems and Recumbents: Lizard Head Cycling Guides happily accommodates both tandem and recumbent bikes on our tours.

If you have any further questions, please read more on our Rental Bikes FAQ page. You can also email us at info@lizardheadcyclingguides.com or call us at 970.728.5891

Meals On Tour

Lizard Head Cycling Guides provides most meals on all tours (unless otherwise noted) including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Guides will prepare a daily lunch en route for nearly every tour, both road and off-road, as well as provide nutritious snacks at periodic aid stations during the day.

Most of our road tours utilize local restaurants for all meals and occasionally guides may prepare a dinner or two during a tour. Due to the nature of being "off the grid", most of our off-road tours feature guide prepared meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. FUN NOTE: When guides prepare a meal in camp and the guests sit around and watch, this is called "Guide TV". :)

We also pride ourselves on being able to cater to specific dietary requests and needs, so rest assured that you will be able to get the nutrition that works best for you during your tour. Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan, or a someone who loves it all – we will keep you well fed during the tour!

Lunches: Lizard Head Cycling Guides prepares healthy lunches to keep you going. We will serve you fresh organic fruits and veggies, salads, hummus, sandwich fixings, nuts, gourmet cheeses and, of course, plenty of salty/sweet snacks such as chips and cookies.

Dinners: On our road tours, Lizard Head Cycling sources our favorite restaurants in each town that we visit. Our guides focus on establishments that offer fresh and local ingredients and guests choose whatever they desire to eat off the menu including: appetizer, salad, entrée, and of course, dessert... yum! :) Also, while on tour if a guest wants to dine early before the group and go to bed, this is fine. We understand that on some days sleep is the most important post-ride element.

Overall Route Map

Shenandoah Bike Tour: Itinerary*

*Tour itineraries are subject to change and modification based on the group, available accommodations, road construction, road closures, and other unforeseen circumstances including weather, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, landslides and/or other acts of nature. Also, the distances and elevation profiles shown below may not reflect the actual distances and elevations while on tour as these are provided here to give an idea as to the anticipated mileage and terrain. Please view this itinerary, the distances, and elevation profiles as a general outline as to what to expect while on this tour.

Day 1: Shenandoah National Park’s Skyline Drive
Standard: 38 miles with up to 4,640 feet of climbing

On the morning of the first day of our tour, we shuttle early from the meeting hotel to our starting point on Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park to begin our two-day journey along one of the most scenic roads in North America.

Skyline Drive – a National Scenic Byway – traverses the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains through Shenandoah National Park. It is 105 miles of the most gorgeous scenery, awe-inspiring vistas and charming historic sites that can define the perfect “joyride”.

We will enjoy lunch along the way at one of the many overlooks taking in the magnificent views and then make a final climb to end the day at Skylands Resort.

Elevation Profile: 38 miles +4640 ft / -2860 ft

Day 2: Shenandoah National Park’s Skyline Drive (continued)
Standard: 69-miles with up to 5,385 feet of climbing
Lower Mileage: 54-miles with up to 4,400 feet of climbing

On the second day of our tour, we will depart from the Skyland Resort on Skyline Drive to begin another day-long journey along one of the most scenic roads in North America. The undulating terrain will offer spectacular views of the Shenandoah Valley and there will be plenty of opportunities to stop to take it all in at any of the 75 overlooks along the way. Note: Those looking for less mileage can opt to bump from the last aid station to the inn.

We will finish the day with a quick 10 mile descent to our accommodations for the evening in Waynesboro, Virginia – The Iris Inn – to check in, freshen up and then enjoy a healthy dinner.

Elevation Profile: 69 miles +5385 ft / -7480 ft

Day 3: Maury River Road & Goshen Pass
Standard: 52-miles with up to 3,400 feet of climbing

After breakfast we shuttle a short distance from the Iris Inn across the Shenandoah Valley to the small rural town of Middlebrook, Virginia. In this small hamlet bikes are unloaded and perhaps an espresso is enjoyed before we wind our way along the Brownsburg Turnpike and through Goshen Pass. Along the way we witness lovely views along the Maury River while riding the winding road that runs along its banks.

For most of the day, the group will be cycling across undulating terrain and the climbing will be minimal (except for a challenging climb at the end)! Today’s lunch stop will be along the Maury River at a shady road stop before we eventually make our way to Warm Springs, Virginia to check into the The Inn at Warm Springs.

Elevation Profile: +3412 ft / -2909 ft

Elevation Profile: 52 miles +3650 ft / -3130 ft

Day 4: Spruce Knob – The Highest Peak in West Virginia!
Standard: 79-miles with up to 5,850 feet of climbing
E.F.I.: 105-miles with up to 7,550 feet of climbing

With up to a total of nearly 80-miles in distance, with close to 6,000′ of climbing and the highest elevation of the tour at 4,863 feet, today is certainly the queen stage!

Starting out along remote rural roads, we will cross from Virginia into West Virginia through spectacular valleys. Yes, it will be a long and tough day, but you will be rewarded with a spectacular view from the top of Spruce Knob (and, of course, lunch!), the highest point in the state of West Virginia with a 4,863-foot summit. Following a fast descent down Spruce Knob, we will climb our way up the western slope of the Allegheny Mountains and into the North Fork Mountain Range. After a stop at the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center, we finish the final miles to end at the Harman’s Log Cabins – an idyllic location which will be our home for the next two nights.

Elevation: Profile: 79 miles +5850 ft / -7290 ft

Day 5: Layover Day – Smoke Hole Canyon Out & Back
Standard: 42-miles with up to 3,625 feet of climbing

On this layover day, take it easy or head out on a scenic 42-mile ride through Smoke Hole Canyon – a rugged 20-mile long gorge carved by the South Branch of the Potomac River into the Allegheny Mountains of eastern West Virginia.

The origin of the name “Smoke Hole” is uncertain. Popular (and plausible) explanations include the claim that Native Americans used the caves of the gorge for smoking meat. It has also been noted that a misty fog often lies along the river and ascends, thus evoking a “smoky hole”. Another story is that the fires of moonshiner’s stills gave the gorge its name. What ever the origin, this will be a scenic ride and a good recovery day after yesterdays’ long ride. We will plan to have lunch back at our cabins post ride.

Elevation Profile: 42 mi +3625 ft / -3625 ft

Day 6: Lost River State Park
Standard: 46-miles with up to 3,650 feet of climbing

To start our final day, we shuttle from our lodging at Harman’s Log Cabins to the ride start. Today’s ride goes through Lost River State Park and includes a challenging climb over Devils Hole Mountain in George Washington and Jefferson National Forest crossing from West Virginia back into Virginia. The climb includes about 7 miles of smooth, easily ridable gravel, but those not wanting to ride this section can bump ahead to where the pavement restarts.

After Devils Hole Mountain we find ourselves back into the heart of the lush Shenandoah Valley and end our journey at Shenandoah Vineyards. At Shenandoah Vineyards we will enjoy lunch and wine tasting to wrap up our tour. After lunch, we will load the bikes and head back to our meeting hotel near Dulles International Airport.

Well done! 😀

Elevation Profile: +3615 ft / -4165 ft

Shenandoah Bike Tour: Logistics & FAQs

Bike Shipping

Lizard Head Cycling recommends shipping with BikeFlights.com. Bikes can be shipped either to our partner bike shop in each meeting town for professional assembly or directly to the meeting hotel for self-assembly. Bike boxes can generally be left at the meeting hotel during the tour. Bikes shipped across the continental US should be shipped 8 days prior to your tour.

Meals on the Tour of the Shenandoah
Most meals (aside from two) from lunch on the tour’s first day (Sunday) through breakfast on departure day are included. The exceptions are that guests are own their own for meals on the layover day in Hot Springs. In total 5 dinners, 6 breakfasts and 6 lunches are included.

Breakfasts and dinners are in restaurants where clients either order off the menu or choose from a buffet. Fresh lunches that include salads, local fruit, vegetables and meats are served in roadside parks by the Lizard Head Cycling Guides. Any dietary preferences or allergies should be noted on the registration form. Each of Lizard Head Cycling’s lunches contains gluten free options.

If on any given night a guest is tired or not feeling particularly social, they can choose to eat early and retire. Lizard Head Cycling enjoys hosting its guests for meals each evening, but understands some of us may just need to lie down after a day in the saddle. A meal should not feel like marathon after a big day on the bike.

Ride Difficulty
Due to the mountainous terrain, the Tour of the Shenandoah is designed for upper intermediate to advanced cyclists. Each day there are additional mileage options for advanced riders.

Tour Support
A 15-passenger van and trailer that carries luggage, food and equipment supports Lizard Head Cycling’s tours. Cyclists keep a day bag that is accessible within the support vehicle.

The vehicle will sag and then pass riders to set up aid stations every 20 to 25 miles. This allows cyclists to linger at the back and then take a ten-mile, fifteen-mile or whatever mile “bump” forward to catch-up or get ahead of the group. Energy food, drink mixes, and fresh fruit are available throughout each stage.

The Daily Schedule
Cyclists ride their own pace. Lizard Head Cycling does its best to support riders in their varying desires and efforts. Cyclists can either use our tours to simply support their tour experience or to engage in a guided experience along the route.

Cue sheets with directions, profiles and locations of aid stations are given out for each stage.

General Tour & Cancellation Policies

Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with all of our tour and cancellation policies, which can be found by clicking here.

Travel Insurance

If you have not already, now would be a great time to consider adding travel insurance to your tour. You are welcome to use any travel insurance company you would like. We recommend Generali/Trip Mate.

Generally, if contracting COVID causes clients to cancel or interrupt their tour, trip insurance companies would treat it as any other illness as long as it is contracted after the insurance was purchased. Please check your individual plan documentation for details. Please note that quarantine is usually only covered if clients are actually sick with COVID. If a state requires quarantine upon arrival because of standardized state law, coverage is generally not covered. Again, check your individual plan documentation for details.

American Guests - use this link: http://www.generalitravelinsurance.com/get-a-quote.html?partner=LIZA0855

  • The Premium Plan is the only plan which offers Pre-Existing coverage so long as the plan is purchased prior to Final Payment.
  • The Premium Plan is the only plan that offers an optional Cancel For Any Reason - the policy must be purchased within 24 hours of initial trip deposit, the full trip cost must be insured, and if they cancel for Any Reason, it must be 48 hours prior to departure, and the reimbursement for an Any Reason claim is 60% of pre-paid, insured, non-refundable trip cost.
  • Customer Service can be reached at 1-800-874-2442 for coverage questions and policy modifications or to purchase by phone. Agency Code: LIZA0855

Canadian Guests - use this link: https://tripmate.catravelins.ca/?utm_source=lizardhead

 
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