This is a perfect change of pace for socially distanced outings -- and it’s completely free

Dick and Willie Passage Rail Trail in Martinsville.
Dick and Willie Passage Rail Trail in Martinsville. (Dick and Willie Passage Rail Trail in Martinsville)

HENRY COUNTY, Va. – With months of quarantining behind us and who knows how many months ahead of us, it just feels good to get outdoors, breathe fresh air and do something active.

You don’t have to be incredibly fit or of a certain age to get on a bike. That’s why the old adage says “just like riding a bike” -- it’s supposed to be simple and come as second nature.

So when you’re needing to find a mindless socially distanced activity in the fresh air, riding a bike seems like the most fitting of things to do. You can take whatever pace feels good to you.

On the soon-to-be 11 mile paved rail trail that is the Dick and Willie Passage Rail Trail in Martinsville, you can even show up to ride without bringing a bike.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a resident of Martinsville or just visiting the area, stop by the Doyle Street Trail Head YMCA bike barn -- at 220 Doyle St., in Martinsville -- when you arrive, the friendly employees there will set you up with a free bike and helmet to borrow for the day.

The Martinsville-Henry County YMCA Bike Barn. (© 2011 Richard Boyd Photography INC)

The trail, which is part of the former Danville and Western Railroad, can be accessed at a six locations, including:

  • Virginia Avenue -- 1094 Virginia Ave. in Martinsville
  • Liberty Street -- 699 Liberty St. in Martinsville
  • Doyle Street -- 220 Doyle St. in Martinsville
  • Fisher Street -- 815 Fisher St. in Martinsville
  • Spruce Street -- 1900 Spruce St. in Martinsville
  • Smith River Sports Complex -- 1000 Irisburg Road in Axton