With winter weather disguised as spring, you may have noticed a lot more Bikers on the road than normal this time of year. Ever wondered what paths they take? An interview with Grove’s Winchester Harley Davidson Store owner, Barbara Grove, revealed the best routes to travel in our region and the best gear to have if you’re interested in hitting the road this spring!
Before touring down a winding West Virginia or Virginia road, you should always make sure that you’re prepared for the weather – and as of late, it’s been very bipolar! You need the proper gear, and first and foremost, “a good helmet is a MUST”! Barbara goes on to recommend a full coverage one for maximum protection, as well as reducing wind noise and providing full, unclouded sight when it rains. Another requirement: boots. A hefty, preferably water-repellant set is suggested. They ultimately need to protect the toes, feet, and ankles, as well as fit comfortably on your feet. Open toed shoes or tennis shoes would be a novice mistake. Lastly, a good pair of riding gloves is needed to blockade early spring wind and rain.
Boasting some of the best country roads to traverse, both Virginia and West Virginia are premium-riding states. Just close enough to the coast to sport a fresh breeze, and with plenty of open space and scenic views for the eyes to drink up. Many bikers make it a point to cross through the Shenandoah Valley at least once a year, hitting unique towns and shops along the way. Equipped with an appropriate riding jacket (preferably leather; heated for cold weather and mesh for warmer weather), you’re ready to hit the road.
As for specific routes or roads to hit in the local Valley vicinity, Barbara comments, “way too many to list,” but is able to name off a couple.
- Mt. Weather, which crosses from Rt. 7 East to Rt. 50 East, for short, but beautifully tree-lined “twisties”.
- Picking up on Rt. 42 out of Woodstock, continue through the farmland to Harrisonburg, exiting on Rt. 33. A personal favorite of hers, it “takes one back to days long gone of little country stores, vast fields of farmland, and a perfect blue mountain horizon.”
- A final suggestion would be to check out Skyline Drive, which runs 105 miles North and South along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Home to an abundance of wildlife and scenic views, you can start on the road locally near Front Royal routes 66 and 340.
It’s both an exhilarating and soothing feeling, being on a motorcycle. You know how dogs look when they’ve got their heads stuck out of the car window, ears and tongue flopping in the wind? That’s how I would describe being on a bike – a mixture of freedom and fresh air; euphoric and at the same time peaceful. Being so close to the road and the outdoors feeds the inner soul while providing peace and time to reflect on the joys in life.