Even for the avid cyclist, the 52-mile long Virginia Capital Trail, which officially opened in the fall of 2015, is a challenge to tackle. Two local biking enthusiasts have come up with an idea to transport riders and their bikes conveniently along the Virginia Capital Trail.
Last year, locals Alison McGrail and Cheyenne Burnham went to Charlottesville for a run when they started discussing biking the 52-mile Capital Trail, (which runs from RVA to Williamsburg) only to run into some trouble over how they would get back.
“We were trying to organize how we would do the whole trail without having to do 104 miles biking out and back,” Burnham said. “There really needs to be a transportation service, so we decided to do it.”
A few weeks later, they became an LLC and set an idea in motion that would later become Cap Trail Bike Shuttle. Cap Trail Bike Shuttle offers various trips and booking options to help everyone reach their destination. Riders can choose how far and what part of the trail they want to ride on.
McGrail and Burnham wanted to build a service that would help fellow cyclists, whether recreational or competitive, enjoy the 52-mile trail without having to experience the full trail twice in one day.
“The first person we contacted was Beth Weisbrod, the director of the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation,” said Burnham. “We reached out to her and got her blessing.”
Not only that, but the trail poses as a safe alternative to the increasingly dangerous roads claiming cyclists’ lives every year.
As need for the trail increased, need for safe transportation became necessary, and Cap Trail Bike Shuttle rose to meet the challenge.
With the help of a 12-passenger van and a 16-foot-trailer outfitted to carry as many as 17 bikes, Cap Trail Bike Shuttle became the first shuttle to transport groups up and down one of the first inland routes in North America http://virginiacapitaltrail.org/.
McGrail and Burnham’s partnership began long before Cap Trail Bike Shuttle became an idea in their minds. They met within the craft beer community while McGrail worked part-time at the same local brewery that Burnham managed and planned local events for.
With McGrail’s knowledge of owning a corporate wellness consulting business and Burnham’s background in parks and rec and event planning, the friends began to exchange ideas and discuss a future business plan that incorporated both of their passions and strengths.
Now their shuttle operation is up and running with a van that carries a charming depiction of Richmond from t RVA Coffee Stain artist, Doug Orleski.
“We knew that we’d be the first out here and we wanted to do it right,” McGrail said. “We wanted to do a good job and get local partnerships involved, like the artist for RVA Coffee Stain.”
McGrail and Burnham continue their involvement with various businesses connected to the Capital Trail through partnerships with Anne Poarch’s Basket & Bike, Pedego Electric Bikes RVA, Bike Pals, and other bike tours and shops.
More businesses are popping up along the trail as traffic for it grows and gains attention from the community including Ronnie’s BBQ, Cull’s Courthouse Grill, and a new brewery that may be opening up at the very end of the Jamestown Settlement sometime this year.
McGrail and Burnham, they plan to add another vehicle for smaller groups and add more employees as they adapt to changes taking place on the trail.
Pickup and drop off locations are at Lehigh Parking lot, off of Dock St between Pear and Wharf Streets, Charles City Courthouse and Jamestown Settlement. Trips vary from 22 to 52 miles in length, but groups can book through their website, or call McGrail and Burnham directly at (804) 554-1894 for specific details.
Top image via RVA Coffee Stain, body image via Cap Trail Bike Shuttle