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How bike helmet grant has improved Richmond bike trails

RICHMOND, Va. -- Bicyclists said additional work is needed after a bike helmet company awarded Richmond a share of a $100,000 grant in 2014 to improve to add new bike trails in the River City.

Marty Elliott, who wants to promote more ridership on the nearby trails, and his "RVA Racing" team are gearing up for the Dominion Riverrock this weekend.

Marty Elliott on the Potterfield Bridge on Brown's Island.

Marty Elliott on the Potterfield Bridge on Brown's Island.

"We're trying to put together more community rides," Elliott said. "Helping them with their technical progression and riding skills to be able to be able to handle some of the more difficult trails."

Elliott believes some improvements are needed to area trails.

"I think it's always going to be a work in progress. Just like on some of the trails where you have erosion issues," Elliott said.

James River Park Bike Trails James River Park Bike Trails

James River Park Bike Trails

Three years ago, Richmond and Chesterfield won a portion of a $100,000 grant through the Bell Helmets competition focusing on mountain bike trails to expand a bike trail system in Richmond.

RVAMORE, a bike advocacy group, was awarded $33,000 to build a mile-long mountain bike trail in Pocahontas State Park.

The team finished that trail in December of 2015 with an additional $32,000 and the help of a number of volunteers.

"We got a look at the conditions on some of those trails which appear to be in pretty good shape," said Andy Stites, one of the volunteers.

"When you get into the woods and you get in the trails, the dirt doesn't move itself, the trees don't move themselves," Stites said. "So people have to get out there and use chainsaws or shovels, people got to get rakes and clean trash."

The group is working to make the bike trails a fun and safe place to ride.

"The trails systems are improving and the money is definitely going to work," Stites said.

Organizers said they relied largely on volunteers and donations to improve the trails to make metro Richmond a cycling destination.

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