Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 29

"If you ventured into somewhere obscure,
you'd better be ready to spend the night."
LEFT: Thomas Jenkins
(lovin' on the tree) has
been a part of building
or protecting some 200
miles of trail.
BELOW: Jenkins
operates the
Shenandoah Bicycle
Company with
riding buddy and
business partner Tim
Richardson.

zealot, like, immediately."
Back then, the sport had yet to go
mainstream. Accordingly, trails tended
to be poorly marked and maintained.
Land-use was nearly always ill-defined.
Sans cellphones or GPS, riders relied on

fragmentary descriptions, topographic
maps and compasses.
"It was pretty adventurous," says Jenkins. He often spent more time lost than
riding. "If you ventured into somewhere
obscure, you'd better be ready to spend
the night."
Approaching graduation, he had an
epiphany: "I'd majored in accounting,"
he says. "But all I really wanted to do was
ride bikes and be outside."
Jenkins started racing professionally
soon thereafter. Following six months
of racing on the West Coast, he returned
to Virginia to compete at Massanutten.
There, he met Mark Knicely, owner of
Harrisonburg's Mark's Bike Shop (which
became Bluestone Bike & Run in 2015).
The conversation ended with Knicely offering Jenkins a job.
"The situation was
ideal," says Jenkins.
"Mark accommodated
my race schedule and
was super supportive.
For seven years, my
life became: Sleep,
Work, Eat, Bike. That's
all I did."
Approaching 30,
though, Jenkins grew
tired of the constant
travel and training.
With the SVBC gaining
momentum-
membership had increased to more than
400-he decided to
focus on developing the Harrisonburg
bike scene. Partnering with longtime
riding buddy, Tim Richardson, Jenkins
launched the Shenandoah Bicycle Company in 2000. Locating downtown, the
two strove to be more than retailers.
"We wanted to create a community

hub," says Jenkins. In addition to bikes
and gear, the shop featured a lounge and
outdoor patio replete with smoothie bar
and craft brews on tap. It fast became a
trail-building headquarters.
"Our big side-mission was to establish the state's best network of multi-use
trails," says Jenkins. With the Massanutten range and Alleghenies nearby, the
location was prime. "Most of the trails
were established, but had been badly
neglected. The Park Service just didn't-
and still doesn't-have the manpower to
maintain them."
With investment from the SVBC, Jenkins worked with state and federal officials to secure matching grants. Soon,
he was overseeing trail maintenance
and builds in the George Washington &
Thomas Jefferson National Forest. The
task was far from easy.
"In a lot of places, the trails would just
vanish," he says. "We had to hike around
and look for old blazes and try to connect
the dots. Plus, back then, we were doing
everything by hand. I can't tell you for
sure how many hours we spent out there,
but it's definitely in the thousands."
Today, Jenkins says the results have justified the efforts. On one hand, he's implemented maintenance schedules for about
150 miles of regional trails. On the other,
more than 40 miles of new or rerouted
trail has been added to the national forest.
And that's not counting Massanutten.
"For me, it's always been about the
community," says Jenkins. "Getting to
watch our bike club grow a handful of
guys and gals to more than 1,200 members has been the coolest thing."
To see so many kids and parents getting into the woods and enjoying his
trails? "It's incredibly rewarding," he
says. "That keeps me asking, 'What's
next?'"

MAY/JUNE 2019

29



Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019

Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 6
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 7
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 10
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 12
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 13
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 14
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 16
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 18
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 22
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 24
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 25
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 34
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 38
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 42
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 44
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 46
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 48
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 52
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 54
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 56
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 59
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 62
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 64
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 66
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 67
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 68
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG1
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG2
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG3
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG4
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG5
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG6
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG7
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG8
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG9
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG10
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG11
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG12
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG13
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG14
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG15
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG16
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG17
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG18
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG19
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG20
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG21
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG22
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG23
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG24
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