Mountain bikers will soon have more reasons to visit the Richmond Region…about 50 miles worth.
Organizers of Richmond 2015 recently announced their first “legacy project” that will outlast the city’s hosting of the UCI Road World Championships in Fall 2015. The Richmond Region will have a Ride Center approved by the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA). There are only 11 Ride Centers currently in the world.
Announced in 2007, Ride Centers comprise mixed levels of mountain biking trails and terrain. To provide the region with its own Ride Center, builders will revamp the existing trail system, as well as add to it to create 50 total miles, in Pocahontas State Park.
“I think the city has kind of established itself as a [biking] destination, but what this does is gives more trails,” said Councilman Parker Agelasto (5th District). “It gives a different trail system and people can come for more days…This will keep them in the region longer, which is great for the economic development and impact component.”
Magnum Economic Consulting estimated that the Ride Center will boost encomium activity in Chesterfield County by $2.7 million, and $4.5 million statewide.
Gov. Bob McDonnell approved $50,000 in state funds to go toward the project, with The Dominion Foundation also matching that amount. Estimates for total costs were not given. Organizers hope to complete a majority of the trails by Spring 2015.
The IMBA labels each Ride Center according to each trail’s diversity of skill level and length (the highest rating is Gold, followed by Silver and Bronze). It’s unknown what rating IMBA will give the local trail.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misstated that 50 trail miles will be added to Pocahontas State Park. But additional trails to the park will instead total 50 miles upon completion.
photo by Virginia State Parks staff