Riding a Bike in Charlottesville – Mountain Biking and More

If you’re curious about mountain biking in the Charlottesville area, road racing, and/or connecting with fellow bikers in the Charlottesville area, you will probably find this interview useful and interesting.

“Take a childlike perspective” to exploring biking in Charlottesville.

One of the concerns/questions I get frequently from people (and my clients) moving to Charlottesville is – “how do I get connected or tapped into the Charlottesville community”?

The Charlottesville area may need more bike lanes:

Area cyclists should focus most of their upcoming efforts on getting more on-road bike lanes, according to a survey conducted by local bicycling enthusiasts.

The 2010 Bike Ballot, administered by Bike Charlottesville and the Alliance for Community Choice in Transportation, had 586 respondents. When survey participants were asked to identify the three most important areas the cycling community should champion in the next few years, the largest percentage of votes, 82 percent, went to pushing for more bike lanes.

“Together with the county, university and city’s leadership, collaboration and resources, we can increase safety and ridership throughout our region,” Heather Higgins, the spokeswoman for Bike Charlottesville, said Thursday.

Duane Gran offers some interesting insight on bike commuting in Charlottesville:

Bike lanes are problematic because it reinforces the segregated notion of transportation. I can see how the lanes make some people feel more safe, but the root of the problem is often that the road space is too narrow. My solution would involve removing more lines from the road, less sign posts and allotting about 15-20% more width to roads. Let all forms of transit pay more attention to each other as they navigate the space together instead of slotting into their designated place.

I started riding a bike fairly regularly in 2008; you can read about my reasons if you’re curious.

I asked on Twitter and Facebook:

If you were moving to a new town & found a mountain biking club, what questions would you have?

Jennifer on Twitter:

mountain bike club: different level rides? when are the rides? do they sponsor any races?

Rich on Twitter:

ask about local affiliations with bike shops or coop’s to get discounts on gear, rent repair shop time, etc.

Karen said on FB:

I would ask about what the members are like, are they crazy riders or trail riders, where are the good trails, what types of events do they have, is there a weekly ride? And, I’d want to know that there are a least one or two geezers my age so I am not trying to ride with a bunch of 20 year olds all the time.

Lastly: Bike Polo & Segway Polo

Resources:

Charlottesville Albemarle Mountain Biking Club (CAMBC) & their Facebook page

Charlottesville Racing Club

Bike Charlottesville

Charlottesville Bike Club

What is Single Track (mountain biking)

Observatory Hill trails

Mountain Biking Trails – Trails.com

Rivervew Park in Charlottesville

Rivanna Trails in Charlottesville

Mint Springs Park in Crozet & Trails.com

Preddy Creek (29 North area)

Mountain Biking in George Washington and Jefferson National Forests

Planners propose commuter bike trail from Rivanna Station military base to downtown Charlottesville

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5 Comments

  1. Joan September 13, 2010 at 09:06

    I’m all for the “biking movement” and the impact it has on our environment. However, there needs to be specific training for bikers just as there is for drivers. Most bikers in this town do not follow the same rules as cars. I have had so many close calls with bikers running red lights, passing and cutting in between cars, riding on the sidewalk and then coming down off the sidewalk right in front of me! They need to have to pass a safety test and maybe even get a license!

    Reply
    1. Jim September 14, 2010 at 10:19

      Joan –

      You’re absolutely right. I just drove through UVA and the “bad bicycling” on display there was astonishing. From bike lane to car lane, to red light to crosswalk, in and out of traffic, on sidewalks and off …

      Bicyclists don’t do themselves any favors when they behave/ride in this manner.

      Reply
  2. Steve September 13, 2010 at 13:18

    The comment about not being in favor of separate bike lanes in favor of “sharing” the road between cars and other transportation modalities is ridiculous and myopically challenged when it comes to protecting the safety of both cars and bike passengers. There is huge safety challenge from the simple fact alone that cars are legally capable of achieving higher speeds than bikes. I also agree with the first poster that a large percentage of bike owners in Charlottesville simply do not follow the rules. The problem, of course, is that they are jeopardizing really only their own lives at that point.

    I love bike riding myself, but I fail to see why separate bike lanes (optimally separated from the road space altogether, similar to sidewalks) would not be the best thing from a safety prospective for all commuters. I certainly would be more inclined to commute via bicycle at that point.

    The other, bigger, issue for me, is that I am required to wear professional dress for my job and do not have an optimal space in which to change. Charlottesville is a little hilly, in case anyone didn’t notice, so you do have the chance to break a sweat if it’s the least bit warm and you have more than a mile to bike in. Even if I could change, it’s not like I want to stuff a dress shirt into a backpack and have to worry about how to get the wrinkles out.

    Reply
    1. Jim September 14, 2010 at 19:25

      Yeah, I really intended this conversation to be about the extensive mountain biking opportunities in the Charlottesville-Albemarle area ….

      Reply

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