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Biking more, driving less around Richmond will be fun

Since I attended the City of Richmond’s Pedestrian, Bike and Trails Commission planning meeting a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been thinking more about my efforts to bike around town. I wrote a story for that summarizes the plan and safety concerns.

I recently wrote about my work commute and I’ve determined that under most circumstances, biking the 8.2-mile commute from Lakeside to the NBC12 studios by way of Lakeside Avenue/Hermitage Road/The Boulevard/Westover Hills Boulevard and Midlothian Turnpike is not going to work for me and my family.

We bike for fun, exercise and to cut out using gas. We want our children to grow up fit and with an open mind toward alternatives to automobiles. 

I own a trailer and a trail-a-bike attachments to make taking the kids along easier and safer. Now that they are getting big enough to bike on their own, the trailer is more often used as the hauler. When we go to the beach, that thing gets loaded down with as much as we can carry, because we try our best to not drive the car for short trips in the Outer Banks.

But, there are plenty of other ways I can continue to remove automobile trips from my/our routines and replace them with biking. The key to many of these working for me and my family is traffic and safety. There is occasionally a need to drive due to time constraints, but many of these short trips are actually faster by bike!

Bike trips already added, under 3 miles (weather permitting):

  • Bryan Park (soccer, playgrounds, exploring)
  • Dance class
  • Lakeside Farmer’s Market (unless watermelons are in season)
  • Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
  • Lewis Ginter Recreation Association pool (longest trip)
  • Sweet 95 or Kitchen 64 (rewards!)
  • Hermitage Grill (open soon please)
  • Richmond Volleyball Club
  • Dumbarton Library (often)
  • Dry cleaners
  • Rowlett’s Bike Shop (unless my bike needs repair, purpose for visit)
  • Brook Run Ukrop’s (with trailer attached, not worth trouble)

Bike trips considering, 3-5 miles (weather permitting):

  • SCOR Richmond (indoor soccer)
  • The Diamond (attend a couple of games a season)
  • Children’s best friends houses
  • Buzz N’ Ned’s
  • Movieland (reflective gear and lights needed)
  • Science Museum of Virginia
  • Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
  • Chiocca’s (an all-time favorite)
  • Carytown (now we’re talking our family limit)
  • The Byrd Theatre

Several of the shopping, museum, entertainment and dining options on this list are perfect for potential riders to consider. As Richmond encourages cyclists by developing more bike-friendly routes, adds more bike racks and signage, citizens and tourists need to step up with more efforts to add the enjoyment and adventure that comes with biking to our city’s best attractions.

I suggest that anyone else that is considering substituting automobile trips with bike trips make your own lists. Commit to cycling. Own the right safety equipment, including helmet, reflective gear, lights, locks, tire pumps, backpacks, baskets, etc. The only way you’ll make it a habit is if you tell yourself that the car is off-limits for short trips unless absolutely necessary.

Go to to express your opinions and for more information.


Will the Canal Walk ever become a tourist hub?

Canal Walk and the Turning Basin in downtown Richmond, Va.It has been more than 10 years since the completion of the Canal Walk and while beautifully landscaped walkways may have replaced the abandoned wasteland that frequently hosted bonfires set by Richmond ’s homeless, the promise of the area remains unfulfilled.

The Canal Walk is a 1.25-mile greenway that connects Tredegar Ironworks to 17th Street in Shockoe Bottom. It features a series of markers and signs that interpret Richmond ’s history and provides a link to many of downtown’s best attractions. And while there has been some commercial development, it hasn’t developed into a tourist hub.

Last week, Richmond City Council unanimously approved a special-use permit to relieve some zoning requirements for a development proposed for the 6-acre Reynolds Packaging Group’s North Plant property along the Canal Walk at 12th and East Byrd streets.

WVS Cos. and Fountainhead Development LLC plan to build more than 225 apartments in a mixed-use development that should remove the Canal Walk’s biggest roadblock.

For more on the status of the Canal Walk, see

James River Wish List Part II focuses on Pump House

Image of the interior of the pump room at the Pump House

Three of the five items on my second Wish List for the James River on are related to the Pump House and the area surrounding it. Part I focused on areas east of Belle Isle.

My ‘Wish List’ for James River Park System

Pipeline Rapids walkway in downtown RichmondI love the James River and spend a lot of my free time kayaking, swimming, biking and hiking wherever I can in Richmond.

I am also dedicated to several  volunteer groups that help clean, maintain and restore some of the river’s best features.

Many people in those groups have a good sense of the best ways we can improve the way we utilize the river and its resources — and ways to make those visions a reality.

The James River Park System is now protected by a conservation easement that limits development, but that doesn’t stop us from developing new ways to enjoy ourselves when we visit. published Part I of a Top 10 Wish List of the things I’d love to see happen in our treasured park system.