With the weather warming up and much-needed sunshine, people are dusting off the old two-wheelers and biking around the city.
With the weather warming up and much-needed sunshine, people are dusting off the old two-wheelers and biking around the city. And now for those who enjoy biking, meeting new people, drinking and eating, there’s an opportunity to do all those things at once.
Breakaway RVA will start its free monthly ride meet-ups this week, organizing trips from six different neighborhoods to a secret location where secret fun things will take place.
Cyclists can meet at starting points in Northside, Southside, the Museum District, Church Hill, Jackson Ward and Manchester and start times on Thursday will range from 6:30 pm to 7 pm depending on the neighborhood. Emails with exact starting locations will be sent out the morning of the ride.
“Once we get to the destination there will be a different activity every month,” said Trevor Dickerson, a founding member of Breakaway RVA. “There might be games or music or food trucks or beer.”
The group was founded this year to build community through biking/ By hosting fun monthly bike meetups, the group aims to bring like-minded people together to explore the city, make new friends, and enjoy fun activities with one another.
As the different groups ride to the secret location, they’ll all converge about halfway through the route, forming a giant pack of riders, or as the French call it, a peloton.
Dickerson said the organizers want the rides to be open to all levels of riders, not just for the guys in spandex on $1,000 road bikes. The routes range from four miles to 1.5, so if necessary a rider can pick a shorter route.
“We tried to make the routes accessible to as many people as possible,” he said. “If someone wanted to bring kids along they could do one of the shorter routes. We tried to keep it relatively flat. … It’s not just for the hardcore bikers, we’re trying to make this open to families and older people, whoever wants to join.”
The idea sparked after two of the founding members went to Denver and attended a similar event. Dickerson said the group had been talking about how Richmond had been investing in cycling infrastructure on the road, especially in the lead up to the UCI World Championships last year, and decided Richmond should have something like it..
“Basically, we wanted to emulate that here,” Dickerson said. “To get folks out and checking out the new bike lanes the city’s putting in and just to promote our city in general. Coming off the big bike race everybody’s been pumped about all the stuff happening here, so we put together Breakaway RVA.”
Richmond’s increasing investment in bike lanes continued this month when the City Council approved a budget that included $500,000 for new bikeways.
“[The funding] could be leveraged to secure Federal grants, further multiplying the impact on our biking infrastructure,” according to a press release from Bike+Walk RVA.
Back in 2014, the city worked with consultants to complete Richmond’s first Bicycle Master Plan, which detailed proposals for expanding the city’s bicycle network. In addition, the city’s bike share program is supposed to begin operating this summer.
For Dickerson, Breakaway RVA is about showing off how much progress the city has made.
“We want people to come out to a fun casual event where they can meet new people, explore the city, maybe go to an area they haven’t been to before,” Dickerson said. “And we want to along the way promote the city’s bike routes. … I think a lot of people don’t realize just how much has been put into this city the past couple of years in terms of making our roads more bike-friendly.”
To sign up, attendees simply select their route and sign up online. A confirmation email will then be sent once a participant is registered. Monthly routes and information on the destination is available on BreakawayRVA’s website here.