Charles City Co. Opens Public Camping Area at Lawrence Lewis Jr. Park

A new public camping area serving the 52-mile Virginia Capital Trail and James River is now open at Charles City County’s Lawrence Lewis, Jr. Park. The Lawrence Lewis, Jr. Park Primitive Camping Area features bicycle facilities and consists of three campsites with picnic tables and a group camping area. Campsites can be reserved through Charles City County’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

Charles City County’s Board of Supervisors approved a proposal for the creation of a small primitive camping area to serve the Virginia Capital Trail and Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail at Lawrence Lewis, Jr. Park in 2017. The proposal was presented to the County by the James River Association and endorsed by Charles City County’s Recreation Advisory Committee and Virginia Capital Trail Foundation. Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) awarded the James River Association a grant to support the project. The James River Association organized volunteers to install the primitive camping area in coordination with Charles City County staff members. The primitive camping area is located adjacent to existing restroom facilities near the park’s entrance.

“For many, safe recreation has been a challenge this year. Charles City County is honored to work with the James River Association to ensure everyone still has the opportunity to enjoy safe recreation options here in our community,” said Michelle Johnson, County Administrator for Charles City County. “The great outdoors is where everyone can find enjoyment, and make new memories. We welcome visitors to Charles City to create those memories here.”

The bike work station and entrance to the camping area.

Justin Doyle, Community Conservation Manager with the James River Association, stated, “It was a pleasure to work with Charles City County and the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation to bring the Lawrence Lewis, Jr Primitive Camping Area project to life. The primitive camping area fills a gap in camping access along the Virginia Capital Trail and James River, and gives cyclists and paddlers planning multi-day expeditions a new camping option.”

“It has been a privilege to work alongside Charles City County and the James River Association on this project,” shares Cat Anthony, Executive Director of the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation, “We frequently get asked about camping or lodging opportunities along the Capital Trail. We are thrilled for the opportunities this new camping resource offers. We believe it will encourage healthy recreation and help people foster an appreciation and connection to nature and the outdoors.”

A reservation is required to use the campground. To reserve a campsite or the group camping area, individuals should call (804) 652-1601 or e-mail Reservations can be made Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:30 pm. Reservations are contingent upon campsite availability, submission of a registration form, and payment. A registration form can be found at Charles City County Parks and Recreation staff will issue a confirmation permit once the registration form and payment are submitted. Reservations can be made up to 12 months in advance.

Lawrence Lewis, Jr. Park is a 26-acre public riverfront park established in 1993 to provide recreational activities to the citizens of Charles City County and surrounding areas. The park features a fishing pier, boat ramp, and picnic pavilion.

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Riverside Outfitters to Offer Bike Tours, Full-Service Bike Shop

If you need a break from 24/7 coronavirus news, check out this morning’s Richmond BizSense. There you’ll find a write-up on our newest venture, a partnership with RVA native Max Pendergraph to offer guided mountain and road bike tours, expanded mountain and road bike rentals, a full-service bike repair shop and refurbished bike sales.

After several years guiding international bicycle tours for industry leader Backroads, Inc. and working as a mechanic at several bike shops in Nashville, Max has the perfect background to steer Riverside Cycling, this new venture for Riverside Outfitters.

Pocahontas State Park will be among the tour destinations offered by Riverside Cycling.

While bike touring has caught fire out West, it’s still a growing segment of the adventure market here on the East Coast. We’re thrilled to offer half and full-day guided outings to places like the Virginia Capital Trail, Pocahontas State Park, downtown Richmond and other awesome ride destinations across the region. Riverside Cycling will also work with fellow adventurers to offer customized bike tours of any shape, size or destination.

Opening day is March 28. Learn more or book an outing by checking out our website here:

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Poop Loop, Pocahontas SP Trail Work Opportunities Upcoming

Believe it or not, the sun is supposed to shine this weekend, so why not lend a hand with other volunteers in keeping your favorite singletrack in shape? There are two opportunities to pitch in and help this Saturday:

1) Come join the crew from Molly’s Bicycle Shop for a workday at Pocahontas State Park. The new alternate line on Zero Trail is progressing nicely. Saturday RVA MORE will be working on the bottom section as they get closer to completion. After the work is done, lunch will be provided compliments of Molly’s.  Meet at the Swift Creek lot off Courthouse Road (7298 Courthouse Rd, Chesterfield, VA) at 9 a.m. on Saturday.

2) Come join a second RVA MORE crew this Saturday morning as they have a trail work day at Ancarrow’s Landing — aka the Poop Loop. They’ll be doing some maintenance work on the stone causeways and creek crossing. Meet at the Ancarrow’s Landing parking lot (1200 Brander St, Richmond, VA) at 9 a.m.

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New Year, New Trail! Get Your Hands Dirty at Pocahontas SP and Belle Isle this Saturday

Pocahontas State Park:
Our friends at the trail building/ mountain bike advocacy group RVA MORE are getting the new year started right. Come out and help them put down some new trail at Pocahontas State Park. “The Chute” as they’re calling it, is a new alternate line on Zero Trail, and it’s going to be a good one. They can use all the help they can get to bring it home. Meet at 9 a.m. on Saturday at the Courthouse Road parking lot (7298 Courthouse Road, Chesterfield, VA).

Belle Isle Skills Park:
The Belle Isle Skills Park is fun for all ages, but it needs some TLC! Come out and join the RVA MORE trail crew Saturday at 9 a.m. to help get some work done. Parking is available in the Belle Isle lot, and it’s a short walk over to the island from there.

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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

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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:

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: 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.


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.


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