Spokes Teams Up to Offer Boutique Bike Tours in VA

A new, premium, bike touring experience brought to you by
SPOKES Magazine, Bike Virginia, and VeloSante Cycling Services.

7 days, 6 nights, 255 miles…and only 13 cyclists per tour!

For 30 years SPOKES Magazine has led our readers to great places to ride in the Mid-Atlantic states and now we are teaming up with two expert touring organizations to give you a premium bike touring experience. SPOKES is partnering with VeloSante Cycling Services and Bike Virginia to offer the new “Virginia 3 Capitals Tour”

Come Ride with Us on the “Virginia 3 Capitals” Bike Tour!

On this relaxing seven day, six night tour you’ll visit the three Capitals of Virginia: Richmond, Williamsburg, and Jamestown. You’ll also visit historic tidewater Smithfield. The selected routes offer both paved bike path and lower traffic roads for your Central and Eastern Virginia exploration. Roll along side beautiful plantations, float on a ferry across the James River, explore the early civilization of Jamestown, stroll through historic Williamsburg, and visit many other charming spots along the way. There’s so much to see and do in the region and we’ll help you experience the very best of it.

The “Virginia 3 Capitals Tour” will be offered in both Spring and Fall 2018.

 

THE EXPERIENCE:

Ride as much or as little as you like…this tour is all about flexibility and personalization. You choose your experience! Whether you want to pedal out some good miles or luxuriate in the hotel, we’ve got you covered! We happily welcome non-riding family and friends in our tour groups – our abundant off bike options will keep everyone happy.

If you want a “real riding” bike tour experience, the “Virginia 3 Capitals Tour” gives you that. Each day our routes range from 40-60 miles. There are two 60-mile days, all other days are 46 miles or less.  The entire tour is 255 miles.

But don’t worry – it’s not all or nothing! Use the 15-passenger van as a distance, or pace moderator, you’ll have the experience you want. In other words, ride to your satisfaction, then hop a ride in the van as you wish. The van is always available as a SAG; use it to drop or pick up riding necessities, get out of the weather, or take a rest.

And if you take the day off or bring along non-riding family and friends, there will be plenty to do. Take it easy in the hotel or explore the historic local attractions – our “Virginia 3 Capitals Tour” gives you plenty of off bike options.

WHAT’S INCLUDED:

  • Lodging for 6 nights
  • Riding for 7 days
  • Most meals
  • Van transportation
  • On-route rest stops with snacks and beverages during the day
  • A riding guide. Ride on your own or join Charlton or Lynn on the route
  • Maps, Cues, and GPS file

TOUR ITINERARY:

Day 1:  Arrive Richmond. We meet in the afternoon at the Marriott Courtyard in downtown Richmond.  Gathering as a group, we assemble and prep the bicycles for our week-long cycling adventure.  Dinner is scheduled for 7:00 pm at an award winning, farm to table restaurant.

Day 2:  Richmond to Smithfield. After a light breakfast at the hotel, we load bicycles and luggage for transport to Waverly for our first ride.  This 34-mile ride includes a lunch stop at the historic (1929) Virginia Diner in Wakefield and country roads until the outskirts of Smithfield.  The route ends at our lodging location for the next two nights, Smithfield Station on the bank of the Pagan River.  Some guests may wish to then stroll in the historic downtown, while others may prefer to relax on their private waterfront balcony.  Our local seafood and barbecue dinner is served dockside.  Welcome to tidewater Virginia! (Mileage: 34 miles along flat and rolling terrain)

Day 3:  Smithfield Loop.  Breakfast at the hotel, then onto the bikes for a beautiful 60-mile loop; then returning to the Smithfield Station for showers, walks uptown, visit to the local brewpub, or those magnetic waterfront views from your private balcony. Dinner will include Smithfield Station’s award winning crabcakes. (Mileage: 60 along flat and rolling terrain.)

Day 4:  Smithfield to Williamsburg. Breakfast – save room for lunch at Chippokes State Park, where we will have a catered lunch followed by a visit to a local creamery for homemade ice cream.  We then ride to the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry, where we take a 15-minute ride across the James River.  After debarking we ride through the historic Jamestown Settlement, the first capital of Virginia.  Next, we ride a quiet segment of the historic Colonial Parkway to the Williamsburg Lodge.  We will enjoy regional flavors at a fine, local restaurant, seldom found by visitors. (Mileage: 46 miles along flat and rolling terrain.)

Day 5:  Williamsburg Loop.  This is your day to explore Williamsburg.  There are so many options.  Some may choose to do a morning Williamsburg ride, others may take advantage of the hotel’s spa services or shop in colonial Williamsburg.  In the afternoon, there will be a guided tour of historic Williamsburg.  Lunch and dinner are yours to choose today. (Mileage:  37 miles along flat and rolling terrain.)

Day 6:  Williamsburg to Richmond. After breakfast at the hotel, we ride on Virginia’s stellar bicycle route:  The Virginia Capital Trail.  This recently completed bicycle route meanders through meadows, farmlands and along the James River all the way into Richmond.  We stop for lunch at the Upper Shirley Vineyards and then tour the adjacent  Shirley Plantation.  We then continue on the VCT to our downtown Richmond accommodations.  Tonight we will share our final dinner at a landmark Richmond restaurant. (Mileage:  62 miles along flat and rolling terrain.)

Day 7:  Richmond Loop. Start the day with an early morning downtown Richmond loop.  Ride along Monument Avenue and other significant sites.  After returning to our hotel, there is plenty of time for showering and packing up before heading to our farewell gourmet brunch at a signature establishment.  The afternoon will be free to comfortably accommodate your travel requirements. (Mileage:  16 miles along flat and rolling terrain.)

PRICING:

  • $2786 based on double occupancy
  • $650 supplement for single occupancy

     Maximum number of guests:  13

DATES:

  • May 6 – 12, 2018
  • May 20 – 26, 2018
  • October 14 – 20, 2018
  • October 21 – 27, 2018

OUR PARTNERS:

SPOKES has teamed up with two powerhouse touring experts, VeloSante Cycling Services and Bike Virginia to offer riders the opportunity to see Virginia’s beautiful riding in a small boutique tour environment.

      

VeloSante Cycling Services, an industry leader in rider support and tour logistics, completes this collaboration with complete ground operations services. VeloSante’s team, Charlton DuRant and Lynn Petrotte are the guides and van support team for these boutique tour rides. VeloSante provides variety of services to make your trip complete including ground transportation, bike receiving/shipping, mechanic services, and gear transport.  From the moment you arrive on the tour until the last mile of your last day, Charlton and Lynn will make sure you are well cared for.

Bike Virginia brings 30 years of regional knowledge and logistical expertise to support this new tour service. The team at Bike Virginia has been selecting the most beloved bike routes and working with localities to deliver outstanding tour experiences since 1988. Each year Bike Virginia hosts up to 2,000 people for their annual cycling events. Bike Virginia brings route planning and registration services to you for this touring experience.

TO REGISTER:

Visit Our Registration Portal 

Fall Bike Riding in Abingdon Virginia

Last fall Spokes Magazine featured a nice fall biking destination trip in our biking weekend itinerary in Abingdon Virginia . We received lots of requests for that article and are offering it here for your enjoyment and planning ease.

 

A Three Day Fall Getaway: Abingdon’s a Place for Fun

Published: Spokes Magazine October 2016

Text by Kimberly Perry, Ed.D.      Header Photo Credit- Sam Dean

If you are itching for a getaway this fall this 3 day weekend itinerary for Abingdon, Virginia can give you fun escape that mixes biking and relaxing leisure in one of the Blue Ridge Mountain’s delightful small towns. Fall is stunning in the mountains of southwest Virginia and Abingdon has plenty of cozy accommodations and indie restaurants and shops, making it a great jumping off point for exploring the region’s outdoor attractions.

Abingdon’s Charm

Abingdon is home to riches of both the natural and manmade kind making it a great spot to combine outdoor fun with delightful indulgence.

Surrounded by beautiful mountains and rolling farmland, woven with fresh water lakes and streams, there is something for nearly every kind of outdoor enthusiast to enjoy. Recently inducted in to the Rail-to-Trail Hall of Fame, The Virginia Creeper Trail stretches 34 miles from Abingdon, Virginia down thru the lovely, cycling friendly town of Damascus, Virginia. It winds  along the Whitetop Laurel River and up to its highest point Whitetop Station near the North Carolina State Line at Whitetop, Virginia. The Creeper Trail is open year-round to hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding.

History lovers will find plenty to enjoy in Abingdon, since the town has been welcoming visitors back to the late 1700s.  Self-guided tours are available at the Visitors Center, and guests will want to make sure to check out two beloved local landmarks: The Tavern and The Martha. 

The Tavern, the oldest of Abingdon’s historic buildings and one of the oldest west of the Blue Ridge was built in 1779. Today the building is a fine-dining restaurant with a German flair.

In 1860, Martha Washington College opened in a former private residence in Abingdon. The college closed in 1932, but the grand building affectionately known as “The Martha” re-opened as a hotel in 1935, and is now a luxurious 4-star hotel.

If you enjoy fine craftsmanship, theater, and art you’ll be delighted too. Even though the town has just 8,000 people, Abingdon has an abundance of culture packed into the charming downtown and surrounding area. Abingdon is home to the famous Barter Theatre, whose alumni include Gregory Peck, Ernest Borgnine and Patricia Neal. Shows run nearly every night of the week, year-round.

See beautiful local artisan treasures at the Arts Depot, Holston Mountain Artisans Co-op, the William King Museum of Art, along Southwest Virginia’s Round the Mountain artisan trails, and at Heartwood.

Good food and drink are abundant too. When you want to wind down with good food and drink, there will be something to suit your desire.

All around Abingdon makes a great destination for a getaway. You can play, relax, explore, and learn. Take your pick, or do it all.

Three Days of Play and Relaxation 

The weekend itinerary provided below was created by the Visitor Center in collaboration with Bike Virginia. We’ve included a mix of riding, sightseeing, dining, and shopping.

Day 1- Begin your day with a ride on the Virginia Creeper Trail, a 34 mile hiking, biking and horseback riding trail. The fall season brings perfect temperatures and unbelievable scenery with an abundance of autumn color. Rent a bike from a local outfitter or bring your own, take a shuttle to the top of Whitetop Mountain and coast 17 miles through the Jefferson National Forest. Between Abingdon and Damascus, a short distance off the trail in Alvarado you will find the Abingdon Vineyard & Winery, Washington County’s first Virginia Farm Winery. Hop off the trail to recharge your batteries with a wine tasting and lunch on the outdoor patio overlooking the South Holston River.

After the ride, unwind at The Martha Washington Inn & Spa, a historic 4-star inn.  Enjoy a cocktail on the wide front porch overlooking Main Street, or schedule a massage at the Martha’s day spa to pamper those tired muscles.

Make plans for dinner at one of Abingdon’s independent restaurants, almost all of which are located an easy walk from The Martha.  Abingdon’s culinary scene ranges from home-style southern comfort food to sophisticated fine dining.

Day 2 – Pick up a box lunch from a local restaurant, and head out for a driving tour of southwest Virginia’s fall beauty by traveling State Highway US 58 through Damascus.  Head to Grayson Highlands State Park for some great day hikes, and a chance to see wild ponies grazing on the high mountain fields.

Biking on the Virginia creeper trail- Photo Credit- Sam Dean

That evening, take in a show at the historic Barter Theatre, founded in 1933 during the Great Depression, when actors bartered an evening’s entertainment for food from local farmers.  The theatre now performs year-round in three venues on Main Street.

Day 3 – Spend your morning on the bike enjoying a loop road ride leaving from Abingdon. There is a lot of wonderful riding in the region, this loop offers a taste of all the great cycling. In 2015 Bike Virginia’s tour selected this 22 mile route to welcome participants to their event. This ride includes Abingdon proper and the nearby rural farmland. View the map and details at https://ridewithgps.com/routes/16859784. After you enjoy a morning riding spend the afternoon strolling the tree-lined brick sidewalks of the historic downtown shopping district. Stop by the Arts Depot, located in a historic train station, and watch as local artists work in their studios.   For happy hour, check out Wolf Hills Brewing Company and enjoy a craft brew and live local music, then walk over to The Tavern (built in 1779) for fine dining and cool historic ambiance.

 

Planning Your Trip

 

Monocacy Crossing Trail

MCT Rail Trail

by Tom Rinker, The Bicycle Escape & Frederick Bicycle Coalition

With increasing frequency walkable and bike-friendly communities are what many people demand. Frederick has a lot to offer and now a tremendous opportunity to grow and improve the City and County’s bike-ped infrastructure. These improvements encourage an active lifestyle and present options for residents who like the idea of using human power to travel but are uncomfortable doing so on the open road.

mct_logo_finalAs one of the founding members of the Frederick Bicycle Coalition (FBC) and its president, these issues are always on my mind. If you are unfamiliar with FBC, the organization has pledged a commitment to work with government, organizations, and individuals to promote greater access for bicyclists and others in the Frederick County area. In keeping with our mission, FBC has identified a real need for a safe pathway for cyclists and pedestrians who wish to link the City of Frederick to points north. Our proposed solution is what we call the Monocacy Crossing Trail. The plan calls for an extension to the City’s East Street rail trail project. This Trail is a three-stage undertaking that promises a multi-use path roughly beginning in front of the Family Meal restaurant along the unused railroad tracks, crossing over Route 26, and then continuing alongside the Walkersville Southern Railroad tracks located behind the Wegmans grocery store. From there the path heads north to the Monocacy River where the City will terminate the Trail near the Wormans Mill community. It is our hope that the proposed Monocacy Crossing Trail will have the County continue the path where the City leaves off so it will bridge over the River and northward to Heritage Farm Park in Walkersville. It’s our belief that the addition of The Monocacy Crossing Trail will greatly add to the path’s appeal and dramatically increase the potential user base.

Walkersville is home to some 6,000 residents and the City of Frederick has around 67,000. Providing a safe way to link these population centers via a multi-use path would prove to be a great advantage for our residents. The corridor could be enjoyed by runners, walkers, cyclists, and more. It would provide safe passage in an area where non-motorized transportation is limited and far less than ideal. Furthermore, this link would be incorporated in the larger Grand History Trail <www.grandhistorytrail.org> which would further increase the appeal of the trail and help to bolster tourism in Frederick County/City.

Our initial meetings with the Frederick County Executive have been positive. Later this month we meet with MDOT and county planners to further the conversation.

If you would not mind investing 1-2 minutes in support (or opposition I suppose) of this trail, you can do so by taking this short survey: frederickbicyclecoalition.com/mct/

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Alcohol & Athletes

Athletes are competitive. Unfortunately, too many competitive athletes are also competitive drinkers, not to be outdone by their teammates. Ask any coach or college athletic director, and you’ll hear concern about alcohol and athletes—a dangerous duo, especially among team sports. Excessive alcohol intake is associated with injuries, poor grades in school, arguments, sexual abuse, loss of memory, driving under the influence, and trouble with the law—to say nothing of vomiting, hangovers and poor athletic performance. Continue reading “Alcohol & Athletes”