“New Trail” in the RVA

As I contemplate the possibility of editing more video from the Braley Experiment, I will share some info and pics from our ride last night, which included some new trail. Well, new to me.

Part of our ride followed a portion of the Richmond Slave trail, which chronicles the history of the trade of enslaved Africans dating back to the 18th century. We parked at Belle Isle and headed east to the Mayo Bridge linking up with the Slave Trail at marker #10 on this brochure.

This is where we encountered numerous police, fire, and rescue vehicles and personnel, as well as the local news. As we crossed the bridge, I overheard a harrowing statement from one of the rescue personnel that “we are definitely in recovery mode now”. Dang. We later learned that a teenager was swept down the river from up near Belle Isle and was last seen near the Mayo Bridge. As of this posting, I do not believe the body has been recovered.

Mayo Bridge - bad news

Mayo Bridge – bad news

looking back at the city

looking back at the city

We followed the Slave Trail back to the beginning of the trail at the Manchester Docks (Ancarrow’s Landing), which is marker #1 on the map linked above. We then crossed through Ancarrow Landing, which was also full of fire and rescue, and found a connecting trail that continued south. I am not sure the official status of these trails, but I believe they are referred to as the “Pirate Trails” by many of the locals. I will let you draw your own conlusions. Eventually, it loops back on itself and sends you back out to Ancarrrow’s Landing.

one of several sketchy crossings

one of several sketchy crossings on the Pirate Trail

this is what I-95 looks like on the underside

this is what I-95 looks like on the underside

Fast forwarding to Belle Isle, JB and I grabbed a snack while MS played around in the Skills Park. After recharging, we completed a clockwise loop of the main JRPS loop. The total ride clocked in at about 16 miles, and the heat index had me choking for breath on a few of the climbs on Buttermilk Heights. At the conclusion of the ride, we headed to Legend Brewing for a couple of beers and some grub.

cruising back along the floodwall

cruising back along the floodwall

taking a break while MS climbs some steps

taking a break while MS climbs some steps

While it is easy to get lost in yet another ride with your buds, one should take advantage of moments like these to learn more about what shaped the areas we ride in and live in. The Slave Trail is a literal sliver of history which commemorates an ugly but very significant part of Richmond’s and America’s history.

Learn more about the Slave Trail here, or better yet, get out there and experience it for yourself.

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