UPDATE: Making the most of cycling fever: Yet more fever!

There are YET MORE things you need to know about how to celebrate cyclelife (which is what the kids are probably calling it) during the next month in bike-race-related-but-not-necessarily-bike-race-affiliated things.

Photo by Don Williamson of sculpture at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.

Update #3 — September 20, 2015; 11:25 PM

Eating opportunities popping up everywhere

Shopping and dining for the duration of the race! With special dinners every night that are all about international cuisine. The best cuisine! At Plant Zero! In Manchester! Retail provided by Pop Up Revolution and food provided by the Underground Kitchen.

Many evenings at the Garden

Guys, you know how Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens is killing it in terms of cool things for the bike race? Monday, September 21st through Friday, September 25th until 8:00 PM every night, they’ve got a supercool hang planned with food, beer, wine, and live music, no big deal. Bands every night, LEGO sculpture to gaze at, and three themed walk opportunities, and one dog-friendly night (and that’s really the only chance the canines get to take advantage of the race). More info here.

While you’re there, bring a helmet

It’ll be donated to a kid in need. Well, all kids are in need of skull and brain safety, but some kids are in need of the dollars to buy that safety. You close that gap for them! Read more about it.

And on your way there, donate a bike

I love Uber deals! And I really like the DreamBike program! We participated in a fundraiser for them a few weeks ago, and were very thrilled to raise enough money to buy four bikes for girls in developing countries who need help getting to school. If you use Uber anytime between now and September 27th (and you’re a first-time Uber rider), you can enter the code “DREAMBIKE15” to get Uber to donate $5 to the DreamBike program! If you’ve got a passenger, and you’re going to a UCI event, Uber will donate an extra $1 per ride per passenger. This ChildFund program is UCI’s “Charity of Choice,” which means that they are behind many fundraising efforts for it, and we say, “Good on you.”

Let’s get real about why we need bikes in RVA

There’s a Congressional Bike Caucus, which is pretty astounding. It’s less astounding that the Bicycle Symposium II will kick off on September 28th with a talk from the caucus’s founder and chair, U.S. Rep. Earl Bluemenauer of Oregon. This isn’t exactly during the race, but you’ve gotta reserve your spot! Go learn why having bicycles in a city is good for the city, and support efforts to help bicycling become more mainstream for commuting and recreation. Learn more and register at VCU’s special Bike Urbanism site.

We should turn this into a festival, right?

And if Richmond doesn’t, then Hanover will. Hanover’s Bike Fest will be gathering Big Bike Race™ fans and newbies alike for a prime viewing spot. If your kids are off school on Wednesday, September 23rd, bring ’em by Rutland Commons for regular fun and also extra-level Nutzy funn.

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Update #2 — September 13, 2015; 9:02 PM

A party featuring the very best food in town

Dinamo and its sister restaurants are, according to some people with great taste, the most delicious food in town. Nay, the world! Luckily for you and all the visitors for the race, Dinamo has teamed up with Rapha and Ardent to bring the city coffee, sandwiches, radlers, pizza, juice, and a bunch of other things for four straight days via a mobile party “club” called Tillie.

More Victorian ladies on newfangled cycles

Maymont celebrates the scandalous spectacle of female human beings on two-wheeled contraptions with programming all next week. A cycling costume will be on display in the mansion, plus special events all week long so as to accommodate the fortunate out-of-town guests who are wandering around the city and suddenly are like, “Wait, what is that verdant paradise beyond these gates? Could this truly be an enormous park with a Japanese garden AND bison?”

Irregular lunch options in Church Hill

Those of us who live atop the Hill are trying hard not to believe that we will be stuck up here. Did I say stuck? I mean happily enjoying our beautiful neighborhood…until we run out of groceries, that is. At any rate, Metzger will be open for lunch during the week. That’s an atypical treat that we’ll hopefully be able to take advantage of. Proper Pie? Interested in being open Monday and Tuesday? Anyone? Anyone??

More restaurant hours elsewhere

McCormack’s Whisky Grill and McCormack’s Irish Pub will both be open for lunch, as will Amour Wine Bistro, Savory Grain, Saison, Comfort, and ROX. Ellwood’s will open a satellite coffee/juice situation at Plant Zero, Pasture will have some grab-and-go options, and Secco will be offering screw-top (thank the heavens) wine at retail prices. Many other restaurants will have extended hours, including Olio (open by 7:00 AM for breakfast!), Fat Dragon (11:00 AM – 12:00 AM on September 19th and 20th), and Bruxl (11:30 AM – 11:00 PM on Saturday, September 24th and “all day” Sunday, September 25th…expect many Belgian fans). There are tons more of these, so just check your fave place’s Facebook and make a note.

Super cool Big Bike Race™ merchandise

I almost spelled “koozie” as “coozy” and everyone scoffed at me. I don’t know when it happened, but it’s now part of our lexicon. And that means you need one to commemorate the major bike event that is unifying us all in our collective anxiety-I-mean-enthusiasm. We’ll also be selling pint glasses that will help you commemorate the aforementioned if you don’t have a vessel at hand to hold your alcohol. Or “water.”

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Update #1 — August 26, 2015; 9:42 PM

Photo by: ChrisGoldNY

Unlimited GRTC bus passes for sale!

The bus is going to be your friend during the races. Not only is it comfortable and beautifully air-conditioned, it is easy to figure out using the GRTC’s mobile app. Annnndddddd, you can buy an unlimited pass (well, limited only by its timeframe) for use between September 18th – 28th. For just $35! I mean, seriously! We could probably have made more money off of that, GRTC! And I say “we” because one day, I hope you will build me the private bus I keep requesting.

Cycling…in a different way

Boho Cycle Studio in the Museum District lets you ride a bike under cover of darkness, without having to worry about hitting something or dealing with bugs in your teeth or potholes. They’ll be offering an international-themed ride for those who want to either celebrate or escape the Big Bike Race™! French rap, international DJs, and Latin favorites will be on the instructor’s playlists, which as you know if you’re a spinner, is the most essential part of the experience. You cannot get up a fake hill if you’re listening to One Direction. It just doesn’t happen.

There’s an official Big Bike Race™ artist!!(??)

The works of Greig Leach will on display (and for sale) at Nest on Southside. Mr. Leach is THE artist of the hour, and you’re gonna want to take home an artful and authentic souvenir from the event of the century. Opening reception is this Saturday, August 29th from 6:30 – 9:00 PM.

As always, if you’ve got something you’d like us to include and you’re prepared to defend its worthiness to the death, please email us or leave a comment!

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Original — July 24, 2015

Cycling. It is in our blood. It is in the air we breathe. It is currently grafting itself to our DNA so that future generations of Richmonders will be born already hunched over, with feet that easily clip into pedals.

Or, at least, that is what it will seem like to anthropologists from the future, judging from the number of Big Bike Race™-inspired museum exhibits, art shows, beers, and even sometimes just loosely-related media coverage.

If you find yourself in need of either an outlet for your cycling fervor or a little something to convince you that cycling is indeed the bees everlovin’ knees, get in the spirit for the BBR™ by partaking in one of the following:

The History of Bikes

The Valentine brings you In Gear: Richmond Cycles, which incorporates my favorite thing about cycling: BIG WHEEL LITTLE WHEEL! Beginning in late August, the Valentine will be slingin’ history from 19th century bike culture up to the present day.

You can also purchase this shirt, which sports Henry Valentine, the meat juice man himself. If you make an additional gift of greater than or equal to $15, you’ll receive an annual membership at the Valentine, which gets you into the opening of the exhibit on August 27th (it will run through January 3rd, 2016) AND complimentary admission into…

The Science of Bikes

The Science Museum of Virginia explores how bikes work with Bikes: Science on Two Wheels, a collection of “historic, rare, peculiar, and all-around amazing bikes!” The evolution of bikes–in this case I’ll go ahead and say that “intelligent design” might be a more accurate term–included the Boneshaker and Penny Farthing, both of which you’ll get to see. You’ll also be able to do some hands-on stuff while you learn about force, energy, motion, aerodynamics, engineering…science stuff.

The exhibit was organized by Carnegie Science Center in cooperation with Bicycle Museum of America, which I bet is really annoyed right now that they are in Ohio and not Central Virginia. This exhibit runs through September 27th–buy tickets online.

Cycling in America

The Branch Museum of Architecture and Design (formerly known as the Virginia Center for Architecture and possibly known to you as “that huge, castle-like house on Monument Avenue that you’re not really sure is an actual house or what”) also brings us a look into how bicycles changed as humans better understood science and design. Balance in Motion: The Evolution of Cycling in America opens on Thursday, July 30th and runs through October 18th.

Featured points of interest: the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition, which got together a bunch of international bikes and inspired the first U.S. bicycle factory, tandem bikes, bikes for different sexes, different metals, and different uses. If we were smart, we’d put together some sort of scavenger hunt that would give you a prize if you proved yourself worthy by visiting all three of these exhibits.

Art about bikes

Once you feel sufficiently steeped in bike history, please step this way to view art inspired by bicycling. It’s hard to imagine that it comes close to this art inspired by bicycling (true fact, Freddie Mercury watched the Tour de France and just thought it was really neat and so thinking, cranked out a genius song, as was his wont).

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts will present ARTcycle from September 6th all the way through June 30th, 2016. You can get on an actual bike and take a virtual tour through VMFA’s works! What!? Freddie Mercury would certainly be stoked about that aspect, which is killer. Also featured: a chance to create your own art out of bicycle parts and a bicycle mural with selfie opportunities.

Not to be outdone, Art Works is still accepting entries into The Worlds Wheels into Richmond, which I simply cannot say out loud. Through August 15th, you can submit bicycle-inspired art via any medium, up to three entries, as long as it “depicts some aspect of bicycling, a bicycle, a part of a bicycle, a bicycler.” I can’t say that out loud either. The show will exhibit during the BBR™, on September 11th, 12th, and 13th.

Bikes and Women

Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens has had this bike thing in the bag for months. As big cycling fans and the site of the former Lakeside Wheel Club, they’re pumped for the race. In fact, the Men’s Elite and Women’s Elite Time Trials will begin at the Gardens themselves on September 20th (it’ll be open free of charge). From September 19th through September 27th, Lewis Ginter will offer From Bicycle Club to Botanical Garden–a permanent exhibit augmented for the race with panels on topics like “Women and Fashion in the Bicycle Boom” and “The Cycling Craze at the Turn of the Century.”

In this interesting post by Executive Director Shane Tippett, the Gardenfolk muse upon what cycling meant for women at the time, who were restricted from doing all sorts of things because of stupid social bias (and also corsets). Lewis Ginter will be open until 8:00 PM throughout the entire race!

Oh, and, because they were not kidding about being big cycling fans, they’ll also be unveiling Sean Kenney’s LEGO® sculpture: Bicycle Trumps Traffic, which is terrifying to those of us who drive cars. Perhaps justly so. Kenney will be back in 2016 with a larger exhibit that will not be primarily focused on bikes. Isn’t it wild to think that we will one day focus on other things? I kind of fail to believe it.

Bikes and Young Writers

Richmond Young Writers plans to have an exhibition of bicycle-related writings–complete with illustrations–at Plant Zero on September 18th through October 18th. And, if you are a young (like 8-17 young, not young-at-heart, sorry) writer, you may submit your entries right now! You’ve got until July 31st, and may I suggest writing something inspired by the aforementioned Queen song. Or the aforementioned “Bikes and Women” section! Dang, maybe we should host an exhibit of art inspired by this very article!

Bikes and Beer

Strangeways cleverly (as always) matches cycling with a whole LINE of beers, the Totally Tubular Radler series. Each is paired with a citrus flavor, and each is light and refreshing. Go and fill up a crowler with the Pink Lemonade, which I hear is completely out of this world good.

Bikes and Coffee

Blanchard’s is offering a Richmond 2015 special release that will evolve over time! Just like the bike did! It’s sourced directly from a farm in Columbia, which means everyone is a lot happier, including you, because the coffee is delicious.

Bikes and Sports (That Aren’t Necessarily About Cycling)

The Kickers, who require no wheels but don’t make a huge thing out of it, present Bike Night for their match vs. the Rochester Rhinos on Saturday, September 5th. They’ll have bike-related vendors (this just gave me a sweet “Getcha spokes! Getcha spokes right hyeah!” image), and will give discounted tickets to people who ride their bikes to the stadium! Bike Walk RVA will be doin’ its free bike valet service thing, so you don’t need to worry about that.

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When, in a thousand years, humans rip up asphalt layers (no longer needed, because flying cars, finally) and study them like tree rings–they’ll wonder about the whole, preserved, flattened cyclist they find that dates back to the early 21st century. Early North Americans, they’ll decide, chose their heroes from the strongest of the tightly-clothed humans that spent several days traveling together in a clump, riding bi-wheeled non-flying transportation devices. Their museum exhibits and cave paintings indicate the importance of this event, which the population graciously allowed to disrupt their lives for nine days / several months, depending on their grumpiness levels.

If you have another bicycling-related event, exhibition, or beverage to share, feel free to let us know.

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Susan Howson

Susan Howson is managing editor for this very website. She writes THE BEST bios.

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