Newish R2 Bike Route sign, Government Road

In the interest of documenting living, working, and playing in RVA–by bike–I’ll be posting a series of By Bike entries here. I’ll document my ride to my destination, noticing what works and what doesn’t–yet.

One of the best things about working from home is the flexibility to work away from home from time-to-time. Today is one of those times. I was out of half-and-half anyways, and I can’t drink coffee without it.

I packed up my computer into my pannier and started out to Buzzy’s Beanery in Church Hill. Buzzy’s holds a special place in my heart, as it was the only cafe in this part of town when I first moved here in 2007. There may be others now, and they might have better lattes, but nothing beats Buzzy’s iced coffee with coffee ice cubes. Buzzy, indeed!

My ride to Buzzy’s is short but steep; I live less than two miles away on a hill, and Buzzy’s is on a hill. Bike facilities haven’t taken hold much in this part of town, but that’s sure to change in the coming months. This sign has already popped up on Government Road!

Govt debris 19April13

Edge of Government Road heading up to Chimborazo Park

The first challenge, aside from the slope (which is my own problem), is this neglected stretch that is Government Road. This would be a great place for a few sharrows, if not an outright bike lane. It also deserves some sidewalk love. It’s part of RVA’s East-West Bike Route (R2) and it’s a major corridor for cars, pedestrians, and bikes going between Church Hill and Fulton on to Williamsburg Road and points east.

Government Road connects two major city parks–Chimborazo and Gillies Creek–and is an extension of the Broad Street corridor. Contrary to popular belief, Richmond does not end at Chimborazo Park! There’s a vibrant and active community to the east called Greater Fulton that is full of artists, long-time residents with stories to share, historic cemeteries and neighborhoods, the famed Neighborhood Resource Center, and businesses.

Broad CH 19April13

Broad Street in Church Hill at Chimborazo Park

At the top of the hill, one is greeted with Chimborazo Park and Church Hill. It’s beautiful in the springtime. Wouldn’t a few sharrows, though, be a good reminder to motorists that Broad Street is also a place for bicycles? It’s also part of the East-West Bike Route 2.

Church Hill is a success story in terms of getting heavy truck traffic off of Broad Street. Although that traffic pre-dates my arrival in RVA, I understand that the stopsigns at every block are the result of a concerted effort by residents of Church Hill to take back their streets. It has worked pretty well. People are out walking with dogs and even pet geese (it’s true!), drivers are courteous, and there are a few cyclists out and about.

BikePkg Buzzy's 19April13

*sigh* Bike Parking, RVA-style

Once I got to Buzzy’s, I was faced with the absence of bike parking. This is not Buzzy’s fault; it’s difficult to get bike parking on a public right-of-way in Richmond. The city’s current regulations do not enable affordable and effective bicycle parking should a business wish to provide bicycle parking for customers. It’s something that the RVA Pedestrian and Bicycle Coordinator, Jake Hemboldt, is aware of and no-doubt working to change.

So I parked where I could. Rumor has it that the RVA police are going to start cracking down on bicycles parked on public fixtures such as parking meters, sign posts, street trees, and light posts. Well, where the heck are we supposed to park?

Buzzy's 19April14I do enjoy working from cafes. I like having people around, even if I don’t know them. Buzzy’s has some great Motown tunes and is a friendly and warm place to be. And that iced coffee with the coffee ice cubes–that stuff rocks.

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