Category: First Time?

Harmony In Motion Women’s Road Bike Clinic offered at Bike Virginia 2014

by admin | April 16, 2014

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Exclusive Cycling Clinic Offered at Bike Virginia

Bike Virginia has partnered with advocates, coaches, and professional women cyclists to provide a unique women's coaching experience, Harmony in Motion, a women specific cycling clinic, at this year's Bike Virginia Tour, June 20, 21, and 22, 2014. [gallery ids="8039,7937,7711,7251,7230,7035"] The clinic cycling experience is offered at Bike Virginia for the first time in 2014. The camp is offered in single day, two day, or three day registrations for participants. Your superstar women coaches are RaeLynn Milley, founder of and Sarai Snyder, founder of These great coaches will help guide you as you learn bike handling, basic bike maintenance, nutrition, bike fit and bike selection, and on road skills. Whether a new rider, or an experienced racer, these women have knowledge to help you blossom as a cyclist. Get this amazing opportunity to have coaching by professional coaches and experienced women mentors. This is an exclusive cycling experience for women to gain skills, knowledge, confidence, inspiration, and camaraderie as tools for empowering them to attain their cycling goals while at Bike Virginia and beyond. Clinic registration includes expert coaching in a small group environment which gives you an opportunity to try out new skills and reach new goals in a supportive environment. Participants must concurrently register for Bike Virginia's weekend package which includes camping, lunch, rest stops with snacks, social activities, marked and signed routes, on route support trucks, and on site yoga. Bike Virginia also offers on site massage and vendors (fees apply).

The Facts:

[box type="info"] Clinic participants register for both the clinic and the event. Clinic Fee: Friday $249, Saturday $199, Sunday $199, or all three days $625 includes coaching, on road mentoring, and some meals. Registration for the clinic is provided through Alpine Cycle Connection and is separate from the Bike Virginia Tour Registration.Additional details about the clinic and your coaches are provided on the Alpine Cycle Connection Harmony in Motion Page. Bike Va Registration Fee: $229 for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday or $99 per day includes supported and signed bike routes, rest stops, entertainment, camping, yoga, and catered lunch. Register for Bike Virginia on the tour's registration page. [/box]  

Your New Year’s Fitness Resolutions Can Be A Success With Bike Virginia

by admin | January 31, 2014

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Taking a bike tour is the ultimate reward for getting in shape and the best fitness goal you can have.  Bike Virginia's Annual 6 Day bike tour is perfect to set your sights on for a healthy 2014. We can help you conquer that "I'm going to exercise" New Year's Resolution like never before! 2013_bva_-2-27 Bike riding is an excellent exercise because it's not hard on your joints, it's self paced, it's affordable, you get to be in the great outdoors, and it is super fun!  People of all ages, sizes, and abilities can enjoy bicycling. Cycling is one of the best exercises for weight loss and offers mean health benefits. Read more at Getting into cycling can introduce you to whole new world. Many of our riders have stories like  Mike Prior, who found his ticket to health and a whole new side of himself when he started cycling.

Bike Touring , Not Just About Cycling, Fun and Adventure that Can Help You Stay Fit For A Lifetime

Bicycle touring, an international activity combines the great sport of cycling with travel and exploration. Riders of all ages enjoy taking part in organized tours where destinations are plotted and support services are provided to riders as they enjoy planned bike routes. It's a great way to spend time with friends, family, and to meet new people. On organized tours you can come alone or come as a group and have a fantastic vacation. The Bike Virginia Tour offers a lot of route choices, varying in distance and difficulty. Some routes are as short as 15 miles and some as long as 100. While riding even a few miles might seem like a huge task if you're just getting started, you'd be amazed what you can do. Our rides last all day long if you like. You can take your time and see the sites, explore, stop at our frequent rest stops, and enjoy the trip at your own pace. If you're up for challenging yourself, you can head out for a longer faster ride. That's the great thing about a bike tour like Bike Virginia, you get to decide that day what you're up for. And where there to support you along the way!

A Summer Bike Tour is A Great Reward For Exercising This Spring

When you set the June 6 day bike tour as your fitness goal, you can know that you'll have a great reward for your preparations and work. Our 6 day vacation is a magic getaway, we take care all of the details and you get to have all the fun. Hop on your bike and ride through some of Virginia's most interesting sites with some very cool company. In 2014 we'll visit the Richmond and Williamsburg regions, visiting sites like Tredegar Iron Works, historic plantations, Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, the farms of Smithfield, and stay in two of the regions favorite parks, Pocahontas State Park and Chickahominy Riverfront Park. jerseyback2010 This great region will be so much fun to visit, it's been named a top 14 destination in the world in 2014 by Frommer's travel experts. The fun doesn't stop with riding. We have lots of activities to choose from. You'll be able to give Stand-up Paddle Boarding a try, swim, or take a kayak ride. There are sightseeing trips, and shopping outings. Or you can relax around our event headquarters with fellow riders where we have on-site meals, live entertainment, and a beer and wine garden if you'd like to indulge. If you like to camp, you can pitch a tent under the stars or rent a tent from our camping company. If you prefer to snooze in the AC, you can book a hotel nearby through our hotel booking service. Let Bike Virginia help you find a new side of you, a healthier, smiling bicycle rider with a great vacation to look forward to in June. Sign up today to save your place and to put a training goal on your personal calendar.

The Bike Va Tour Makes a Great Training Goal for Cyclists

by admin | January 16, 2014

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Cyclists from across the US head to Virginia each year to take part in the Bike Virginia Tour. For some it is the culmination of months of training, for others the tour is a training tool. Whether a great training goal, a prize and reward for hard work in the springtime or a concentrated block of cycling that helps you become a stronger rider, there's nothing else quite like the tour experience. Be surrounded by people understand the joy or riding and cheer when you reach the top of that mountain. The Tour is also a great place to test yourself in a supported environment. Try your first century (100 mile ride) or go for the big goal of riding all of our miles, nearly 410 miles in 2014. This year's tour will feature a double century option, two of the 6 days will offer a 100 mile option. Bike Virginia can be a training tool. Where else can you ride, ride, ride, for 6 days straight on hand selected and supported routes. You can ride, rest, relax and refuel day after day. And see one of top 14 travel destinations in the world in 2014! Cyclists leave Bike Virginia happy, tired, confident, and stronger for the remainder of their cycling season. Don't worry though, you do not have to be an elite athlete to enjoy the tour. We have riders of all ages from 8 to 88 every year. You'll see every kind of bike known. So there's no special equipment or clothing needed. Come with a smile and have a good time. You'll be amazed at how enjoyable bike touring can be. The pace is totally up to you. We open the bike routes at 7am and close them at 5pm. You ride your pace, whether that's fast or slow. [gallery columns="4" ids="7691,7690,7692,7259"]  

Packing List For Bike Camping Trip / Tour

by admin | May 2, 2013

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We get lots of questions about what to pack for a bike tour camping trip. Here are the staff suggestions: Adobe_PDF_icon[1]

Note: at Bike Virginia we transport your camping gear/luggage, so there's no need to carry these items on your bike.
Camping Supplies:  
  • Tent and sleeping materials
  • Tarp to put beneath your tent
  • Chair (must fit within your bag).
  • Plastic bag for keeping your clothes dry (or drybag style luggage).
  • Second plastic bag for damp or dirty laundry.
  • Shower supplies in a small bag (easy to carry to showers)
  • Camp towel (also can rent towels and chairs).
  • Casual shoes
  • Sweatshirt or long sleeve fleece
  • Pants for cool.
  • Bathing suit
  • Sun hat
  • Book or reading material
  Riding Supplies:
  • Bike in working order
  • Road suited tires are suggested for easy rolling
  • Helmet
  • Water bottle (s) or camel back
  • Rain gear
  • Warm layers
  • Wind jacket (mornings can be cool).
  • Gloves
  • Shoes
  • Shorts or Pants
  • Sunscreen
  • Glasses (sun and or reading)
  • Lip Balm with Sunscreen
  • Snacks/Fuel that you like
  • Chamois Butter (or other chafing preventer).
  • Cash
  • Ziploc for your phone/money
  Medical/First-aid Supplies You Might Want
  • Cortisone or Benadryl cream
  • Benadryl pills
  • Pain reliever
  • Tums or Acid reducer
  • Gas-X
  • Immodium
  • Band-aids
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Aloe
  • A&D Cream
  • Prescription medications that you take regularly or might need

Strategy for Snacks in the Saddle

by admin | April 22, 2013

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A well balanced diet is important for all cyclists, regardless of your ride intensity or duration. Eating frequently in the saddle is the key for a steady stream of energy to the muscles. Smart snacking will prevent those up and downs and allow you to power through the course. As a cyclist, if you are hungry your energy levels have spiraled downward - eat up to fuel up! Select whole foods! Whole foods provide cyclists with more nutrients and more money for their wallets than those popular engineered foods. Aim to consume 100-250 calories from carbohydrates during each hour in the saddle.

Seven Smart Saddle Snacks (say that five times fast!)

  • Peanut butter + honey sandwich
  • A mix of nuts + craisins + handful of dry cereal
  • Banana + low-fat muffin
  • Baked sweet potatoes + dash of salt
  • Handful of pretzels + dried fruit
  • Fig Newtons
  • Rice cakes + 1 wedge of Laughing Cow
The bottom line is to stay fueled! Snacking is not a one size fits all policy and the foods that work best for you may not necessarily work best for your cycling partner! Experiment with a variety of foods and drinks now to learn what settles best and increases cycling performance for those special events, such as Bike Virginia!

Fuel On,

Christine Turpin, RD, LDN, CSCS

To Team or Not To Team?

by admin | March 8, 2013

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Biking Teams at the Bike Virginia Event

You’ll notice a team registration option for the Bike Virginia Tour but teams at the event are not of the typical cycling team kind. Bike Virginia is a leisure ride, not a race. That’s the big difference. Yes, plenty of racers ride the tour, but at this one we go off the premise of fun, not speed. It’s all about the joy of riding and seeing new places. [caption id="attachment_5202" align="alignright" width="300"]One team prepares to hit the road together. One team prepares to hit the road together.[/caption] Team registrations do provide a discount for each member so this can be the reason for people coming together to form teams. Teams at the event are often groups of friends, or family, and even coworkers who want to celebrate bicycling together. Some teams will wear clothing that represents their hometown, their company, their clan name, or event their favorite beer. It’s really up to you how creative you want to be with your team. If you want to make a shirt or jersey, you might find these tips from a custom shirt company Lead Apparel helpful.

How Many People Make A Biking Team at Bike Virginia?

Our largest teams have had over 20 riders and the minimum is 8. You’ll need to identify a captain, that person will be our primary team contact for the tour. Each of you will manage your own registration and packet pick up at the event. [caption id="attachment_4925" align="alignleft" width="300"]Buffett Day 2012, A team hams it up for the camera. Buffett Day 2012, A team hams it up for the camera.[/caption] This year, the largest team will receive a free Bike Virginia Socks for each of the team’s riders. So why not call up your buddies and get them to join in on the fun? You might just get some brand new Bike Va riding socks on us!

Food for Fuel: Nutrition to Energize Your Ride

by admin | January 7, 2013

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Christine Turpin, RD, LDN, CSCS writes about nutrition for Bike Va. Good fuel can be the missing link for having great bike rides. See what she has to say about the importance about pre-ride fuel, hydration, and post ride recovery.

Food for Fuel:  Nutrition to Energize Your Bike Ride

  Fueling on the bike is not a one size fits all package and what works best for you may not be ideal for your riding partner!  Training and conditioning are two components of the performance puzzle with nutrition often being the missing link.  When a cyclist is properly fueled, there is potential for high performance.  For a successful ride focus on (1) pre-ride fuel, (2) hydration, and (2) recovery foods!   Take time during your training to experiment with different types of nutrition and find out which fuel works best for you! [caption id="attachment_4992" align="alignright" width="300"]Enjoying a cool, shady meal at camp. Enjoying a cool, shady meal at camp.[/caption]  

(1)   Pre-ride Fuel: Energize Your Ride

Carbohydrates (CHO) are the primary energy source for muscles.  Since the body can only store a limited amount, there is a constant need to replenish those stores.  Everyone’s body will be depleted of CHO stores and fluids after a full night’s rest, which is why cyclists must make CHO intake a priority.   CHO are used to fuel muscles, build up reserves, recover and prepare for the next ride.  A high CHO intake is necessary for ultimate performance.   CHO needs of a cyclist vary.  As training increases, energy intake should increase.  For those cyclists who like to number crunch, recommended daily carbohydrate intake for general training is 5-7 g CHO/kg of body weight and 7-10 g CHO/ kg body weight for endurance cyclists (Dunford, Marie).  A rule of thumb is to consume 1.0 grams of CHO per kilogram of body weight each hour prior to the event (Dunford, Marie).   If you are like me and would rather not calculate figures, eat a balance of fruits, vegetables and whole grains for fuel before ride!    My typical pre-ride meal consists of a bowl of old fashion oatmeal with a diced banana, sprinkled with a handful of raisins and a splash of milk.   CHO intake is also recommended during the ride as well.  Can you drive a car cross country on one tank of gas?  No, you will make frequent stops along the way to fill the tank.   Apply the same concept to your ride to power through the course.  When your primary source of gas (carbohydrates) is not available, you will run out of gas. At this time your body may dip into protein stores and break down muscle for fuel as well.  Fuel up with carbohydrates!   There are plenty of tasty treats at fueling stations along the Bike Virginia course.  However it’s important to practice fueling both pre-ride and during the ride!  General hourly recommendations for CHO intake on the ride are 30-60 grams of CHO (food or drink) to fuel muscles, prevent low blood sugar and provide pedal power for climbs.   What does 30-60 grams of CHO look like?
  • Banana + ½ peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • ¾ cup yogurt + ½ cup grapes + handful of pretzels
  • 2 Fig newton cookies + 20- fluid ounces of G2 (Gatorade)
  • Baked sweet potato + handful almonds
  • Granola bar + peeled slices of orange
  It’s easy to overindulge and our eyes are often bigger than our stomachs.  Remember you will be fueling again in another hour or so, do not stuff yourself.   Good sources of CHO include whole grain cereals, breads, granola/energy bars fig bars, cookies and fruit.  Eat your CHO and gain additional benefits like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants (faster recovery) and phytochemicals (prevent diseases). If you are one of those cyclists who have pre-competition jitters and can’t eat – drink!  In addition to whole foods, there are liquid CHO sources.  Evidence indicates both sources contribute equally to performance and to CHO storage.  

(2)   Hydration: Energize Your Ride

Proper hydration should be practiced around the clock!  Last minute chugging won’t be effective. Thirst is often a poor indicator of hydration and if you are thirsty you are behind the eight ball, so drink up!  After a night’s sleep you are in a state of dehydration.   Cyclists can monitor hydration status through the color and volume of urine.  Ideally urine color should be a pale yellow/white color.  Dark urine color (think apple juice) and with volume means you are in a state of dehydration.   Cyclists who enter competition dehydrated are at a disadvantage as heat & humidity will increase dehydration’s performance impairing effects.   As little as 2% drop in body weight (3 pounds for a 150 pound cyclist) can impact cycling performance.  Dehydration can disrupt your heart beat; impairs nutrient absorption; affects blood circulation; weakens athletic performance and; impairs concentration.   Bottoms up!   General Guidelines
  • Drink 16 ounces of water 2 hours prior to hitting the road
  • Consume 8-10 ounces every 20 minutes (~ 1 ounce = 1 sip)
  • Drink 16-24 ounces for each pound body weight lost during a ride
Source:  Dunford, Marie   If you are a heavy or salty sweater with white dust on your face and helmet straps during a ride, be sure to include extra sodium in your diet.  Salt your food, eat salty snacks (pretzels, crackers, salted nuts or trail mix), drink tomato juice and portable soup, eat pasta with tomato sauce, and add condiments to your foods such as mustard, ketchup and salad dressings. A cyclist who sweats a lot and does not replace electrolytes may experience cramps, fatigue, diarrhea, nausea and a more serious condition, hyponatremia. The best drink is one tastes good, encourages you to drink and does not cause any stomach issues!       Water versus Sports Drink Sports drinks serve a purpose, especially during the hot humid hazy days of summer, and on prolonged or multiple day rides (tours or stage races).  For longer workouts, sports drinks are more beneficial than water as (1) sugar in the drinks provides fuel for  working muscles to power through the ride, (2) they are more palatable so  cyclists will drink more and replace fluid loss and, (3)  sports drinks move fluid faster from your stomach to the bloodstream and working muscles.  However, if you are hitting the road or trail for a short ride (less than an hour), a sports drink is not necessary.  Drink water instead.    

(3)   Post-Ride Recovery: Energize Your Ride

Thirty to sixty minutes after a ride is the most optimal time to refuel (and not with cool adult libations).  During this time frame, muscles are like a sponge and soak up nutrients to refuel and repair muscles to make for an easier ride the next day.   Although our primary source of energy comes from CHO, protein is essential for recovery as well.   Nevertheless, muscles need four times more post ride CHO than protein to replenish glycogen stores.   CHO Refueling Recommendations (cycling lasting longer than 90 minutes)
  • 1.5 g CHO/kg immediately after exercise
  • Additional 1.5 g CHO / kg 2 hours later
Source:  Dunford, Marie   In addition to CHO, protein is important for recovery as well.  Protein is an essential nutrient and is the building block for cells in your body.  It is necessary for many body functions and promotes muscle and connective tissue repair, and encourages growth and development.  A cyclist’s protein needs vary depending on age, gender, and weight, as well as the intensity, frequency and duration of exercise.  A cyclist will certainly need more protein than a sedentary individual.  Again, number crunchers can calculate protein needs at 1.2 to 1.4 g/kg of body weight a day for an endurance athlete (Dunford, Marie. Sports Nutrition: A Practice Manual for Professionals).  Protein supplementation is not necessary as cyclists can meet their requirements through good wholesome food.  Unlike CHO, protein does not enhance muscle glycogen synthesis.  No cyclist should be eliminating CHO from their fueling plan.   Protein Refueling Recommendations
  • Endurance Athletes = 1.2 – 1.4 g/kg
Source:  Dunford, Marie   Good protein sources include: lean beef, poultry, seafood, tofu, nut butters, nuts, yogurt, plain or flavored milk, low-fat cheese, hummus, legumes, peas, soy and beans. Now that you have good tools for fueling a successful ride, go on, saddle up and start pedaling!   Healthy Cycling, Christine Turpin, RD, LDN, CSCS     References: Clark, Nancy, and Jenny Gegmann. The Cyclist's Food Guide: Fueling for Distance. West Newton, MA: Sports Nutrition, 2005. Print.   "Dietary Supplement Use Among U.S. Adults Has Increased Since NHANES III (1988–1994)." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13 Apr. 2011. Web. 20 Oct. 2012. <>.   "Dietary Supplements: What You Need to Know." Dietary Supplements: What You Need to Know. National Institute of Health, 17 June 2011. Web. 20 Oct. 2012. <>.   Dunford, Marie. Sports Nutrition: A Practice Manual for Professionals. Fourth ed. American Dietetic Association, 2006. Print.   "Food." Dietary Supplements. US Food and Drug Administration, 9 Oct. 2012. Web. 20 Oct. 2012. <>.   "Position of the American Dietetic Association, Dietitian of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance." Journal of the American Dietetic Association 109 (2009): 509-26. Print.   Rockwell, Michelle, and Susan Kundrat. Sports Dietetics Practiced, Proven & Tested. Second ed. Print.   Sarubin Fragakis, Allison, and Cynthia Thomson. The Health Professionals' Guide to Popular Dietary Supplements. Third ed.  American Dietetic Association, 2007. Print.

A great bike tour for women riders

by admin | December 31, 2012

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More women are discovering the joys of bike riding every day. It's so great to see ladies of all ages, sizes, shapes, and abilities enjoying this great sport. [caption id="attachment_4855" align="alignright" width="300"]Women riders of all ages enjoy riding on the Bike Va tour. Women riders of all ages enjoy riding on the Bike Va tour.[/caption] I've been a rider for over 20 years and spend a lot of time getting new riders into the sport, helping women overcome the common fears and things that intimidate us. That experience is one of the things that makes me love Bike Virginia. I've been Executive Director for 6 years of the tour. Each year I see so many women smiling, laughing, and enjoying the event whether traveling alone or in groups. Here's what some of our lady riders have to say: Gayle, long time Bike Va Tour rider: One of the great things about Bike Virginia is that you never have to ride alone. So, if you are a woman and concerned about being left behind, not being able to keep up, or just feel like doing a slower pace,  there is always someone around. This allows you to feel safe while cycling. At the other end of the spectrum, if you feel like really hammering, there is always someone to do that with too! Christy, Bike Virginia participant  and volunteer Board Member: I have met lifelong friends on cycling adventures with my girlfriends! We ALWAYS have each other’s backs and are aware of everyone’s locations, abilities on any given day, and food preferences!! And always great tips on where to get cycling gear (full disclosure: I am a Terry skort hoarder) and conversation about many common interests. Thanh,  on her first time ride with Bike Va:   I rode Bike Virginia in 2011 and it was a blast. At that time in my life I had not participated in many bicycling events and had only done events which were single days and less than 40 miles. I was originally going to ride Bike Virginia with a friend, but she was unable to come on the ride with me. I had the choice of bailing on the event or riding on my own. I decided to ride on my own and can say that I never felt alone. I ended up meeting others while riding or when we went out in the evenings who I did not know before the event, who happened to be on the way to the same restaurant or biking at a similar pace I was. As with all other cycling events I’ve participated in now (which are non-competitive events), I find cyclists at these events to be friendly and very helpful. Strangers would ask if you needed help changing a tire, fixing a chain, and and strangers would cheer you on and encourage you, you as you would do for them too, while you climbed up that big hill that never seemed to end. Bike Virginia was a lot of fun.   Jarla, repeat rider that volunteers too:  As a medium to slow rider, I especially like that BVA's bike tours are non competitive.  Just get out and ride. I always come along someone who's riding at my pace and is good company.  The camaraderie keeps me going. Women are willing to share their training tips.  I get lots of good ideas from talking to other women at the rest stops, in the shower line, etc.  Everyone is very supportive.  

Safety for Women Camping and Biking

Women who come riding on the tour often say they feel safe. It's a fun environment of camaraderie, where you'll be camping in an open space with lots of other riders. Our staff and volunteers help take care of all your needs when you are at headquarters and on the route. If you prefer hotel accommodations you can also take our shuttle buses and lodge with other riders so you'll never be far from people enjoying the tour.

 Women Cyclist- Biking Pace

There's so many riders on Bike Virginia that you're sure to meet other people that ride your pace. If you prefer to ride alone there's plenty of space for that too. It's nice to know though that there are other people looking out for you all along the route. If you've never ridden on a bike tour before we can show you the ropes.

 Women Biking Together: Make New Friends

It's a great time to make new friends who love the sport too. Share your stories, learn great tips, or just enjoy the company of all the Bike Virginia family. You'll enjoy seeing many of them year after year.

A Great Bike Tour for Any Woman Rider 

[caption id="attachment_5781" align="alignright" width="217"]Woman rider enjoying a nice cruise on Bike Virginia 2012. Woman rider enjoying a nice cruise on Bike Virginia 2012.[/caption] I know that as a woman rider heading out on the road can be intimidating. We strive to take care of all the details so you can relax and enjoy in an environment where you can shine...or cruise along and smell the roses. You don't have to be one of the guys on the tour, we have designated showers for you, women's bike jerseys and routes you're sure to love. Come alone or with friends. You can even sign up for a single day if you'd like to come check out the event.  

Martin – “Father and Son”

by admin | July 23, 2012

0 First Time?, Rider Voices, RidersBlog, The Experience

In June, 2009, my son, Andrew, my brother-in-law, Fran, and I went on the Bike Virginia 2009 bike ride.  That year the tour was from Charlottesville to Culpepper to Orange and back into Charlottesville. I took many pictures, but I will describe our experience with Bike Virginia with the following 5 pictures. Picture 1 is an example of a really nice rest step.  It is away from the road, well stocked with water and snacks.  It is sometimes so nice, you don’t want to go back bike riding and want to chill more than the time you allotted. Picture 2 another rest stop/lunch break at a fire house.  I took this picture with those cleats because Bike Virginia riders read and follow directions.  The people at the firehouse didn’t want the bikers to ruin their wood floors with their cleats. Picture 3 is of the Graffiti House, at Brandy Station, Culpepper, VA. We have to remember that in 2009, the theme was, “Journey Through Hallowed Ground”.  Yes, we went through several historic places, including Montpelier, James Madison’s home.  There was a lot of history on this bike tour. Picture 4 is of a big tent with people.  This shows how Orange, VA opened their town for us on a week day.  Stores were open later and we had dinner in the big tent and there was music and a good time. The last picture is picture 5.  This is a picture of Andrew and I enjoying a few minutes together at a rest stop before we go on with the ride.[gallery link="file" orderby="title"]

Rider Voice: Jarla – “It Takes a Village”

by admin | July 17, 2012

0 First Time?, Rider Voices, RidersBlog, The Experience

Every year as BVA approaches I worry. Can I still climb up the hills? Will I get lost? Will I find anyone with whom to ride? Will packet pick-up at Registration go smoothly? For the past several years I have been in charge of the volunteers who work with me at Registration on Friday and Saturday. That’s usually 45 folks, many repeat volunteers, who work shifts 2 to 8 hours with smiles and great energy. (The ride hasn’t started yet!). I worry about getting the room set up, that the very long day will go smoothly, and that our BVA riders will get their questions answered. There are always last minute items to be put into the packet envelopes. Fortunately, we all rally to get it done before the 2 pm Friday opening. Saturday morning at 5:45 we are back at Registration ready to work again, getting last minute riders signed in. My job would be impossible without great volunteers. As an aging 60+ rider I always doubt if I can muster the energy to bike 5 days through Virginia’s picturesque rolling countryside. But somehow the energy and enthusiasm of 2000 riders propels me to do the distance. There are always riders along the routes who are riding my pace, encouraging me up the hills, and offering to “pull me” when I am dragging. The rest stops are my mini oases, providing food, drink, musical entertainment, and an opportunity to share a few stories. As a camper I meet lots of fellow bikers in all ages, sizes, and abilities. The camaraderie at Tent City adds an additional layer of excitement and fun to the whole BVA experience. Getting lost sometimes happens, even with the well-marked signage. For me it happened just as it started to rain. Fortunately, I was with a fellow rider, who was smart enough to carry his BVA Tour Guide and we were able to figure out the next turn. The term, “It takes a village,” is so true. Now that BVA’s 25th annual ride is over, I can relax - and start worrying about next year!