Feeling burnt out with work? Want to mix up your workout routine? Need a social gathering that's a little different from the norm? An overnight bike camping trip might be the fix.
Overnighters require less planning, less equipment and a riding distance that won't take you too far from home. With plenty of destinations within reasonable riding distance of Richmond, and food and water stops along the way, there aren't a whole lot of other factors stopping you from an adventure that will leave you feeling refreshed, accomplished and inspired for whatever challenges the next day will bring.
Our staff recently knocked out a Monday night trip with minimal planning. Follow this simple guide and you'll be able to cross this one off your bucket list.
Our Destination - Chickahominy Riverfront Park: Our target location is located along the Va Capital Trail making it most importantly a safe, easy-to-find campsite. You just get on the trail and go! At ~50 miles each way, it may not be ideal for those short of time and rushing to work the next morning. If that's you, we recommend Pocahontas State Park instead, about ~18 miles each way. We suggest calling in advance or checking the park websites for campsite booking.
The Bikes for the Task: Our team chose steel bikes configured with nice cushy tires and minimal bags. Our goal was efficiency without compromising comfort so a light touring rig seemed like the best option. With hammock camping in mind, we were able to carry everything we needed with saddle bags, a handlebar bag, a hip pack and one cockpit bag. You can fit quite a bit of stuff into these bags.
If you want to travel lightweight but anticipate needing more equipment, invite a buddy who may not want to ride to drive and meet you at the campsite. You can pack any backup supplies or additional food in their car. Our team actually had a friend meet with additional tents after rain showed up late in the forecast.
Keys to Success:
Make sure you have enough food and water. Both of these camping areas have water, but you'll want to make sure you stay hydrated enough along the way. There are a few gas stations and stops along the Cap Trail for snacks and water but selection can be limited and those with specific dietary restrictions or preferences will want to plan ahead.
Choose a pace that is comfortable for you. Remember that the journey and destination are equally as important. A harder effort on the way out may be just what you need to guarantee a good night's sleep.
Relax by the fire. When the day is done and you're settled into camp, get the fire going. Some music or storytelling before bed will help wind down the day and distract from any fatigue as your body winds down and digests dinner.
Rise and shine. Get up bright and early, pack up, and get riding to avoid heat in the warmer months. Drink 8 ounces of water and maybe have a light snack before hopping on the bike and getting a few miles in. Once you get the blood flowing and you're starting to feel awake, stop for coffee and breakfast. Enjoy the rest of the ride wherever you're headed. If you're off to the job, its not a bad idea to keep some baby wipes, deodorant and a change of clothes in a bag at your desk for the next day. Your co-workers will want to hear all about your adventure, but they may not want to smell it.
While our team had the advantage of a support vehicle and showers the next day, we packed our gear under the premise of no support vehicle or showers. You can check out our complete gear list below.
2 x Revelate Viscacha Saddle Bags
Revelate Gas Tank Bag
Topo Designs Lightweight Hip Pack
2 x Hammocks
Jet Boil stove
Outdoor Tech Buckshot
2 x Water Bottles
2 x Spare Tubes
2 x Knife
Fire starter stick
Change of clothes for activities
Garmin GPS Unit