Rails to Trails: Riding the Virginia Capital Trail

Virginia Capital Trail map [Rails to Trails]

Virginia Capital Trail map [Rails to Trails]

I’m a big fan of the Virginia Capital Trail. It is beautiful, well-planned, well-maintained, and has become a tremendous asset for Virginia, not just Richmond and Williamsburg. As a planner, it set the bar high for the next trails to follow.

As a rider on the trail, I’ve been more of a tourist than purely out for a ride. I’ve toured much of the 52-mile trail along Route 5 by car, but I’m fascinated by the possibilities for new perspectives from the seat of my bike. Clearly, I’m not alone, as the trail is bringing people by the thousands out for a spin (see numbers the VCT’s daily counter).

So, the trail has been popular. It is getting attention statewide. Even nnationally and internationally. The Rails-To-Trails Conservancy has a quarterly magazine, and the winter edition included an article entitled “400 Years of History on the Virginia Capital Trail.” It is a lovely travel piece on the places to go and see along the trail.

From the article:

Two miles of riding from the trailhead will take you to where you’ll spend the next 50: alongside Virginia State Route 5, a designated scenic byway. “It’s a true bike trail,” says Gil Grey, a VCT trail ambassador I meet over lunch. “It’s not just a painted lane; it has its own route, its own bridges. It’s world-class.”

A little more:

From the very start, navigating the trail is a snap, and riding it is just as easy; though nominally uphill toward Richmond, you’ll be hard pressed to register the climb of some 160 feet over the course of 52 miles—an all but nonexistent 0.05 percent grade as you pedal westward. While there are local ups and downs, the paved pathway makes travel breezy, and the steady change of scenery—from forested canopies to wide-open agricultural fields—makes the miles melt away.

If you haven’t gotten out for a ride, spring is not far away. Or, if you are like many hardcore cyclists, the trail is always open, 24 hours a day. It is great for night rides and since it is protected and separated trail, it is safer!

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