Reidsville, NC to Charlottesville, VA

The Alta Museum in Altavista

With a major storm between me and Charlottesville on Saturday - an out of season Nor'Easter - I decided to take a day off in Reidsville. I could have ridden north to Danville, about 25 miles away, but it wouldn't have been much fun into that cold 15-25 mph wind that blew all day. If I had gone any farther, I would have run into heavy rain. That didn't seem like a sane thing to do,so I explored Reidsville, watched football games, and read. Not the best day touring, but not bad. Folks everywhere I went were friendly and the town itself is quite pretty. Unfortunately, because of the bad weather. I didn't take my camera with me so I don't have any images to share.

When I called my daughter to tell her I would be a day late getting to Charlottesville because of the storm, she said that she had An appointment with her research director on Monday morning and she would like for me to meet her. We decided that she would drive down and pick me up somewhere around Lynchburg on Sunday night.

Sunday morning wasn't much better than Saturday morning in Reidsville - cold wet, and windy, but now the major rain was south of me and I would be riding north into better weather instead of into worse weather. Because of the weather, I didn't use my camera until I arrived in Altavista. I hadn't planned to stop there, but it was a good place to be picked up from and I was tired of riding illegally. More on that in a minute.

I left Reidsville at 8 AM in light rain with a 10 to 15 mph headwind and arrived in Altavista after six hours of riding into a cold headwind. About half of the ride was also in mist or very light rain. I stopped for breakfast in Danville and lunch near Chatham. I rode US 29 all the way despite the fact that a) everybody said it would be bad riding and b) it was illegal for me to ride it north of Chatham. On Sunday, it wasn't bad riding and I've ridden illegally on roads in the US and Europe before, so that wasn't a big deal either. I don't think I'd want to ride 29 through Lynchburg or Charlottesville or Danville on a week day, but on Sunday it was OK.

US Bus 29 runs around the west side of Reidsville. US 29 runs up the west side. I rode for 9 miles on US Bus 29 - a pretty, hilly, 2 lane road with - on Sunday morning - almost no traffic. When I got to US 29, I found an interstate like expressway with wide smooth shoulders and no rumble strips. Maybe on a weekday it would have been unpleasant to ride because of traffic noise and big trucks, but on Sunday morning it was very pleasant. I hated to leave it for Bus 29 in Danville, but, after 20+ miles I was really looking forward to a good breakfast.

Bus 29 through Danville goes on for a long way - about 13 miles - and, while it was OK on Sunday, it is a four lane expressway with no shoulder through a 'strip.' I wouldn't want to ride it on a weekday. It did, however, have a big, positive, impact on my day. Less than a mile from US 29, I saw the West Main Diner. I rode my bike over to the median - the highway was divided here - and carried it across so I could get to the food sooner! It is a really nice down home place. Breakfast was good and the atmosphere was great. I enjoyed listening to and interacting with the patrons and the staff as much as I enjoyed eating my breakfast. Highly recommended if you happen to ride in Danville.

After breakfast It was a long grind through town, hilly and boring. Once north of town, the shoulder was back and the view was much more interesting. It was still misty and chilly, but I was dressed appropriately and the riding was enjoyable. When I got to Chatham a dozen miles later (and about 25 miles from breakfast), I saw a Subway on the other side of the expressway. I rode over and got another 12" sub, half for my first lunch and half for my second lunch. I ended up eating the second half at a McDonalds in Altavista ;-}.

Shortly after leaving the Subway, I saw a small, fancy, sign that looked like a historical marker. It said bicycles, pedestrians, etc. are prohibited on this highway. That didn't make any sense since much of that highway is anything but limited access - were talking about houses having driveways on US 29! - so I ignored it. The highway did, however, look like a limited access highway for a while and the speed limit was raised to 65 mph.

The bicycles, etc, prohibited sign was repeated, in a much larger version, before Gretna and again before Altavista. I also had one - but only one - vehicle come too close to me after the prohibited signs. That was an SUV towing a wide trailer and that trailer came within a foot of my panniers. The SUV driver probably just forgot about the trailer, but it made me a little nervous to think that drivers might be treating this road like it was an interstate.

By the time I got to the second Altavista exit, I was ready for my second lunch. The sign said there was a McDs 1.6 miles down that exit, so I headed that way. It was more than 1.6 miles, but the riding was quite nice so I didn't mind. When I got to the McDs, it was pretty much at the middle of a Bus 29 route which runs, for 8 miles or more, through Hurt and Altavista. I looked at my maps and saw that I could take a small road over through Lynch Station and reach VA 24 which would get me the intersection of VA 24 and US 29 where I had planned to meet my daughter. Then I went in and waited over 15 minutes just to get a cup of coffee. Fast food it wasn't!

Bus 29 north of Altavista - note the railroad track which US 29 roughly follows most of the time

I sat in the McDs and enjoyed the coffee and my Subway sub, and thought about riding on. I decided it might be simpler just to have my daughter pick me up in Altavista, which would mean 18 more miles - less than 20 minutes - round trip, for her instead of about 15 miles - probably well over an hour, for me. After I finished my meal, I rode north on Bus 29 looking for a pay phone. I found one, called my daughter and she said she'd come to Altavista. Then I rode on, and right at the north end of that Bus 29 stretch and discovered a service station / convenience store, with bathrooms and a nice area where I could sit and read or work on my ride report. I called my daughter again and, about an hour later, she picked me and my bike up. Life is good.

75 miles with 2650 feet of climbing and headwinds in six hours and fifteen minutes.