Exploring by Bike

On a recent visit, our son and daughter-in-law brought along their bikes. They’d ridden minimal gravel and wanted to experience Loudoun County’s beautiful network of gravel roads that they heard us talk about so often.

My husband created a short route that would provide some of the best views of our beautiful county. Starting and finishing at the old Unison Store, the loop took us past well-manicured farmland framed by rock fences, beautiful barns and an assortment of livestock. This route offered scenic views of Bull Run Mountain, a mountain range in the Blue Ridge Mountains and home to Mount Weather (FEMA’s command center).

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for late July with the temperature at 71° and sunny with low humidity at the 9:21 AM start. Blue skies and white puffy clouds escorted us as we climbed a few hills making the ride just challenging enough for a beginner gravel grinder.

From the Unison start, the course wound its way along a small portion of western Loudoun County’s 265 miles of gravel roads, some of which date back to the 1700’s. The roads were in excellent shape with only the occasional pothole or washboard – challenging enough to make it fun without being too difficult to navigate.

As we rolled back into the Unison Country Store parking lot, the temperature had climbed to only 75°, making this one of the best days for riding we’d had in a while.


Ride Overview
  • • Ride Name: 20-UnisonYoungUnTour
  • • Location: Loudoun County, VA
  • • Start/Finish: Old Unison Store
  • • Course Type: Loop
  • • Course Surface: Gravel
  • • Bike: Salsa Warbird
  • • Distance: 20 miles
  • • Time: 1:38:58
  • • Average Speed: 12.2 MPH
  • • Elevation Gain: 1,155 feet
  • • Elevation Range: 361 to 701 feet
  • • Temperature Range: 71° to 75°
  • • Ride with GPS: Link to turn-by-turn navigation cue sheet
  • • Course Map:

Unison Gravel Loop


Fun Pictures From Along the Way

Most of the following pictures were taken with my iPhone; however, a special shoutout goes to my husband who captured pictures while riding with his Insta 360 camera.

The route starts and finishes at the old Unison Store and location of the Battle of Unison…


Pumping up the tires…


The obligatory pre-ride selfie…


Getting started on Unison Road…


Amazing clouds on Millville Road…


Turning from Millville Road to Trapp Road…


A mile down Trapp Road with Bull Run Mountain in the background and some good looking Salsas in the foreground…


We’ve ridden past this sign many times, but have never seen the happy chickens who lay the eggs…


Farther down Trapp Road and one of my favorite sections…


Trapp Road shortly before turning on Ridgeside Road…


Twenty miles later and greeted by petunias back at the Unison Store…


Garmin Stats

Post-ride Garmin


Garmin map and graphs…

Unison gravel loop


Final Thoughts on the Ride

Scenic and without too much climbing, this is a fantastic gravel route for beginners or anyone seeking a shorter ride. My husband and I had a fantastic time with our son and d-i-l and enjoyed sharing one of our passions with them. The perfect weather was just icing on the cake.


  • • If you ride outdoors, have you tried riding on gravel? ~ I grew up on a farm riding gravel before gravel grinding was cool.
  • • If you lived near me, would you try riding gravel?
  • • Do you stop and relax occasionally to fuel or take pictures, or barrel on through when on a long run or ride? ~ Pictures, always pictures, unless I’m racing!


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