Did you know that Richmond was the stage for the 2015 UCI Road World Championships? This popular training race led to an increase in our city’s bike infrastructure. In addition, it increased bike advocacy projects and added a crop of new bike supporters. Cycling clubs are a great way to met people, get healthy, and explore the Richmond area in a different way.
Many newer master planned communities now have wide, scenic bike trails. Also, more and more roadways are incorporating bike lanes for commuting cyclists. Whether you’re race training, eco-friendly commuting, or just wish to explore RVA’s finest, there are many different places to ride. Here are some of the best places to ride a bike in Richmond.
Join a Cycling Club
Groups like Breakaway RVA and other cycling clubs meet monthly or weekly for long rides. Breakaway RVA, in particular, is known for their unusual destinations. These sometimes end with a fun group speaker or even a round of beer. Routes are a surprise! Expect to receive a mystery text message a few hours prior to the start, revealing the beginning location. Adding fun and an element of mystery to fitness has made this biking club soar in popularity!
If you want a more regular fitness ride, or if you’d like to train for a race, check out RABA. This group is always accepting new members and has morning and evening rides. The Richmond Area Bicycling Association (RABA) has been offering cyclists of all levels and abilities many ways to enjoy their favorite pastime for more than 50 years. Through RABA, you can always find the best places to ride a bike in Richmond.
Hit the Trails
There are several mountain and road trails that are especially fun for bikers at all skill levels. Depending on your preference – pavement or dirt – there’s a stretch of road here in RVA with your name on it.
Virginia Capital Trail. This path was just completed in 2014, although parts of it have been around for a while. Running through Shockoe Bottom, this path traces the route from Williamsburg to Richmond. It is one of the best places to ride a bike in Richmond. There are a few different segments to this trail. Route 5 through Eastern Henrico is mostly flat roads. It follows Osborne Turnpike, Route 5, and Richmond National Battlefield Parks in the Varina area of Eastern Henrico. Route 1 through Ashland stretches between Richmond and the Center of the Universe. It also features a breakfast club ride with RABA!
The next part of the Virginia Capital Trail is Route 6 along Patterson Avenue as it heads toward Goochland. This part is popular with road cyclists, especially those headed to West Creek. West Creek Parkway through the office parks is a little less busy, which offers a safer place to ride. The Grove Avenue route offers a fairly straightforward place to ride in the city between Museum District and Libbie Avenue with a 35 mph speed limit on the roadway. It also boasts very nice scenery to take in while you ride.
Properties For Sale Around The Virginia Capital Trail
If you’re interested in off-road and mountain biking, there are a few best places to ride a bike in Richmond, off-road. Make sure you’ve covered with bug spray and sunscreen, and try out these great routes. Cannon Creek Greenway is a reclaimed trash-filled ravine, resurrected by the City of Richmond and turned into a linear park with a nice paved bike path in Northside. The James River Park Trail loop is an all-inclusive jaunt for the Buttermilk, Buttermilk Heights, North Bank, and Belle Isle districts. The changing elevations, picturesque scenery, and various difficulty make this popular with trail riders.
Pocahontas State Park is definitely worth the drive down to Chesterfield! Plan to spend an entire day here exploring the miles and miles of single- and double-track trails. If your legs need a bit of a break, you’ll find some road biking around the area as well. Forest Hill Park features loops of mountain bike trails, giving you the flexibility to determine the length of your rides.
If you’re looking to increase your mountain biking skills, there are a few more challenging trails in the area. Powhite Park features multiple options for bikers of many skill levels, with plenty of ways to attack the trails of this smaller park in South Richmond. The ravine is a unique and fun feature, just be careful where you place your wheels! Poor Farm Park is a little bit off the beaten path. It’s Hanover’s best mountain biking option, and it is a good one. Poor Farm Park features multiple trails with plenty of space to challenge yourself. There are even picnic and informal rest areas along the trail, so pack a healthy lunch and plan to spend the day enjoying the outdoors.
If you prefer your bike’s wheels to remain on the pavement, there’s plenty of routes that take you through and around Richmond, with plenty of stops in our city’s favorite entertainment districts.
One of the best places to ride a bike in Richmond is the newly completed Dogwood Dell route. Richmond’s newest trails can be found down the hill from The Carillon and Dogwood Dell. Consider this as a spur connection from the JRPS Trail loop, connecting down Pump House Road from the Boulevard Bridge. Plan to stop for lunch or a bit of shopping on your ride – the destination is one of RVA’s most eclectic neighborhoods.
Bryan Park features a closed roadway around the azalea garden. This has become especially popular among road cyclists, including the Tuesday Night Training Series. There are beginner trails to ride as well. Developing your skills as a rider can be a challenge – the Training Series helps bikers at all points of experience learn how to ride their best. If you’re looking for another place to develop your bike skills, check out the Belle Isle Bike Skills Area. It’s one of the coolest new outdoor features in Richmond and already parents are raving. The new bike skills area at Belle Isle is great fun for children and adults alike.
Consider a Bike Commute
When you’re planning your commute, there are several things to consider. Yes, the benefits are there – better health, spending less money on gas and parking, and reducing your carbon footprint are all important. However, all bikers know safety first, and that includes your morning trek to the office. While you’ll find bike lanes along different roadways in our city, they aren’t everywhere yet. Be careful venturing from one side of the lane to the other – sometimes the lanes don’t always link up. Areas with lots of parked cars, no shoulders, or fast-moving traffic aren’t exactly bike friendly.
When you choose to plan your commuting route, try walking it or driving it first. Look at the intersections you’ll cross – are they stoplight managed, or will you have to rely on drivers heeding yield signs? What is the speed limit through each street? Slower speed limits are much safer for cyclists. Finally, look for bike lanes. This might take you a little out of the way you’d normally drive, but these roadways are meant just for you! Bikes are legally allowed on both roads and sidewalks, so ride wherever you feel safest.
When starting your commute, begin small, with safe streets, preferably utilizing bike lanes, and make sure that you’ve invested in proper safety gear. Lights, reflective clothing and attachments for your bike, and a well-maintained piece of equipment will all help keep you safe and reduce injury risk. Bike neighborhood streets with low-speed limits instead of fast-moving, high-volume streets. If you’re interested in developing your own bike commute route, Bike Walk RVA offers some routes and guidelines here. They will help you find the best places to ride a bike in Richmond.
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