Tag Archives: travel

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).

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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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Motivation to hike the Appalachian Trail from Bill Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods”

My daughter and I hiked along the Appalachian Trail in Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia in June 2016.At long last, I finally read Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail. Since it was published in 1998, it only took me about two decades to check it off my reading list.

Bryson’s story telling was fantastic. It was easy to get a sense that for some the Appalachian Trail is a form of sadistic torture for those who have attempted to hike 2,200 miles up and down hundreds of mountains for weeks and months on end. Continue reading

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Rumble strips on roadways aren’t safe for bikes

Rumble strip on NC 345 near Wanchese

Rumble strip on NC 345 near Wanchese, N.C.

Have you ever drifted off the road while driving down a highway and been jolted to attention by quick bumps and a loud humming sound? Those were rumble strips, and they may have saved someone’s life.

According to the Virginia Department of Transportation, rumble strips cost between $7,000-$12,000 per mile. The estimated crash reduction varies between 36-64 percent. The Federal Highway Administration considers it to be a proven safety countermeasure. Continue reading

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Lessons learned in outdoor recreation planning from John Smith Trail

John Smith TrailThis past week, my Why, Richmond, Why?!? column in the Richmond Times-Dispatch answered a reader question about the John Smith Trail in Richmond. I was a little curious too and took to my bike on a 30-mile ride to explore it a little more closely.

We’ve got all kinds of trails in Richmond these days. The Virginia Capital Trail, Garden Trail, Liberty Trail and even an RVA Beer Trail. None of them has been around as long as the John Smith Trail. Continue reading

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