As the world comes to Richmond, we’d like to give a warm welcome to the world!
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is honored to be the start venue for the 2015 UCI Road World Championships. It’s a natural fit for us. 120 years ago this same location was the heart of cycling in Richmond — the site of the Lakeside Wheel Club. That building still stands in the Garden and is now known as Bloemendaal House. We are thrilled that for cycling fans and visitors that the Garden is the first place you’ll be able to see official race activity. There’s a training race on Saturday morning, 9 to noon, and the Men’s and Women’s Elite Time Trials are Sunday 11:30 – 3:30. To show the world a warm welcome, we’re also offering free Garden admission on Sunday. We’ve already had visits from several international cycling teams including UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, the Swiss Women’s Cycling team, and Movistar Pro Cycling Team.
So, are you ready to come see us!? I hope so. But there are a few things you’ll need to know before attending the race or visiting the Garden during the event. First of all, due to road closures, we do not recommend driving to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden during the UCI Road World Championships. The main gate to the Garden will be closed to vehicular traffic both Saturday and Sunday because our parking lots are the staging area for the cyclists. That means there will be no regular guest parking available inside the Garden on both days. You can probably see why we are telling people to bike or walk to the event. But if you aren’t up for that, Richmond 2015 is running shuttle from Anthem (2015 Staples Mill Road, near the intersection of Staples Mill and Broad) both Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday only they’ll have a similar shuttle from City Stadium (3201 Maplewood Ave). If you walk to the shuttle it’s free, but if you drive there and park, you have to reserve your spot in advance and pay to park.
We probably don’t need to tell you that this is a is a gorgeous time of year at the Garden and the gardens are looking great (see photo below!) So we really hope you make the time to come see us, if not while the cycling championships are here, then later in the week. We’re open late till 8 p.m. Monday through Friday with live music, dining and special tours and exhibits. Plus, how can you resist — on Thursday, September 24th you can bring your leashed pet to the Garden for a special Fidos After 5. Plus, if you want to learn more about our bike history, we’ll have a Themed Walk for UCI Worlds Week: From Bicycle Club to Botanical Garden, September 22, 23, 24. The Lakeside Wheel Club/Historic Bloemendaal House will be open evenings from 5 – 7 p.m. for self-guided tours. Inside the house you can see our From Bicycle Club to Botanical Garden Exhibit where you can learn more about early cycling history in Richmond. This is also your last chance to view the bike sculpture by local Richmond artist John Meola, a 20-foot bicycle sculpture out of recycled bikes and bike parts. You’ll find it on display in the Garden at the base of the Anderson Meadow, down the hill from the Conservatory. So, world, welcome! We think you are going to like it here.