Jul 01, 2015 06:50PM
● By Clair Norman
Few would argue that Richmond is becoming a bicycler’s town—international World Road Cycling Championship racing, with regular hosts such as Rome, Madrid, Copenhagen and Florence, is coming to town from September 19 to 27. The nine-day event is expected to draw an army of journalists, 600 support staff, 1,000 athletes and more than 450,000 on-site spectators from around the world. In addition to the crowds and press, visitor spending may bring as much as $130 million to the region, according to Richmond2015.com.
Dane King, a triathlon coach and bike specialist from Endorphin Fitness, a retail store and training hub for recreational and elite athletes in the West End, says, “Most people have no idea how massively huge the World Cycling Championships are to the city. All the cycling celebrities will be here—Tour de France, Olympians and elite athletes from all over the world.”
Richmond is beginning to resemble other bike-friendly cities like Boulder, Colorado, and there is a major focus on making bike trails and routes beautiful, safe and attractive to residents and tourists of all ages and skill levels. The Virginia Capital Trail, a dedicated, paved pedestrian and bicycle trail, is slated to connect the Commonwealth’s past and present capitals of Jamestown and Richmond along the Scenic Route 5 corridor. Once complete, the Trail will traverse approximately 52 miles, four jurisdictions and more than 400 years of history along one of the first inland routes in North America.
Beth Weisbrod, executive director of the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation (VCTF), a nonprofit dedicated to finishing the trail, says, “The transformational power of separate multi-use trails like the Virginia Capital Trail lies in its ability to draw users of all ages, abilities and interests. People who don’t plan on ever getting on the bike trail will find themselves out there one day, walking, strolling their children, going to the store or to school. How does a trail do this? It makes them feel safe.”
The VCTF recently held the annual Cap2Cap (Capitol to Capitol) ride as a fundraiser for the effort. Hundreds of cyclists showed up to enjoy the day, and the task of making Richmond a biking capital is well underway.