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East Coast Greenway: Crossing the swollen James River…

Pedestrian Suspension Bridge - awaits our bike travels over the James River

Pedestrian Suspension Bridge – awaits our bike travels over the James River

Day 2: …was one of the highlights of today’s cycling ride – from Richmond to somewhere south of Petersburg, Virginia.  Whatever ‘hit’ was lacking in my wake-up routine, was made up for in the adrenaline that helped to cross the mighty James River in Richmond.  After days and days of rain courtesy of Hurricane Jo’ (aquin), the James River was a swollen beast.

Today’s ride however, would be free of rain.  With temperatures in the 50s, more winds from the north (i.e. tailwind) – a group of 4 ladies (Donna, Bev, Barbara and myself) with the East Coast Greenway (ECG) WAY tour departed on busy rush hour Richmond city roads for more bicycle miles south.   Within 2 miles – we stopped to listen to the roar of the swollen James.   We photo-op’ed the pedestrian bridge that appears to hang precariously (suspension bridge) under one of the interstate highways, and before any of us could have second thoughts – it was time to cross the mighty James.

I was in the lead, and taking a huge leap of faith.  With the crosswinds from above and the roaring sounds from the rapids below – I took a

Our ECG Trail had turned into rapids

Our ECG Trail had turned into rapids

quick visual of the construction of the pedestrian bridge.  I decided this was no time to fall off of my bike, turn back or ‘think’ more than I should, so I opted for 3 minutes of pure tunnel vision.  One thought.  One goal.  Get to the other side of the bridge. (Watch video crossing while bicycling over the James!)

Once in Belle Isle, my heart rate returned to normal, and we spent much time taking in the historic Civil War landmarks, and meandering along trails devoid of vehicle traffic.  ECG signs allowed us to navigate without having to stare at our GPS equipment.    It was a good thing that Donna, who had taken the lead, was paying attention the the pathway ahead, because she suddenly stopped.  I hit my brakes – partially because I had zoned out – and we discovered that our trail had become one with the James River.

This of course made for more photo op’s – and by the end of 1 hour we had traveled approximately 2.8 miles.  Time to get back into bicycle touring.  We managed to find a high road detour – and while portions of this required us to walk with our bikes (to avoid large rocks and slipping down a ravine) — it all added to our especially exciting first 3 miles.

So true!

So true!

Today’s ride took us 36 miles to just south of Petersburg VA.  The roads were a mix of lightly traveled rural neighborhoods, to 55 mph highways with bike lanes.  Occasionally the bike lanes disappeared – and our fearless group of 4 found a way to stay visible and together, making us no interest to become anyone’s hood ornament.

We arrived in south Petersburg at 1:30PM, with plenty of room left in the day to share bike stories with our fellow ECG riders.  Tomorrow we will return to longer distances, with more stories to be uncovered along the way.

Route:  Richmond VA to Petersburg VA (36 miles)

Richmond to Petersburg

Richmond to Petersburg

In need of a detour!

In need of a detour!

Riders Barbara, Bev and Donna - and Support Driver Mike

Riders Barbara, Bev and Donna – and Support Driver Mike

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