The 2014 tour will begin in scenic Chesterfield County, with event headquarters and camping located at the spacious Pocahontas State Park. Guests that stay in hotels will be lodging in Chester. While in the area, participants enjoy biking, outdoor recreation, shopping, dining, visits to historic sites and other regional activities.
For the second leg half of the tour, base camp will be located at Chickahominy Riverside Park near Williamsburg. While in the area, riders will enjoy cycling through the region, shopping, dining, and touring the historic communities of Williamsburg, Jamestown, Smithfield, and Yorktown. Participants that choose to stay in hotels will be lodged in Williamsburg.
“Bike Virginia is excited to bring the tour to Central and Eastern Virginia in 2014. Our last tour of the region was 7 years ago. The region around Williamsburg and Richmond is a long time favorite of our event participants because of the scenic, rolling terrain and the rich history,” said Bike Virginia Executive Director Dr. Kim Perry. “The area offers anything that our guests could want in a vacation, interesting culture and history paired with numerous recreational opportunities.”
Event officials selected Pocohontas State Park and Chester to serve as the first headquarters location for the event. Chesterfield has eagerly worked with organizers to facilitate the event. “It is exciting to host this premier cycling event in the center of Virginia’s emerging biking and outdoor recreation destination,”
James City County is home to the second half of the tour. John Carnifax, County Parks and Recreation Director, said, “James City County is excited to welcome Bike Virginia to Chickahomimy Riverfront Park.” He added that the location is great for families that plan to attend the event as the park has virtually something for everyone including a variety of camping options, two outdoor pools, playground, volleyball and basketball courts, a golf driving range, horseshoe pits as well as access to the Virginia Capital Trail and three major historical water trail systems. Carnifax said the site makes a great location for the event as well because of its proximity to Busch Gardens, Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, Water Country USA, shopping and cultural activities.
The Richmond region is also going to be home to one of the world’s largest cycling events in the near future. In September 2015, the city will host the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI ) Road World Championship races, a nine-day event featuring athletes and spectators from around the globe. UCI is the world governing body for sports cycling and international competitive cycling events.
Tim Miller, COO of Richmond 2015 was very excited to hear that the region was selected for the 2014 Bike Virginia Tour and excited about the synergistic effect of having these two events back to back in 2014 and 2015. “We have always known that Virginia is a great place for cycling, as BikeVirginia has demonstrated for years. Hosting the UCI Road World Championships gives us the opportunity to showcase the assets of Richmond and surrounding communities to the world, and we are thrilled that this year’s Tour focuses on central Virginia, as we prepare to host the world’s best cyclists in 2015.”
Bike Virginia is in its 27th year of touring around the state. Tour participants come from a wide range of locations. About 60 percent of the tour’s guests come from the Mid-Atlantic States. The remainder come from across the US and international locations. The cyclists and their families are a mix of bicycle enthusiasts of all ages and abilities. Riders range in age from young children in carts to more seasoned cyclists (the oldest rider was 88). The average age of participants in 2013 was 55. Last year’s event drew riders from 39 states and Canada.
The tour offers an affordable, family friendly, environmentally sound, car-free vacation. Riders will have the opportunity to ride as many as 410 miles, depending on which route options they choose.
Each day the cyclists will have the opportunity to select a marked route from the headquarters campground based on what their interests are as well as their cycling abilities. Daily routes are rated for level of challenge based on the length of the ride and the difficulty (flat vs. rolling hills). The two camping locations were selected based on their appeal to a wide range of participants and proximity to lodging and dining. The tour occupies between 250-300 hotel rooms in the host community for the duration of the visit.
The event is expected to be a boom for each of the local economies as the cyclists arrive at the host communities to stay in their hotels, visit their shops, dine, and take in various attractions. “In previous years, participants spent more than $1,100,000 for lodging, food, drink, entertainment, transportation and retail purchases; secondary spending is estimated at another $725,363,” said Dr. Perry. “Additionally, Bike Virginia spends about $500,000 annually on services and materials to hold the event. We are glad to be able to support our local communities.”
In addition to spending for event operations in the local communities, Bike Virginia gives $25,000 or more in contributions to local civic groups that volunteer to operate rest stops along the bike routes. Bike Virginia also awards grants to support local cycling initiatives. Residents, groups and businesses located in the following counties will be eligible to apply for the 2014 grants: Chesterfield, Amelia, Dinwiddie, Richmond, Charles City, Prince George, James City Co., Surry, Ilse of Wright, Richmond, Amelia Courthouse, Petersburg, Hopewell, Jamestown and Smithfield. A total of $5,000 will be given in grants in 2014.
The tour is a program of Bike Virginia, a 501(C)(3) non-profit that provides educational programs and grants and works to improve bicycling in Virginia for better transportation, health and the environment. Host communities will be eligible to apply for grants for biking initiatives in 2014.
For more information on next year’s Bike Virginia Tour, visit www.BikeVirginia.org or contact Kim Perry at 804-477-1780 or email@example.com