Richmond has a good thing going with its trails network

richmondtrailforumRichmond’s great network of hiking and biking trails are no accident. They were advocated for, planned and built by trail users. Volunteers have worked with city park staff for more than two decades to develop and maintain the trails and our region is better for them.

Over that time, Richmond has become more known as a great outdoors town. The trails are just part of the reason. We need to remain dedicated to protecting what we have and fight for more trails, especially ones that help connect neighborhoods, schools, commercial areas, employment centers and more.
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Goal reached: 4,000 miles biked in 2016

1001161117editI really got into biking in 2016. My effort was more than just fitness, I really wanted to replace automobile miles with biking miles. For an entire year, I worked to eliminate as many car trips as I could with a bike trip.

It worked out pretty well and I have the numbers to help tell the story. Continue reading

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MTB Project eats up Richmond’s singletrack trails

Belle Isle Bike Skills Park

Credit: Leslie Kehmeier

The Richmond region is a great place to ride a mountain bike. We’ve got huge parks with trails. We’ve got small parks with trails. We’ve got trails along both banks of the James River. We’ve got trails in the urban core of the city and plenty out in the counties too.

REI’s MTB Project sent writer/photographer Leslie Kehmeier to Richmond to find out what we’re all about for their Epicenter series, which was “created in partnership with PeopleForBikes, is a series highlighting communities that have invested in cycling infrastructure and grown into full-blown mountain bike destinations as a result.” Continue reading

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Local efforts are the backbone of a national cycling network

U.S. Bike Route 1 crosses U.S. Bike Route 76 near Ashland, Va.

Credit: Dana Carolyn

The November 2016 issue of Planning magazine had a detailed and well-written article entitled “Bikes Across America” about the efforts to build a national cycling network across the United States.

Now that I’m a transportation planner at the Richmond Regional Planning District Commission, I can see how much coordination and work is behind this type of tall task. A national bike network will take decades to complete, but each locality and region can help speed things up with incremental improvements.   Continue reading

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New look at a great book: ’60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Richmond’

60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of RichmondFor the past couple of months, I’ve been hiking all over Central Virginia. My wife and two children have joined me several times, visiting some old favorites and several new ones, including some fantastic Virginia State Parks.

I love the outdoors, but this is “work,” as I’ve signed on to write a revision of the great book 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Richmond by Nathan Lott and published by Menasha Ridge Press.

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Fun ride on the Southside: Tobacco Heritage Trail

As a part of my work as a transportation planner with the Richmond Regional Transportation Planning Organization (part of the Richmond Regional Planning District Commission), I was given a chance to study and ride the Tobacco Heritage Trail, a rail-to-trail east of South Hill.

I was given a chance to share my experience with the Virginia Bicycling Federation. and they were kind enough to post my story on their website. Give it a read, please. And while you’re there, take a moment to read up on the organization — if you are a cyclist in Virginia, you’ve likely benefited from their dedication to improving the laws on cycling in the Commonwealth.

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With ‘Door to Door,’ Humes’ look at transportation in U.S. is a fast read, but worth taking it slow

Edward Humes and the Google carI rarely read books before everyone else and I’m even less likely to finish a book quickly. However, with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Edward Humes’ Door to Door: The Magnificent, Maddening, Mysterious World of Transportation, he had my attention and was I strapped in for a fast ride.

The book is a wonderful read and inspiring to me as a writer and transportation planner. Humes covers many forms of transportation — from walking and biking to rail freight and cargo ships and even self-driving cars — and he touches on how fragile our entire transportation system is, especially thanks to our addiction to the solo-driven automobile. Continue reading

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