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VA - Urban Richmond (Bell Isle and more) - Mountain Bike Trail Review with Map and Pictures

Review By HLM - Thanks Man!!

Rating Explanation (0-5)                 Category:

Overall Rating

Single-Track Adventure Climbing Free-ride Fun Fear      Trail Enhancements Scenery Technicalities
3.7 2.6 3.1 2.3 3.6 2.2 2.4 2.9 2.8 3.4
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For PERSONAL use only - Please read our GPS info page
Directions -Take I-95 to exit 74A for the downtown expressway (I-195).  Proceed on I-195 to the first exit (Canal Street, which is a one-way street heading west.  Continue on Canal until South 5th Street and make a left onto South 5th.  Take South 5th to the end where it runs into Tredegar Street and make a right.  Continue on Tredegar Street along the river until you see public parking just in front of a black railroad bridge.  Park.  Entry to pedestrian suspension bridge to Belle Isle is another 100 yards upriver from the parking lot. 

Update 2009:  Finally checked this place out per HLM's recommendations..  His review pretty much hit the nail on the head.  Some really cool trails around the city and some nice rock lines by the water!

Description -   A tour of Richmond's seething underbelly.  The locals call this the Richmond Urban Assault Trail, but it's all dirt and rocks.  You might even forget that you're within city limits.

Start by crossing the pedestrian suspension bridge over to Belle Isle.  Turn right for the beginner loop and ride some buffity buff quadruple track (cars could pass each other here) and notice lots of steep singletrack shots running down from the left.  After less then half a mile the hill flattens enough to enter to the left.  Proceed up the climb, play on the the ridge for a while and drop down any of the downhills back to the QuadTrack.  Soon you'll be back to the bridge.  More accomplished riders can head straight/left and bypass the entry section.  Proceed for a few hundred yards until you reach "Underwater Moab" and venture out into the river (on rocks of course).  Plenty of FR opps - potentially big consequences though - probably not a good idea when the James River is raging.  Return to the trail and follow along.  After about another half mile of doubletrack and crushed gravel, take bridge off Belle Isle, cross a railroad track, and proceed onto sweet, sometimes rocky, always swoopy singletrack that goes on for miles.  Pattern is established early - semi-steep climb to plush Richmond neighborhood, descend, cross brook, repeat.  Lots of options, lots of off-camber sections, and lots of climbing (all in manageable 100 vertical foot sections).  After gutting yourself on 8 or 10 of these climbs, you'll start to appreciate this fine area.  Some techy brook crossings are also on the menu.  Some nice diversity too - one large stream crossing felt like Northern NH, and 3 minutes later it's back to small brick houses in the heart of the Confederacy.

Notes:  Although Urban Richmond seems to be contained in a fairly small area, it may be easy to get lost.  Bring breadcrumbs, a GPS, a guide or at least a well-honed sense of direction to avoid an unintentionally more extensive tour.  This area appears to be highly susceptible to hurricane damage, so parts of the trail network may be completely unrideable for months/years at a time.

Whatever name you want to give it, Urban Richmond offers some exceptional riding.

Loops -Make your own as you go.

Pre-ride Music:Lynyrd Skynyrd:  Saturday Night Special
Total Miles: 15?
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