Big bike tour rolls through Hopewell
By Ashley McLeod, Staff Writer
Jun 26, 2014, 13:59
CAITLIN DAVIS/HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT Bicyclists are tailed by a tractor-trailer on Route 10 near the industrial area in Hopewell on Monday.
Approximately 1,000 people pedaled through the Tri-Cities this week as a part of the 2014 Bike Virginia Tour.
The event, in it’s 27th year, started on June 20 in Chesterfield at Pocahontas State Park, where cyclists from across the country, and of all ages, gathered together to prepare for the trip. The cyclists traveled from Chesterfield all the way to Chickahominy Riverfront Park in Williamsburg.
Paul and Jane Kimmel, from East Brunswick, N.J., were a part of the crowd of cyclists that stopped in Hopewell at Appomattox Manor for a break on the way back to Chesterfield. The couple, at 71 and 72 years old, are bike enthusiasts who love to ride in events such as this one.
“We do a lot of bike riding and we always look for events like this to ride on,” Paul said. “It’s good to ride and see the different areas.”
The Kimmels, who ride together on a tandem bicycle, said they found out about the event on a listing online, and decided to sign up and take part in the ride.
The first three days of the event allowed for the cyclists to go on rides around the area, getting to know the Virginia landscape. The first day the ride went to Lake Chesdin, in Matoaca, the second down to visit Amelia Courthouse, and the third was through the countryside to enjoy the view.
On Monday, June 23, the group of cyclist made their way to Williamsburg, leaving Chesterfield, going through Petersburg and Hopewell on the way.
While in Williamsburg, the group traveled to Smithfield, as well as other routes in the area. After exploring that area, the group traveled back to Chesterfield to end the tour.
Gary Chambers and Patrick Page, both from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, also traveled down to the area to take place in the ride. Page enjoyed that in the event riders were able to pick their route every day, allowing for more choices in intensity and distance traveled.
“There are different options every day, so you’re able to ride as much as you want and do as much as you want in each area,” Page said.
Throughout the travels, the cyclists were able to choose from more than 400 miles of route options during their travels. The longest route possible for the tour was a little more than 410 miles long.
Riders were also able to choose how many days they wanted to participate, and were provided with meals during their travels.
This year was Bike Virginia’s 27th year of holding this tour, the last in the area being in 2007. Bike Virginia is a nonprofit organization that works to improve cycling in the state by helping to get more education on biking, promoting biking as a draw for tourists, working with government officials to support legislation or initiatives to help biking, and more.
The event also gave a chance for the cyclists to explore and learn about the different areas in which they were traveling through. At Appomattox Manor, the Hopewell Girl Scouts set up several poster boards that told about the history of Hopewell. They also handed out cookies, fruit and other snacks to the cyclists, and had a misting station where the cyclists could cool down with sprays of water.
ASHLEY McLEOD/HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT Paul and Jane Kimmel, from East Brunswick, N.J., were a part of the crowd of cyclists that stopped Wednesday in Hopewell at Appomattox Manor for a break on the way back to Chesterfield.
The event drew participants of all ages. Jane Kimmel said the oldest was 89 years old, and the youngest was being pulled in a cart behind a bike.
The event also helps to bring awareness to both localities and citizens in the areas that the cyclists ride through.
Most drivers are not used to encountering cyclists on roads in the capacity as this race, but the Kimmels said they had no major problems with motorists.
“We had one guy yell at us, but mostly drivers are pretty polite and give you three feet of clearance when they go around,” said Jane Kimmel.
Page and Chambers also agreed that motorists were not a large issue in the tour.
“They’re much better than they used to be,” Page said.
“Traffic on two-lane roads can be tricky, and can upset some drivers, but I think most of them have become more aware of the laws regarding sharing the road with us,” Chambers said.
Motorists were the least of the issues, according to the cyclists. During the tour, they encountered roads with no shoulders, and even a bike trail that was unfinished, causing a few accidents during the ride.
“You have to be cautious of highways and bridges, and when you have to get on and off the road it becomes tricky,” Chambers said.
Chambers said that going back and forth from the pavement to dirt can sometimes be difficult, and may cause your tire to spin out causing you to lose control.
Of the four riders, all agreed that more areas need to have shoulders on roads, allowing for easier access for the cyclists, and which would make it easier for cyclists and motorists to share the roads, while allowing less of a chance for the two to collide, causing injury or even death.
While few injuries were reported, the event was successful for the group of cyclists, who were able to explore Virginia and learn the history of the city of Hopewell.