An Alternative Spring Break: Five Road Cycling Excursions

Take a break from the hyped up tech world we live in with an alternative spring break. Fresh air renews the mind and spirit, and if we’re honest, we’re all probably overdue for an adventure. 

There’s no need to worry about what you’re leaving behind. Staunton will keep you busy when you’re not out exploring, as it’s a key cultural center west of the Blue Ridge Parkway and east of the Allegheny Mountains. Staunton is a natural home base for your Shenandoah Valley adventures when a spring break hub-and-spoke in Virginia outdoors is just what the doctor ordered.


The Perfect Loop is 15 miles beginning and ending in the city at Black Dog Bikes, your source for bicycle rentals and repairs. This loop is perfect for those who have a bit of biking experience and offers enough beauty and moderate climbs to keep the advanced rider content. Expect 835 feet of elevation change.

Heading south from the city, Arbor Hill-Stingy Hollow Loop is a little longer than Perfect Loop at 15.5 miles. The difficulty is about the same but does throw a gravel stretch and a gradual climb in for fun. The best part is the downhill coast back into the city. You’ll start and end at Black Dog Bikes for this ride. 


Stretch your ride a bit with a popular local route known as the Polyface Ride. You’ll start (and end) at Black Dog Bikes and head southwest toward the Alleghany Mountains. The prime attraction for this ride is Polyface Farm, a premier agricultural source for local restaurants and others across the Commonwealth. The ride is about 24 miles long and includes a gravel stretch that delivers you to Polyface. You can avoid that road and cut the trek down to about 20 miles, which in turn gives the route a beginner level rating.

Farther and bigger views await when you head out on the 31-mile Springhill Ridge Road Loop. Start near the duck pond at Gypsy Hill Park and head north. The course is a counter clockwise figure eight with rolling hills and a mostly downhill coast back into the city. For the distance, it’s considered to be an intermediate ride.

For the advanced cyclist, big mountain views and a distance of 45 miles await on the Badger Road Loop. This one also begins at the duck pond at Gypsy Hill Park but ventures northwest toward the Alleghany Mountains. Nice climbs equal nice descents, so the effort of this counter clockwise figure eight is absolutely worth the payoff. 

Prep, Eat, Sleep

Black Dog Bikes is your go-to for cycling equipment and repairs, not to mention tips for these routes and others!

Carb up for the day with a nutritious breakfast. We suggested Cranberry’s Grocery & Eatery, which also has a nice selection of easy-to-carry snacks for the road. Farmhouse Kitchen & Wares, Newtown Bakery and Nu-Beginning Farm Store are also worth a glance for breakfast.

After your grand excursion, toast the effort, the views, and the new memories at one of our downtown breweries. There are four to choose from. We have faith that you can experience them all.

Rest well before and after your grand adventures. Find your perfect place to stay.

> Find more great rides in the area by checking out Bike the Valley.

> See part one of this series: An Alternative Spring Break: Five Awesome Hikes