Learn, demystify and get prepared. Bring your bike and questions! Downtown Harrisonburg. Click for more info …
OUTBOUND LIGHTING bike lights. Upgrade your night ride! Click for shop hours …
Old man winter is coming. Ride on with a new pair of Winter riding boots. In stock.
The Trek Fuel EXe 9.5 features a carbon frame and a compact motor. Expect a quiet, lively and light ride. Feel the benefits on long climbs and mountain descents. Inquire within …
For most of us summer is in full swing which usually leads to more opportunities to get outside and play. When pulling out the map or tapping into your brain trust, think outside the box and research places you have yet to visit in our state or neighboring state (West by God Virginia). One of the best resources for outdoor exploring is the state park systems within Virginia and West Virginia. This is exactly what I did with my youngest son Carter (11) last week.
For years I’ve heard about Pocahontas State Park, just south of Richmond. This Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) park, around for a long time, has jumped onto the cycling radar over the past 2 decades because of their increased development of mountain bike trails, 43 miles in total. After some interweb digging, I was super excited when my research found yurt rentals available at Pocahontas State Park, and openings during my planned father/son escape week. Our 3 days and 2 nights of stay at Pocahontas included a little bit of everything including swimming, canoeing, mountain biking and general campground fun.
The mountain biking at Pocahontas is fun especially for beginners and sometimes hard to find in our part of the state. The smooth, flat and flowing mountain bike trails were accessible from our yurt via the park’s natural-surface trail system. This meant our car never moved during our stay at the park. Because the 43 mile mountain bike trail system is compact, it is easy to escape quickly and great for kids who’s tank goes from full to empty in a split second.
I used to think since I live in Harrisonburg and am surrounded by National Forest and National Park, there was not a need for state parks in our area, but my mind has changed. State parks have something that most National Forests do not offer, more amenities and recreational opportunities in a condensed environment. The National Forest is a different experience, as it should be, and I love it for its unique and remote recreational opportunities.
Why am I raving about state parks? Because the newest Virginia State Park, Seven Bends State Park, is close to Harrisonburg! Having explored Seven Bends State Park recently, I know it is in its infancy, but like a newborn, it will grow into something great. After our recent visit to Pocahontas State Park, I can see a future vision for Seven Bends State Park: a park with boating opportunities, cabin and yurt rentals and trails for all users.
There are two cycling-related activities that will help grow and mature the Seven Bends State Park; one is the development of the Shenandoah Rail Trail and the other is Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition (SVBC) assistance with trail development and the state’s Recreational Trails Program. These trail opportunities will be an asset for the Shenandoah Valley and our entire state park system. While the projects are years from completion, I am confident with our help and support, they will come to fruition. Maybe one day, someone will take their son to Seven Bends State Park, stay in a yurt or cabin, ride the trails, and create memories of a lifetime.
Enjoy your summer and think about a state park trip for your next new adventure.
Here’s to summer 2022! – Thomas & Carter Jenkins
When a great project takes way too long to complete, do you still celebrate the result? I think you must! You must celebrate what has been done and push for the next great result not to take as long.
My hat is off to the City of Harrisonburg for completing a major phase of Harrisonburg bike/ped plan, The Friendly City Trail.
If you have not been on the new trail system, I encourage you to get out and experience one — or even all — the legs of Harrisonburg’s newest bike/ped facility.
In a few Saturdays, June 11th to be exact, the Harrisonburg Parks and Rec will hold Pop Ups in the Park at Hillandale Park. This event, at the unofficial City bike park, will be a great chance to bring your bike or walking/running shoes and experience the connectivity provided by the Friendly City Trail. Unlike the remote and secluded feeling you can get in the Rocktown Trails, you will most likely be greeted by others on the Friendly City Trail. Each time I have pedaled or run a portion of this trail, I have enjoyed the experience of seeing others happily using the new paths. The one thing you won’t see is cars!
In all honesty this trail should have been built in 2005 when Harrisonburg High School first opened its doors on Garber Church Road. There were folks in the Harrisonburg bike community pushing for the trail to be built when the foundation was being poured for the high school. Unfortunately those advocates had to wait too long for their kids to be able to enjoy a safe bike ride to high school. Instead, we are celebrating the trail opening 17 years after the completion of the high school, 38 years after the middle school opened its doors, and 3.5 years since Bluestone Elementary was opened. Even though this trail is long overdue, we still must celebrate!
There is a simple question I have continuously asked through construction projects of our schools … We would not open a school that we cannot drive to, so why do we open a school to which we can not safely walk or ride? We need to make the commitment when we decide to build important destinations within our City that we make them connect for all users, not just the car users!
Unfortunately, we have broken ground on the Friendly City’s newest school, Rocktown High School, with no plans to connect this school safely for all users. This thought hit home the other day when I was driving by with my 13 year old son, Ethan. As we drove down South Main Street, I pointed out the new lights hanging above the yet-to-be-built athletic fields, and I said, “maybe you will be playing under those lights soon.” Ethan asked, “will they have a trail?” I had to tell him that there are no plans yet. After seeing how much he enjoys the new trail, I was saddened that he would not be able to pack his soccer ball on his bike to ride to his new high school.
As we enjoy and celebrate the Friendly City Trail, let’s put an arm around our City workers and leaders, give them a squeeze of gratitude, but also give them a pinch to remind them not to wait so long for the next great result.
Virginia has earned bragging rights as one of the best places for mountain biking on the east coast. From the well-maintained slopes of Massanutten to over 100 miles of backcountry trails within George Washington National Forest, Harrisonburg, Virginia has something for every experienced or beginner rider.
We always joke about whether we spend more time riding or hanging out in the parking lot, eating and drinking. But that’s the mountain biking community, and that’s the Virginia outdoors. It’s about people.
~ Thomas Jenkins, SBC
Fueled by his love for two wheels, Thomas Jenkins, co-owner of Shenandoah Bicycle Company in downtown Harrisonburg, has spent 25 years working to improve trails and transportation in his community. A former mountain biking competitor, Thomas shares how to access the best local trails for all experience levels. Whether you want to cruise a country road or shred on a downhill, Thomas shares the tips and tricks you need to plan your off-road adventure.