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Posted In: Mountain Biking

Trail-building Season Begins with Slave Trail Bypass

Andy Thompson

November 5, 2015 2:55pm

It’s the time of year for mountain bikers in Richmond when trail riding gives way to trail building and maintaining. That’s not to say that people stop riding, just that fall and winter are the seasons when the majority of the work is done to build new trail and repair old, whether by volunteers for RVA MORE or the city’s trail crew under the guidance of trails manager Mike Burton.

The new Slave Trail Bypass will connect riders to the mysterious "Poop Loop."

The new Slave Trail Bypass will connect riders to the mysterious “Poop Loop.”

I caught up with Burton last week to get the rundown on the trail-work season’s priorities. He spoke to me from the site of the first project: the Slave Trail segment between Ancarrow’s Landing and underneath the I-95 bridge. The trail currently runs along the south bank of the James in that area, but there are some woods adjacent to the trail on its south side where a singletrack bypass is being built. The trail is used primarily to connect riders the city’s downtown trails to the “Poop Loop,” a trail system in the woods by Richmond’s wastewater treatment plant.

Burton explained: “We’ve had so much new bike traffic (on the Slave Trail segment) that we didn’t used to have that it just made sense. We’re hoping this will be more fun to ride and avoid potential conflicts.”

He said the new trail should be open in about two weeks (weather permitting), and that when it is the current Slave Trail section will be open to pedestrian traffic only.

The new bypass crosses the driveway entrance to Ancarrow's Landing.

The new bypass crosses the driveway entrance to Ancarrow’s Landing.

After the Slave Trail bypass, Burton’s trail crew will move on to a host of other projects including a major remodeling of the pump track and bike skills park on Belle Isle. I’ll be writing about them as they progress. Stay tuned.

And if you’re interested in volunteering to work on this new trail, RVA MORE, the area’s mountain bike/trail building club, will meet this Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Ancarrow’s Landing parking lot. Tools will be provided. Just show up ready to work.

About Andy Thompson

I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?