OutdoorLoyalty.com features, in their blogs, communities across our country. These chosen communities are those who have developed systems, infrastructure and networks to enhance Outdoor Experiences in and around their city. Citizens and Outdoorists visiting the area, in and around Richmond, benefit from a vision unique to its Culture. This blog introduces
Richmond, Virginia, featuring their urban bike systems and offering as well the availability to its remarkable heritage paralleling the beginnings of our Country. Richmond has, as its goals, connecting local communities by offering biking routes which help reduce some of the automobile usage reducing pollution levels, infrastructure damage and sustaining the usage of resources. At the same time, the biking systems encourage healthy lifestyles for locals and visitors alike.
Richmond is located in the south/central region of Virginia. It is surrounded by mountain ranges on all sides, the Appalachian Mountains to the east, Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains to the west with a bonus of The Shenandoah Valley between them. Over the past 2 decades, the Outdoor Industry has developed thousands of miles of biking trails (at all levels of difficulty) and attracting many well known competitive events like “The Shenandoah 100”. These mountains rightly attract “Shredders” from all over the World.
The “missing link” was an urban biking infrastructure that would
attract the bikers, arriving to the area, for competitive events as well as biking pleasures for individuals and families alike. Richmond is marketing their history and bike systems as the “carrot” to attract these visitors to join the 200,000 people in the metropolitan area.
Over the last 10 years, Richmond has Designed, Developed and Completed one of the most sophisticated urban biking networks in America. The bikers visiting and, through marketing efforts, are attracted also to the historical enriched past of Richmond that we all have the desire to experience as Americans. That past begins 70 years before the American Revolutionary War in 1776. The events leading up to our (Thirteen Colonies) struggle for independence from Great Britain and becoming the United States of America. The relics that the Richmondites protected and renovated to their original condition makes the enrichment of that culture, over 300 years, thus making the attraction of Richmond unique for all ages of Outdoorists to enjoy, especially the fact that they are all accessible to bikers.
Now, let’s go back to the 18th Century and visualize yourself as a Colonist experiencing what those early days were like:
“Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death”…Patrick Henry espoused in 1775 in St. John’s Church in Richmond. Those were the first words that Richmondites began to sense the seriousness of the voices that broke through the peace and quiet one felt at that time. These words led to the decision to hold the First Continental
Congress, that set the course for Revolution and Independence in Richmond and throughout the Thirteen Colonies. In 1780, Richmond became the State Capital of Virginia. One year later the British Troops, under the command of Benedict Arnold, burned and ravaged Richmond causing Governor Thomas Jefferson to flee and leave the Virginia Militia to defend the City. After they beat the British, with the help of militias from other Colonies, they took back and saved what was left of Richmond. After the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), Richmond emerged as the most important Industrial Center in America.
An enterprising George Wasington designed the James River and Kanawha Canal from Westham east to Richmond. This design helped bypass Richmond’s Rapids on the Upper James River and provided a water route across the Appalachian Mountains to the Kanawha River westward into the Ohio River then merging with the Mississippi River. As a result, Richmond had accessibility to Hydropower from the James River Falls and Richmond became home to some of the largest manufacturing facilities in the South. The industrious character of Richmond set the track towards the Nineteenth Century.
In the early part of the 19th Century the seed of Slave Trade paralleled the growth of Richmond and surrounding towns like Norfork, Hampton and Suffolk in the southeast portion of Virginia. Access to the shipping trade made this port invaluable to industry, including slavery.
The early 1800’s brought development of the new burgeoning Railroad System which eventually connected Richmond to Baltimore and Philadelphia and everywhere in between. By the 1850’s, the growth of this region, to epic proportions, had never been seen in America. Underneath this Industrial Revolution of America, the issue of Slave Trade reared its ugly head. By the end of the 1850’s there was a clear separation of the issue over slavery clearing the way to the fueling of the Civil War and a “black eye” on the face of racism in America. The North vs. South became the reality of the day and the Civil War began.
Richmond became the center stage of the war. The Confederacy (South) moved the seat of the new “Confederate States of America from Montgomery, Alabama to Richmond and it became the number one target of the Union Army (North). It was a major
military strategy to attack Richmond where General Robert E Lee and President Jefferson Davis set up their confederacy, knowing the inevitability of the attack. They prepared to dig in and fight for their lives and the existence of the Confederacy and the South in general.
By 1861, the state of Virginia’s state legislature voted to secede from the United States. This move put Richmond in the cross-hairs of the Civil War by the Union Army. The inevitability of another ravaging battle, in Richmond, came to be. The smoldering rubble
was the results for the second time in a century: “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” The Band… The Confederacy was dismantled, but Richmond survived. Canal traffic peaked in the late 1860’s leading to the railroad’s ascension to prominence.
Richmond became the “cross-roads” of the Railroad System up and down the East Coast. Eventually the movement, started by President Polk, known as “Manifest Destiny” and the entitlement of American Growth from Sea to Shining Sea in the 1870’s enshrined the importance of Richmond Virginia. Richmond never looked back on it’s past. Virginia requested a return to The United Stated of America. Upon being accepted back into the Union, which was a “win-win” for all. Richmond contributed an economic resurgence that was the first successful electrically powered trolley system connecting the city unto itself in 1888. This trolley system (street cars) transitioned into a Bus Network 60 years later in 1948.
Presently, Richmond has a vibrant citizenry of 1,258,251 residents as of the 2010 Census. The GPS coordinates are 37 degrees 32 minutes N–77 degrees 28 minutes W. It sports a temporal climate with moderate 4 quarters throughout the year. Twelve months
out of the year, one can Bike, Walk, Run and Trek comfortably and safely. This past year, 2017, three Outdoorists- a lawyer, a energy lobbyist and the Nature Conservancy’s Director of Legislative Affairs teamed up to form “Virginia Outdoor Recreation Caucus (VORC), a bi-partisan group that focuses on promoting Outdoor Recreational Opportunities, advancing public policy and supporting related Outdoor Businesses.
OutdoorLoyalty.com has enjoyed revealing another “City for Outdoorists” in this Blog. The vibrancy, accessability and diversity are available for all Outdoorists, including families representing Richmond and surrounding mountain ranges and valleys. Outdoor Recreation generates $3.9 billion in consumer spending each year in Virginia. Richmond contributes the economy itself by attracting 1.4 million visitors annually. About 60% of Richmond residents participate in outdoor recreation and at least 15,000 jobs that are directly related to the Outdoor Industry. Many volunteers from the area support the development and maintenance of the outdoor infrastructure around and within the Richmond area.
The below link, published by OIA, recognizes the success that Richmond has had blending its history and the presence of the biking, walking and other activity infrastructure connecting to “All Things Richmond”.