It’ll Be Easy They Said – The Virginia Creeper

Virginia Creeper Bike Travel

If you google “Virginia Creeper Bike Trail” loads of reviews, pictures and testimonials pop up about how beautiful the scenery is and how easy the 34 mile bike trail is.

Now listen- I’m not here to denture anyone from embarking on this beautiful ride. It definitely had some beautifully diverse scenery. There were miles of mountains, bridges overlooking rivers (47 to be exact), streams and lakes then quickly onto rolling hills and farm lands. I’m 100% am not here to argue against the beauty of the ride however, I like to be prepared as best I can for any situation. 

Before moving to China, I spent months reading books and researching anything and everything I could get my hands on related to China. History, language, politics, religion, social norms, family dynamics, how to live as a foreigner…etc.

If you are thinking about moving, visiting, know someone going or are just interested in what it’s like living in China I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend a book called Pretty Women Spitting by Leanna Adams.

You name it, I likely had read about it or would add it to my list to research. 

Anyway- I say all that to say this…


Let me explain.

Jeanne with Wanderlust Explorations was the mastermind behind this trip. She planned and organized everything. So, Jeanne being one of those people who wake up in the mornings to run marathons, our trip started at 8am sharp! 

We all gathered at Virginia Creeper Trail Bike Shop to do a quick meet and greet with the other 14 people who had been swindled into this 34 mile “easy” bike ride. 

We met, had a quick chat then off to be fitted for our bikes! 

“Do you want the comfort bike for 5$ extra?” says the man working in the bike shop. 

(Who was likely dying with laughter on the inside as we all proceed to pay, unbeknownst to us, to be tortured for the next 5 hours).

Of course we replied with an “absolutely!” 40$ for the comfort bike and 23$ for a seat on the shuttle (per person) that would take us to the top of the mountain in Damascus where our 34 miles would start back down to Abington. 

As our shuttle started up the super curvy road, our shuttle driver starts giving us some history and information about the area. He really knew his shit and you could tell he’d been doing this a while. 


Every few minutes he’d start rambling on about how hydration will be the key to success for the day and make sure we had a candy bar. He sincerely mentioned having a candy bar at least 5 times… 

I kept ignoring him thinking umm.. dude, I’m in ok shape. I show up for Cross-Fit 5 days a week, drink a gallon or more of water a day and eat pretty decent. This “easy” trail will be a breeze.

As we continued to make our way up this mountain I was just day dreaming about all the breweries I had heard about along the 34 mile path. I was in it for the scenery, the good local booze and the snacks! 

But he kept on and kept on about the water, so I looked around and caught the attention of Jeanne who reassured me that the path was easy and no need to worry. 

If you say so.

We get to the top of the mountain where we quickly unloaded, took a group picture then saddled up for the next 34 miles of what was sure to be pure bliss and relaxation from what the loads of people had told each and every single one of us. 

As we get started, we are not even peddling. It’s completely down hill. So much so, in fact, that we were riding our breaks for the majority of the first three miles! Max and I had some friends that tagged along with us, Ben and Rebekah Knause (Co-Owner of Balanced You Studios).

By this time, the four of us had already broke alway from our initial larger group. A little over 2 miles in, we stopped for a picture and to warm up! IT WAS FREEZING!  The elevation mixed with the wind and swirled around with the fact you were in the shade thus far, made for a pretty chilly ride initially. This would prove to change in a BIG way soon enough. 

As we continued down the path, about a mile later we came across a tiny store that advertised “snacks” and “only store on the trail!” I thought hell yea, where there are snacks, there’s beer! 

We went in to find the most adorable little gift shop called Green Cove Collective where Bekah had to purchase a long sleeved shirt because she was so cold. 

I highly recommend bringing something long sleeved for this part of the trail. 

The shop was cute with a lot of cute swag but there were slim pickings on the snacks and had zero beer so we opted for a protein bar and some cherries we had packed for the ride. 

Back at it we went.  

About 10 miles in, my butt started to feel a bit uncomfortable but we were still on a nice downhill path. 

I smelled it before I saw it! There was a little shop ahead that reeked of corn dogs and funnel cakes. I thought here we are, beer!!!!! 

Wrong again. No beer. No delicious local brews. But we knew we weren’t far from the half way mark of 17 miles where there rumored to be a few delicious places to eat and have a good rest before you finished the last half of the trail. 

Mile 17, there it was! Wicked Chicken!

We stopped and peeled ourselves off the bikes. By this point, our booties were all feeling those last 17 miles. 

We sat down and immediately ordered some beers and water! The food was pretty decent and the Jell-O shots we had for dessert was the icing on top of the cake. My sweet German husband had never heard of a Jell-O shot before and I can confidently say he will not be revisiting this American tradition of mixing liquor with sweet gelatin anytime soon, he wasn’t a fan. 

After quite a long lunch break, we jumped back on our bikes to finish the last 17 miles!

As we continued, I thought maybe I was just full from lunch because the ride seemed to become a tad more difficult. We were also no longer in the shade. It was open skies! 

With every passing mile you could tell we were all becoming closer and closer to our “I’m over it” point. 

I can tell you, the last 8 miles were peer hell. It was extremely hot, our butts may be permanently indented from the bike seat and we seemed to continuously be going up hill. 

And guess what…. 

We were going up hill. 7% incline to be exact. Now, you may be thinking that doesn’t sound like much but here’s the thing, IT NEVER STRAIGHTENS UP UNTIL YOU ARE FINISHED!

It’s a continuous incline until the end. 

Of course, about 5 miles out I was SO DONE along with the rest of our group of four. Everything hurt and I felt as if my ass would never recover from the trauma of riding 34 miles on a bike!  

But of course, here comes Max to save the day. Encouraging me, yelling at me to pedal and at times, riding beside me and pushing me with his arms. 

We heard from a friend that locals will often post up right there at the end to see all the tourist finishing up the trail and laugh at how out of breath they are. 

We also heard that it is not uncommon for the shuttle to go back and rescue those who can’t finish, and we actually had two in our group who were unable to finish as well. 

After we all completed our ride myself, Max, Ben and Bekah headed back to our camp site to lick our wounds and each one of us ended up falling asleep for a bit. 

Jeanne with Wanderlust Explorations was also camping at the same campground as us and had actually drove by to come say hi after she finished the trail and saw Max, fast asleep in the camping chair, beer in hand! I’m sure that was a funny sight! Likely gave her confirmation, before speaking to us, that the trail was just as hard on us as it was on her! 

After we all shook off the 34 miles ride, we talked with Jeanne, who’s super in shape,  runs literal marathons, and she agreed that it was much MUCH harder than anyone had lead her to believe. 

But, we did it. We came, we seen and we conquered! 

Would I recommend the Virginia Creeper Trail? Absolutely! I would say plan accordingly, pay extra for the comfort bike seat and take a damn candy bar.