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Big North Bank Trail Project to Begin in the New Year

The project would create close to a half mile of new singletrack (red dotted line).

Earlier today I spoke with Mike Burton, city trails manager and interim James River Park Superintendent, about the future of the proposed North Bank Trail segment that would take hikers and bikers between the stone switchbacks next to Maymont and the Texas Beach entrance to the JRPS entirely off Kansas Avenue and on trail.

We wrote about this recently, and a volunteer day was even scheduled to begin the large undertaking. But then some neighbors, specifically those with property contiguous to the project, raised concerns about trail traffic and making sure users don’t come on to private property. Burton said he and his staff met with those property owners and everything looks good to break ground on the project soon.

“That’s priority one after the first of the year,” he said.

So, check back here for updates about how you can get involved when the time comes.

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Sen. Mark Warner to Visit Local Bike Builder on Saturday to Discuss Trump Tariffs

Back in October, for an episode of our Views from the Treehouse podcast, we interviewed Shane Cusick, who started a company right here in Richmond — Pello Bikes — making bicycles purpose-built for kids. It was a fascinating discussion, especially near the end when Cusick spoke about the impact the President Trump-imposed 10% import tariff was having on his fledgling business and what it would mean if that tariff jumped to 25% on Jan. 1. That 15% bump was recently postponed 90 days to give the United States and China more time to iron out their trade differences. But the challenge of operating a small business that makes its product in China (like so many small U.S.-based businesses) is still very real, and the outcome of those talks is uncertain.

Cusick told me he recently contacted Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner to tell them his story. Sen. Warner responded, and this Saturday he’ll be visiting Pello Bikes at 2 p.m. to talk about how the new tariffs are affecting business like Pello. Cusick said the event is open to the public and that the Senator would love to hear from other small business owners who might be similarly affected by the tariffs. Also, he added, you can bring your kids and let them ride around in the parking lot.

Pello Bikes is located at 215 W 21st St, Studio 2C Richmond, Va. 23225. You can email Shane for more information at info@pellobikes.com.

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North Bank Trail Work Update (and Other Trail Happenings)

After announcing Saturday’s North Bank Trail work day, city trails manager Mike Burton said there were a few questions raised by community and neighborhood members in the Maymont area where the trail will be located. Burton stressed that the trail is squarely on public property and this will only be a short delay, but he said both the James River Park System trail crew and rvaMORE want to engage with these groups and ensure that all questions are answered prior to breaking ground on the new trail.

Local trail builders have hit the pause button on the North Bank Trail project scheduled to begin Saturday, Nov. 17.

So, to allow the time for this to happen, Saturday’s work day will be postponed. A new date will be announced as soon as possible, and of course we’ll have that info here. Burton said the delay isn’t likely to be more than a couple of weeks.

In the meantime there are other trail events going on this Saturday:

Terrapin Beer Co. Trail Build Day @ Pocahontas:
Join the folks from Terrapin Beer Co. on Saturday November 17 as the rvaMORE trail crew will be working on a new section of trail at Pocahontas State Park. Come eat good food, meet other great people, work together, and enjoy maintaining and enhancing the trails. Starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday, CLICK HERE for tickets and more details.

Take A Kid Mountain Biking Day @ Belle Isle:
Join rvaMORE for its annual Take A Kid Mountain Biking Day! This IMBA developed event encourages communities around the world to join together and ride mountain bikes with youth. The event is open to children of all ages and riding abilities.  Starts at 1 pm this Saturday, Nov. 17 on Belle Isle, CLICK HERE  for tickets and more details.

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Huge New Trail Segment Going in at North Bank!

A rider navigates North Bank Trail past the walkway to Texas Beach: Credit: Visitrichmondva.org

If you heard our recent Views from the Treehouse podcast with city trails manager and interim James River Park Manager Mike Burton, you already know this news, but it’s downright huge so I thought it was worth a separate post (and there’s a chance to get involved).

From rvaMORE: Everyone who’s ridden, run, or hiked the North Bank Trail is familiar with the maybe quarter-mile section of pavement along Kansas Ave. It links two sections of the trail, including the infamous, rocky switchback and ramp climb next to Maymont, affectionately known as “The Stairway to Heaven.”  It’s an iconic part of the JRPS system; but what about those times you don’t want to take the road to get back on dirt?  Well now is your time to help make that possible!
 
On Saturday, Nov 17th the James River Park System trail crew and rvaMORE will be hosting the first volunteer work day on a new single track connector that will link the two sections of North Bank trail that are currently separated by Kansas Ave. This trail, which will run just north of the canal, will make it possible to take North Bank from end to end without touching pavement! The approximate location of the trail is indicated by the red dashed line on the map.  The ramps and single track of the Stairway to Heaven will remain in place so there will be two options on which route to take.
 
This is going to be a big project, so they’ll need as many hands as possible. If you’re interested in helping:  Meet at the Texas Beach parking lot off of Texas Ave (Map:  https://goo.gl/YnCdHX) at 9 a.m. on Saturday, November 17th Bring gloves, sturdy work shoes, and water.

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Pocahontas State Park Dedicates 22 Miles of New Trails

State and local officials joined community and members of the Paralyzed Veterans of America last week to celebrate the completion of Pocahontas State Park’s Swift Creek Trail System, an crucial link in the Richmond Regional Ride Center.

Friday’s dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting at Pocahontas State Park.

The three-year project, funded through sponsor contributions of more than $400,000 and a state allocation of $400,000, encompasses 22 miles of trails, including eight miles of beginner trails and seven miles of handcycle-friendly trails.

The Swift Creek Trail System was required in order for the International Mountain Biking Association to certify the Richmond Regional Ride Center, which also includes the city’s downtown trails.

“The Swift Creek Trail System was the last, critical link in making the Richmond Regional Ride Center a reality,” said Pocahontas State Park manager Josh Ellington. “IMBA Ride Center certification requires a certain number of beginner trails, and our park had space available to build these important trails. We’re also proud to be able to offer the handcycle trails to a typically under-served group of park users.”

The Paralyzed Veterans of America hold off-road para-cycling expos at the park in the spring and fall.

“The trails at Pocahontas State Park were introduced to us as a vision to bring together off-road handcyclists and the mountain bike community through one of our members, Wayne Goodman,” said PVA Mid-Atlantic Chapter President Charles Bradley. “He wanted everyone with physical challenges to be able to ride with the community and their families. We are proud to have achieved this through our mission of being a supportive community for capable heroes and to be part of bringing awareness of adaptive sports to the community.”

Sponsors and partners of the Richmond Regional Ride Center include Altria, Chesterfield County, the Chesterfield Rotary Club, Dominion Energy, REI, UPS, MeadWestvaco, the Paralyzed Veterans of America, People for Bikes, Richmond 2015, RVA MORE, the Friends of Pocahontas State Park, the James River Park System, the International Mountain Biking Association, UCI Road World Championships, Ukrops, the Virginia Association for Parks and the Virginia Tourism Corp.

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Take A Kid Mountain Biking Day is October 27th!

The Belle Isle Skills Park is a great place for kids to hone their riding skills. Credit: WTVR

Join rvaMORE, Richmond’s mountain biking and trail-building advocacy group, for its annual Take A Kid Mountain Biking Day on October 27th.

This IMBA developed event encourages communities around the world to join together and ride mountain bikes with youth. The event is open to children of all ages and riding abilities.

Come explore the river trails system and the Belle Isle Skills Park. rvaMore is teaming up with local bike teams for this family-friendly event.

A big day is planned for kids of all ages and abilities to join, learn, participate, and most of all have fun!

What to bring

Come dressed for the weather, layers are best if the temperatures are on the cooler side. Comfortable shoes and clothing is encouraged. No open toed shoes. Be sure that your bike has knobby tires to handle the dirt. Helmets are required.

For kids’ rides, parents will need to accompany their kids to the trail head and sign a waiver, but do not need to ride the trail.

How to participate

The event is free and open to all riders of all ages. Registration in advanced is required, limited spots available. Click here to register.

Date and Location

The event will be held Saturday, October 27th from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. at the Belle Isle Skills Area located at 1 Belle Isle, Richmond, VA, 23225.

About the volunteers:

River City Women’s Racing (RCWR) is dedicated to promoting the health and fitness of women through competitive cycling and camaraderie.

RVA Racing is a mountain bike racing club founded on the principles of inclusion, biking advocacy, racer development, and competitive comradery.

A special thanks to the folks at the James River Park System, without their support events like this would not be possible. The Belle Isle Skill Park is part of Richmond’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities.

Directions

The Belle Isle Skills Area is best access from the south side of the James River. From any of the parking lots listed below, make your way to the 22nd Street Stairs, continue east (down river) to the (wood and steel) access bridge. Cross the access bridge onto Belle Isle. The Skills Area will be on your right.

Parking

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Saturday To-Do List: 1) Donut at Farmers Market. 2) Re-Build Trail

The crossing is just below the “R” in “Reedy Creek on the map.

All of the rain we’ve received lately has done a number on the Reedy Creek crossing in Forest Hill Park. Heck, it’s done a number on pretty much every trail segment in the James River Park System (and other assorted trails in the region), but this spot is particularly bad. This Saturday, RVA MORE and the city trail crew will be having a work day to do some repairs to the crossing.

If you want to contribute to the rebuilding effort, meet at 9 a.m. on Saturday, October 13th at the creek crossing. You can enter the trail where it crosses the paved path at the southern end of the park close to Forest Hill Ave. From there it is a short walk down to the creek crossing.

Bring gloves, sturdy work shoes and water. Keep in mind that the farmers market will be running at Forest Hill Park, so parking could be tight closer to the Stone House parking lot. That also means delicious donuts (and other goodies) will be available as pre-trail-building fuel. Street parking further down Forest Hill Avenue near the Patrick Henry School could be another option. Any cancellation will be sent out via email and posted on the rvaMORE facebook page.

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Virginia Capital Trail Hosts First-Ever ‘Blessing of the Bikes’ Ceremony

Historic Westover Church, in partnership with Basket & Bike, is hosting the first-ever ‘Blessing of the Bikes’ ceremony along the Virginia Capital Trail on Sunday, October 21 at 2 p.m. Westover Church, which dates from 1730, is located at Mile Marker 25 in Charles City County. This annual event started in New York City in the late 1990’s and has since spread to other parts of the country. Westover is excited to bring this popular tradition to the Virginia Capital Trail, a 52-mile trail connecting Richmond and Williamsburg along the beautiful Route 5 corridor.

A blessing of the bikes ceremony in New York City. Credit: blessingofthebikes.com

“I am excited to welcome cyclists from Richmond, Williamsburg and across the region to Westover for this special occasion,” said April Greenwood, Rector, Westover Episcopal Church. “We are proud to have the Virginia Capital Trail as a neighbor and are thankful for the fun and recreation it provides to countless bikers and walkers. For Westover, the importance of this event is to bless the Trail’s many users to keep them safe as they enjoy this wonderful resource.”

“Since its completion in 2015, the Virginia Capital Trail has gained a reputation as a destination for bikers from across the Commonwealth and around the globe,” said Anne Poarch, Founder, Basket & Bike. “As a
world-class amenity that attracts visitors from near and far, it is only fitting that the VA Capital Trail should join other biking communities in hosting a ‘Blessing of the Bikes’ ceremony. Westover graciously opens its doors to the thousands of cyclists who pedal past each year, and so I am very grateful to April for her hospitality.”

Event Details

Who: Cyclists from Richmond, Williamsburg and across Central Va
What:   First-Ever ‘Blessing of the Bikes’ Ceremony on the VA Capital Trail

When: Sunday, October 21 at 2:00pm
Where: Westover Church, 6401 John Tyler Highway, Charles City (Va. Capital Trail – Mile Marker 25)

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Head to a Va. State Park for Special Programs on National Trails Day

Walking and hiking are the top activities in Virginia’s 37 state parks, according to visitor surveys. That makes Saturday (June 2nd) — National Trails Day — the perfect day to head out to a state (or local) park and hit the dirt.

Join Va. State Parks as they participate in the American Hiking Society’s annual National Trails Day celebration. All 37 state parks are offering some sort of special trail programming and/or volunteer projects to help keep the trails in great shape for the more than 10 million annual visitors.

To find special programs at a park near you, check this listing. There are three state parks — Pocahontas, Powhatan and Bear Creek Lake — within an hour of downtown Richmond. But if you’d rather stay more local, check out this previous piece we ran that has some options for trail volunteering on Saturday.

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Celebrate National Trails Day on June 2nd

It’s not too early to start planning for National Trails Day on June 2nd, and RVA MORE, Richmond’s mountain biking/trail building club has the scoop on a number of events happening in the James River Park System and Pocahontas State Park. Information below:

Trail work with REI and Friends of Pocahontas State Park
Enjoy breakfast and then work on a hiking trail alongside REI and the Friends of Pocahontas State Park. Click here to find all the details for this event.

James River Park System 
Mountain Bike Ride with RVA MORE
Location: 21st Street parking lot
Along with the social mountain bike ride, there will be many other events happening around the river including guided hikes and trail runs! Booths will be set up in different areas where you can learn more about the outdoor organizations and programs involved with supporting the JRPS! Click here to view the full schedule for this event.

Pocahontas State Park
Trail work with rvaMORE and Bell Joy Ride.  After working on a mountain bike trail, there will be a women’s social ride and cookout with Molly’s Bicycle Shop. Click here to register for this event.

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