City Escape: Richmond, Virginia

Text: James T. Parks • Photography: James T. Parks

This route transports riders from Richmond, VA, the former Confederate capital, across rolling farmland in central Virginia to several iconic locations, marking the final days of the American Civil War in the spring of 1865. Riders interested in Civil War history should factor in plenty of time to peruse the historic sites and museums. Although this escape can be taken most anytime outside of the coldest winter months, the best riding times are in spring and fall.

Length 

Approximately 205 miles

Meet-up Spot 

Starbucks, 11413 Midlothian Turnpike, Richmond, VA

Lunch Stop 

Indulge in authentic Mexican fare with creative dishes and generous portions at El 
Cazador Mexican Grill. Find it at 7799 Richmond Hwy, Appomattox, VA, (434) 352-7093.

Scenery (3 out of 5) 

Bucolic, cultivated terrain and heavily forested areas are the norm along this relaxing rural ramble.

Traffic (4 out of 5) 

Very little traffic will be encountered along many sections of this mostly two-lane rural route, especially on weekdays.

Difficulty (3 out of 5)

Although the route involves a number of directional and road changes, it isn’t difficult to negotiate and is appropriate for virtually all experienced riders on street bikes. Frequent sweeping curves and moderate elevation changes make for a most enjoyable ride.

Road Conditions (3 out of 5)

Although the quality of the roads vary over the course of the entire route, all of them are paved and in relatively good condition.

 

Points of Interest

  1. Appomattox Court House 
National Historic Park

    The historic village of Appomattox 
Courthouse is where Confederate 
General Robert E. Lee surrendered 
to Union General Ulysses S. Grant 
on April 9, 1865. The village features 
a dozen buildings, a museum, a 
theater, and ranger talks; www.nps.gov/
apco/index.htm.
  2. Museum of the Confederacy–
Appomattox 

    Exhibits, from a rich collection of artifacts, detail events leading up to and following the Civil War. Of particular interest are General Lee’s sword and uniform; acwm.org.
  3. Sailor’s Creek Battlefield State Park 

    On April 6, 1865, nearly a quarter of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s army, some 7,700 men, were killed, wounded, or captured during the battle here. Lee surrendered 72 hours later at Appomattox Courthouse; www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/sailors-creek/html.
  4. Pocahontas State Park

    After putting in a long day in the saddle, retracing the end of the Civil War, take a break at Pocahontas State Park, which has an aquatic center, a 225-acre lake, and several other recreational venues; www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/pocahontas.shtml.