Bike Virginia

The King and Queen have often heard bikers rave about the Bike Virginia ride that has been going on for 22 years. A 5-day ride, always in a different part of Virginia, it is similar to the Bon Ton Roulet ride that the King and Queen have done in upstate New York three times. Due to the timing of the ride we have never been able to do it until this year.

This year the ride started and ended in Charlottesville with stops in Culpeper and Orange, VA. The ride is between 280 and 384 miles depending upon whether you elect to do the short ride or the long ride each day. The King and Queen chose to do the short ride each day. We were very `under-trained' for this ride since it has been raining for about 6 weeks in Washington and we were away in California and Neveda for 10 days and had little riding time.

This was a very big ride with over 2000 bikers participating. By contrast, the Bon Ton Roulet has only 300 bikers.

Photo: On Friday, June 19th as we were leaving the house they were filming a movie on our block. The movie stars in the movie will be Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson and Jack Nicholson. This is a photo of the back of Jack Nicholson across the street from our condo and just down the street.

We drove down to Charlottesville and arrived at the East Charlottesville High School where we were to camp for two days. The drive to Charlottesville took over three hours due to lots of Friday afternoon summer traffic. We were still earlier than most people and were able to get a good camping spot close to the High School and the bathrooms.

Photo: The first day's trip was a 58-mile loop that started and ended in Charlottesville. The day started off very foggy and humid. The ride was fairly hilly and as the fog burned off the temperatures rose to 97 degrees. It was a quite unpleasant ride and two people had to be taken away by ambulance with heat stroke.

Photo: The ride had three rest stops and a lunch stop. Here we are at the second rest stop - and really resting. From the left - the Queen, Susan (an old running friend from the Montgomery County Road Runners Club in DC), her friend Charlie and Frona (their friend from England).  Frona and Charlie actually helped out with support when I ran my first marathon in 1992 and I had not seen them since.

Photo: The second day we rode 64 miles from Charlottesville to Culpeper. One of the rest stops was in the town of Rapidan. On the bridge leading into town the American flag and the Confederate flag were flown. A number of the houses in the town had Confederate flags being flown from the porches.

Photo: This is the war memorial in Culpeper Virginia. It was odd to see a memorial to the Civil War and the Viet Nam War and no other war. On the third day the optional rides were an 8-mile city ride, a 49-mile ride or a 100-mile ride. The King and Queen opted for the 8-mile city ride.

Photo: Camping at Culpeper was at the local high school. Most people opt to camp on the football field. The King and Queen found a spot a distance away from everyone near the parking lot. The school was located near Route 29, a major truck route and we heard the trucks all night long. There was also a train track nearby but we only heard two trains go past in the night.

Photo: This was the most comfortable spot this guy could find to read. The tents were much too hot during the day to sit in them. He could have walked to the high school that was air-conditioned. The King and Queen often did that at night before we went to bed - found a spot in one of the school hallways and read until it was time for bed.

Photo: This person just put their tent up on the island of the parking lot.

Photo: The city of Culpeper had a dinner for us and then a performance by the Rhondels. They are a local band from the Virginia Beach area that have been around since the 70s with no known big hit. This is Scherpie, the Queen, Scherpie's mom and Tom Willding. Tom was active in the running club in Montgomery County in the 80s.

Photo: Leaving Culpeper with a police escort. The police warned us that they would be giving tickets if bikers disobeyed any traffic signals (lights, stop signs). Some bikers were pretty bad in keeping single or even double file and a lot of them were just ignoring the traffic signals. By this time in the ride we had had three broken collarbones and one face plant in an oncoming car.

Photo: On the trip from Culpeper to Orange we had some climbs and some views.

Photo: One rest stop was at the Novum Baptist Church where we were greeted by a women handing out small crosses, a guy giving out bibles and two singers, one playing the organ.

Photo: George and John forgot their camera so I took this picture to email back to them at the end of the ride.  We met  George (Pittsburgh) and John (Ohio) on the first day as they searched for a bar in Charlottesville. They were always close to the beer and would have made excellent hashers.

Photo: The church ladies went all out at this rest stop. There was all homemade stuff and plenty of it.

Photo: The view from the rest stop at the Good Hope Baptist Church.

Photo: On the last night the city of Orange had a street party for the bikers. After dinner we sat with Bob and Barbara, friends from the Potomac Peddlers in DC, while everyone else danced and drank.

Photo: The Queen had to be back at a meeting in DC at 6PM on the last day of biking. The last day was 52 miles of biking, the drive back to DC 2 ½ hours with good traffic and with the chaos of 2000 people trying to load up their cars and get away we realized that we would never make it back in time. One day we noticed a sign on one of the Bike Virginia bulletin boards that was asking for someone to drive a car from Orange back to Charlottesville so he could bike that one day. We met Tony on the last morning and drive his car with all our stuff back to Charlottesville and he was able to bike. It turned out great for him and for us.