Virginia High Bridge Trail

 The High Bridge Trail is a 31 miles mixed use trail with a stone/dirt surface. I rode from Farmville east, toward the namesake bridge to the end. I was on a hybrid bike but the surface was smooth and a road bike would likely be fine. Farmville is located at the center of the trail length. There are mile markers every 1/2 miles starting on the bridge. Moving away from mile zero on the bridge the markers are designated E & W to uniquely identify locations along the trail. The bridge is about 5 miles from Farmville. There are a few closer trailheads if you are walking or running but these are paid lots. The entire trail is a state park that charges for parking. The town of Farmville has abundant municipal parking lots that are free.

The bridge was constructed around 1854 to cross the Appomattox River. It was originally a railroad bridge with an adjacent walkway and a wagon bridge below. It had historic importance in the Civil War.  Earthen fortifications are still present on the east side of the bridge. There is a walking trail that allows views of the underside of the bridge. 

There were several trailheads with pit toilets along the trail. There are gates at road intersections but these have sufficient spacing to easily navigate. The cross roads were lightly traveled. Horses are allowed on the trail.

View under the bridge. Walking trail affords these views.

Civil War fortifications adjacent to the trail

Civil War cannon adjacent to the trail

Virginia Capital Trail

 This 52 mile trail connects Richmond, the current capital of Virginia to Jamestown, the state's early capital. It is asphalt paved and very smooth. It is not however a rail-trail. There are hills. If you cycle regularly you won't have a problem but I did see at least one rider walking up a hill. 

My ride was from Richmond to around the half way point. At that point I turned around and returned. The first 8-9 miles was along a road with homes and later fields alongside. Then the trail turned to some wooded back yards that quickly transitioned into a park. After the park is was wooded for about 3 miles then another park. After the second park the trail was along the road again but now with a tree buffer that made for a pleasant ride. Many large fields along the way that soon became home to several plantations.

There were few significant road crossings but they had signals and drivers mostly stopped when seeing the yellow lights. Signage was good and the trail was very easy to follow. Highlights of my return ride are on my YouTube channel:

Saddle Sores


Let me start by saying that I am not a medical professional. I am just relating my experience and informal research. Almost all cyclists get saddle sores occasionally. These are areas of your skin that may be raised and are usually painful to the touch. They look like an acne zit. These most often occur in places that experience pressure while cycling, your bottom. Since they are painful to touch, they make sitting rather uncomfortable.

Saddle sores occur where rubbing creates a small break in the skin that then gets infected. This means there are two approaches to preventing saddle sores, prevent the skin break or prevent the infection. Cycling specific clothing is made so there are no seams in the bottom or crotch area. This decreasing the chances of a seam rubbing a break in the skin. For this to work you should not wear underwear while cycling. The edge of the underwear would act like a seam in the clothing. Additionally applying cycling specific cream to the area will lubricate and soften the skin decreasing the chance of a break. Look for Chamois Butter, Cycle Glide, Bliss Chamois Cream, Nut Butter, Udderly Smooth Chamois or similar products. These are sold in any bike shop. You may apply this to the seat pad in your shorts, but most people apply directly to their skin.

Another consideration is finding a saddle that fits and is most comfortable for you. It may be counterintuitive but a soft, squishy saddle may cause more rubbing. A harder saddle may be a better choice in the long run. The bike itself should fit your body and be adjusted specific to you. Many people rave about having a professional bike fit. A bike that is not properly adjusted to your anatomy will create uneven pressure increasing the chance of saddle sores.

In order to prevent infection always start your ride with freshly laundered clothes. After your ride shower as soon as possible and dress in fresh clothes. Remember bacteria multiply in sweaty, damp clothes. If you are not able to shower, immediately after riding then wash up and put clean underwear on in a rest room to get that bacteria away from your skin.

Most experienced cyclists have their favorite remedies they use when they get saddle sores. The intent is to reduce inflammation (and therefore pain) and to speed healing. Diaper rash cream or Preparation H are popular treatments but the one that makes the most sense to me is antibiotic cream. You may choose to continue cycling with a minor case of saddle sores, not much difference sitting on a chair at home or your saddle.

If your saddle sores do not improve in a few days, it is important to see your doctor for medical advice. Listen to your doctor’s advice and not advice gleaned for the internet, including yours truly.

Potty Humor

Often quite disgusting but other times a welcome sight, porta potties are a common on bike trails. Have you noticed the creative company names or tag lines affixed to the units? Many are humorous in a middle school way. Consider these:

  • The Best Seat in Town
  • Full Moon Rentals
  • A Royal Flush in Service
  • Rumpke Portable Restrooms
  • Gotta Go Potties
  • A Royal Flush Beats A Full House
  • Callahead’s Head
  • We’re #1 in the #2 Business
  • Jonny’s Johns
  • Call of Nature
  • The Throne Depot
  • The Throne King