This Saturday, our friends at Riverside Outfitters will open their Brown’s Island Outpost for the fourth straight year. Last year was a kind of watershed for the location: Rentals of mountain bikes, kayaks and standup paddleboards jumped from 900 the year before to 2,300 between roughly Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.
RO owner Matt Perry attributes some of that to being open seven days a week (as opposed to four in 2013) but even more to the word of mouth the location has built in three years. Now, he said, people know that Brown’s Island is a place they can go for an hour to paddle around in the flatwater below Belle Isle. Tourists are discovering it, as well, and taking bikes along the canal and over to Belle Isle and beyond.
Perry added that all the equipment is new this year and that rental options and rates will remain the same this year — mountain bikes are $10 per hour, SUPs and sit-on-top kayaks are $15.
But there is one cool addition to the Outpost’s offerings. Starting on June 15, RO will offer what they call “Walkup Whitewater.” At 11:30, 1:30 and 3:30 — for $25 per person — they’ll be running guided trips in inflatable kayaks, a.k.a. “Duckies,” from Brown’s to the 14th St. Takeout, taking on the famous Pipeline Rapids along the way.
Connor O’Donnell, a Monacan High and William and Mary grad who’ll be in charge of the Outpost this summer, said they even hope to have remote control boats for kids too small to rent kayaks to play with in the canal.
For more information, check out the Riverside Outfitter’s website.