Startup brings new tours to Virginia Capital Trail

The company guides tours through Virginia Capital Trail’s 52 miles of track.

The company guides tours through Virginia Capital Trail’s 52 miles of track.

For many, the Virginia Capital Trail has provided an opportunity to hop on a bike and see the sights across the mostly rural route from Richmond to Williamsburg.

But Anne Poarch, a former Wells Fargo financial advisor, saw opportunity along the trail’s 52 miles.

With a fleet of 16 Priority bicycles (and Nantucket front baskets), Poarch has launched Basket & Bike, a local startup that guides bikers up and down the trail to sites of historical or geological significance, pointing out historic landmarks and, depending on the ride, local destinations.

And the company offers a bite for the road.

The tours include a chilled water bottle and snack, housed in the bike’s front basket, and finishes with lunch, dinner or a wine tasting at a destination on the trail. But Poarch’s main focus is the area’s history–and its conservation.

“My signature tour focuses on the fact that we’re really right in the cradle of American history,” she said. “Not just the English settlers, but the Native Americans who lived there for thousands of years before the first settlers arrived.”

Poarch’s James River tour, “A Journey Along the James,” is based on friend and reporter Bob Deans’ book The River Where America Began. The 14-mile journey begins and ends at the Upper Shirley Vineyard, pedaling through the Shirley, Westover and Berkeley plantation homes.

Poarch pauses the tour to point out landmarks and sites of interest, beginning with ecological formation of the River, then into the combined local histories of Native Americans of the Algonquin Nation, English settlers, and African slaves.

As the tour wheels to a halt back at Upper Shirley, riders are served lunch catered by the Vineyard’s chef, Carlisle Barrister.  Every signature ride includes a wine tasting at the vineyard.

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