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Thread: Richmond, VA

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    Richmond, VA

    Hello all. I am thinking of taking a job in Richmond, VA but had some questions. Anyone live there or ever live there? I do have some specific questions that I would like to ask either in PM or email.

    Thanks.
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    Senior Member kenseth03's Avatar
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    Im in the Richmond area. I sent you a private message.
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    Me, too.

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    Me three. Road and mtb, ask away.
    The preceding information is strictly opinion. The following information is incorrect.

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    Cycling Apparel RoadHolland's Avatar
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    I live in Richmond, Virginia as well....

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    I'll be working in Richmond for 4 months, Dec - March. The office is on West Broad, near the I-64 interchange. In Boston (late 80's) and Philadelphia I've done a lot of commuting/utility riding (bikes with internal gears, lights, fenders & racks)

    Winter Weather
    Does Richmond get much ice or snow?
    Rain?

    Motorist and Police Tolerance
    Boston & Philadelphia have narrow roads and chaotic traffic, usually no faster than bicycle speed. Philadelphia has been adding bike lanes in the last few years, but I'm not as thrilled with door zone lanes as the motorists.

    * Do Richmond motorists or police have any problems with bicyclists using normal lanes (e.g. left turn lane to turn left)?
    * Do Richmond/western suburb roads have shoulders/bike lanes? If so, what is the quality?

    If you have any other comments on transportation/utility riding, please feel free to let me know.

    Thanks
    Steve

  7. #7
    Senior Member ButchA's Avatar
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    I'm in Richmond too (In the west end near Regency Mall).

    English3Speed... Richmond doesn't really get a ton of snow (i.e. like up north around Buffalo New York, Syracuse, and places like that). But it does (and will) get ice and sleet mixed with snow. The traffic around the area varies from location to location. The roads can get congested like any city and the shoulders of the roads aren't always as clean of debris as they should be. Most road bikers venture out into the suburbs to ride. The shoulders of the suburban roads are very narrow, and again, most people in the western suburbs go into West Creek Pkwy (huge business development complex, shaped like a horseshoe) and they ride in there to get away from the traffic.

    I hope this helps. I'm sure others will chime in as well.

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    Butch,
    Thanks for the reply. It looks like there are probably a number of locations of interest (gym, downtown, etc) within a 5 mile radius, and I'm more interested in knowing if I can use a bicycle for transportation than in purely recreational rides for distance.

    If you get ice and sleet mixed with snow, it sounds like if I bring a bike it should be the mountain bike (canti brakes are good; I also have studded tires for winters in PA).

    Here, the roads without shoulders typically have multiple lanes (occupy one lane with the bicycle, plenty of space for everyone) or are older streets with low speed traffic. Of course, if you are riding to the same destinations others are driving to, you're going to places with traffic, not out of the way to get away from traffic.

    Broad St looks like it has many lanes and probably high speeds. I guess I'll see if suburban drivers tolerate bicyclists on roads without shoulders. Most drivers here figure it out, a few get angry.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Consularrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by English3Speed View Post
    Butch,
    Thanks for the reply. It looks like there are probably a number of locations of interest (gym, downtown, etc) within a 5 mile radius, and I'm more interested in knowing if I can use a bicycle for transportation than in purely recreational rides for distance.

    If you get ice and sleet mixed with snow, it sounds like if I bring a bike it should be the mountain bike (canti brakes are good; I also have studded tires for winters in PA).

    Here, the roads without shoulders typically have multiple lanes (occupy one lane with the bicycle, plenty of space for everyone) or are older streets with low speed traffic. Of course, if you are riding to the same destinations others are driving to, you're going to places with traffic, not out of the way to get away from traffic.

    Broad St looks like it has many lanes and probably high speeds. I guess I'll see if suburban drivers tolerate bicyclists on roads without shoulders. Most drivers here figure it out, a few get angry.
    You didn't specify which I-64 interchange. I have only limited experience with cycling in Richmond, but my son studies at VCU in the Fan. Tons of students riding around that area (no helmets and no lights).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Consularrider View Post
    You didn't specify which I-64 interchange. I have only limited experience with cycling in Richmond, but my son studies at VCU in the Fan. Tons of students riding around that area (no helmets and no lights).

    The office is around 6600 W Broad St, about 5 miles west of VCU and the Fan.

  11. #11
    Senior Member CroMo Mike's Avatar
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    6600 W. Broad is between Glenside and Broad, and Horsepen and Broad. There are no bike lanes or sidewalks and scant shoulders on that part of Broad, the speed limits are 45 mph, and the drivers will crowd you, partly out of ignorance and partly out of obstinance. I don't ride on Broad St. The bicycle traffic laws in Va. give you a piece of the road close to the righthand edge of the paved roadway, but there's little comfort in that if you are hit. The law also allows the bike to assume the whole lane if insufficient width for the car to pass safely, ditto. By now I assume you have been in Richmond for a good part of your stay and hope you have found us at least somewhat hospitable. I live out Broad a bit farther, near Short Pump Town Center Mall. Out our way you can find lots of peaceful residential subdivision roads to ride without much traffic. My bikes have been kept indoors for a while since I refuse to sacrifice them to the road salt.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Consularrider's Avatar
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    What's your snow depth after WS Pax?

  13. #13
    Senior Member CroMo Mike's Avatar
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    Was 4" but melting fast. Roads are clear.

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    Mike,

    Thanks for the reply. My experience has been that the traffic load on the roads is much lighter than in Philadelphia or Boston, so there seems to be enough room for everyone, even on Broad. (I can walk 5 min to work, so I haven't had to try Broad in rush hour, and you are right, even on an empty Broad St on Sunday afternoon the occasional motorist will honk to express his displeasure at having only 2-3 lanes to pass me.)

    I'm generally bicycling for transportation, rather than looking for quiet recreational roads, and I have sacrificed a number of Boston and Philadelphia bicycle to road salt, winter weather, thieves and vandals; I find it is still quite a bit cheaper than subjecting automobiles to the same hazards. I'll use a car for an occasional trip to Charlottesville, but driving seems like overkill for a 2 mile trip to the Willow Lawn shopping center. Since so many destinations here are right on Broad St, I'm bicycling on Broad a fair amount.

    The snow this year has been a little disappointing - I brought my REI commuter rather than the MTB with studded tires, so there has been a week or so I haven't wanted to ride on this bike.

    Richmond is older city with lots of streets parallel to Broad, so while I don't hesitate to use Broad to get to all the strip malls actually on Broad, the Christmas lights and architecture on some of the parallel roads downtown (Monument, Grace, Patterson) are more pleasant, and I have occasionally used 3 Chopt Road coming back from Short Pump. When I have used Broad, I haven't had any real problems; hardly motorists are personally offended, and even those two figured out that they could use empty lanes if they wanted to go faster.

    Quite a few of the sharrows near the fan and Carytown are (correctly) placed in the middle of the lane this is a pleasant sight compared to many I have seen in MD and MA.

  15. #15
    Senior Member CroMo Mike's Avatar
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    Yes, riding in Richmond is a piece of cake compared to the DC area or Philly. The Richmond drivers are fewer and more relaxed, especially in the middle of the day when they aren't in such a hurry. I like to say they will usually move over if they can, but they seldom slow down.

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    I moved to Richmond after years in DC. Richmond is becoming a better place to ride a bike; DC was really a good place to ride, and it's gotten even better since I left. I don't venture to the Glenside/Short Pump or even Willow Lawn unless absolutely necessary, though, especially on a bike. The roads parallel to Broad are good to ride on. My commute takes me from the East End to the Fan, and I use all side roads and it's a beautiful and efficient ride. I'm really looking forward to some actual bike lanes coming soon, though.

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