Category Archives: My life

My love for the James River and Richmond‘s outdoor adventures are the biggest reasons why I’ve never wanted to leave.

Update on “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Richmond” and more hiking

60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of RichmondAfter nearly three years of research, hikes, writing, editing, proofing, more editing…we’re finally almost to the release of the 3rd edition of “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Richmond.” It is expected to be out in June. Take a look at the information page on the Menasha Ridge Press website. Continue reading


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Try a year of cycling for better physical, mental health

img_20190116_134318904New Year’s resolutions are often hard to make into a habit. If exercising more is one of them, January weather can make it more of an indoor effort. If riding your bike more is one of your ways to get fit, cold, snow, and ice can be a challenge. Consider a year of cycling to improve your physical and mental health.

Outside Magazine started the year with an article encouraging more people to take up biking.

Theoretically, getting more people to ride should be easy. Never in the history of cycling has there been a wider range of bicycles and riding styles on offer to the American consumer. However, there’s still a pretty significant barrier of entry to cycling here in America, and it’s called the prospect of death.

But how dangerous is cycling really? Unfortunately it’s difficult to say with numerical certainty, because the annual number of bicycle deaths doesn’t tell the entire story. We do know that somewhere around 800 people per year are killed in cycling crashes, but what we don’t have is the necessary data to calculate cyclist mortality per miles traveled.

The article highlights the importance of avoiding cars, using sensible bike gear, and slowing down (for the road racing types).

I bike commute. I select and plan my routes carefully and know them well. It is important to me that I avoid what I would consider dangerous streets and stick to more pleasant neighborhood streets or roads with lower traffic volumes and speeds. I wear bright gear and usually have lights with me, especially in the winter months because it is important to be seen by motorists.

My bike commute is my main exercise. I measure every trip on a GPS app to track myself, which makes it a little more fun. I biked nearly 4,600 miles and burned more than 176,000 calories. More than 2,900 of those miles and 116,000 of the calories were on my work commutes. It is a vital part of my day to bike to work. I rotate among three bikes and take different routes to keep it interesting. It takes planning and more attention to the weather and my daily schedule, but I’ve been able to make it work to my advantage.

Commuting by bike to work and for errands does improve physical and mental health. A recent study focusing on the health aspects of biking for transportation was highlighted on REI’s blog:

Is there something about riding your bike that makes you feel better? Well, it turns out science may validate your experience. An article recently published in Environmental International suggests that those who use a bicycle as a form of transportation may maintain higher levels of self-perceived health than drivers, walkers and public transportation users and also experience lower levels of stress.

The study found that overall biking gave cyclists more energy and less stress than people who didn’t bike (seem obvious, but good to confirm). It also found that those cyclists had better engagement and involvement with their communities. “[B]iking forces us to slow down and interact with our surroundings in a different way—something that can be relaxing, exciting and generally more fulfilling,” according to the article. I certainly find that I am much more loyal and attentive to the places along the most common routes I bike. I make errands and some work trips out to be opportunities to exercise, which not only keeps me fit but prevents me from burning fuel with my vehicle while also saving a little money. That’s a win-win.

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Still achieved 2018 bike commuting goals, despite obstacles

Riggan family visit to the Virginia Creeper Trail, spring 2018.The year 2018 was another good one for bike rides. Not a record-setter due to a variety of mechanical issues and the reality that rain and snow hampered the early and late months, but I still met my commuting goals and made time for a few fun rides.

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‘Not a Scientist’ explores many ways politicians evade science, climate change


Over the turbulent past couple of years, many Americans have become more politically aware. No matter which party you back, the challenges to balance of power in the United State of America has been complicated by a lack of facts.

Science has essentially been neglected or even tossed aside by the Trump administration. The book Not a Scientist: How Politicians Mistake, Misrepresent and Utterly Mangle Science, author Dave Levitan attempts to identify the many ways in which politicians have abused or ignored science. The book was  quite humorous and a quick read.  Continue reading

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Reached my bike commuting goals for 2017…now what?

bikeshareThe biking in 2017 was good. I met my commuting goals, made time for some fun rides and some good mountain biking too.

My resolution for 2018 will be to spend a little more time riding socially with others. I want to make time for my wife and children, my friends, my fellow trail building volunteers.  I’m coming for you in 2018, thanks for waiting while I wrote my hiking book and outdoors guide (side gig). Continue reading

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Virginia Capital Trail gets another new attraction at Four Mile Creek


On October 25, a new bike sculpture was unveiled at Henrico County’s Four Mile Creek Park trailhead for the Virginia Capital Trail. It was donated by HHHunt and Daniel T. Schmitt, the company’s president and chief operating officer.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported on the back story for how the metal bike sculpture became available.  Continue reading

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Three months in, benefits of bike commuting are paying off

BQ3a_2OCYAAFjxE.jpg largeFor the past couple of years, I’ve made a commitment to bike instead of drive as often as I can, and it is paying off in many ways.

So far in 2017, I’m off to a great start, thanks in part to mild winter weather, better gear, and an understanding and encouraging work place. Continue reading

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