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Written by: Beth Stinnett
Thursday September 1, 2016

Fall is the perfect time to try a new outdoor activity with the cooler air and beautiful scenery as the leaves begin to change. In celebration of Self-Improvement Month this September, challenge yourself to try a new outdoor recreational opportunity.

Running:Harvest Moon Run

Starting off with a gentle walk or jog along one of the area's trails is a great way to get in shape while enjoying nature. You can work yourself up to running a 5K or 10K in one of the upcoming races this fall. 

  • Harvest Moon Run 10K & Dancing on Depot-At this festive event on September 16th, racers wear glow sticks and hit the paved Dick & Willie Passage Rail Trail. Running is fun but when there is a live band and craft brew beer garden waiting for you at the finish line, it gives even more incentive to run faster! 
  • Become a work of art during the Paint the Town 5K on September 10th. You'll start the race as a blank canvas and end up covered in four different colors of cornstarch by the end of the race. 
  • Enjoy your Thanksgiving Dinner guilt-free after running in the Turkey Day 5K on November 24th. This family friendly race even offers an award category for families that complete the run together. Themed awards for this holiday run include fabulous turkey, pumpkin, acorn, and maple leaf shaped cutting boards, and turkey basters. Gobble, gobble! 

Cycling:The Bike Barn

Even if you haven't ridden a bicycle in years, it's easy to get back into this activity. Simply stop by Activate MHC's The Bike Barn located at the Doyle Street Access of the Dick & Willie Passage to borrow a bike and helmet. All you need to use the free service is a photo ID. Bikes are available for riders ages 5 and up and a limited number of tow behind trailers on-hand for younger children. This is a great activity for family reunions and group tours as more than 60 bikes are available for loan. 

Once you are back in the swing of cycling, join the Martinsville-Henry County Family YMCA, Activate MHC and Henry County Bike Club as they offer guided group rides this biking season! Each ride will begin at the Bike Barn and riders of all levels are invited to join the fun. The outings will include riding on the trails as well as the streets and will depart promptly at 9 am on Saturday mornings from the Bike Barn. Bring your own bike, or borrow one from the barn. Rides ranging from 10-15 miles in length will take place on the 3rd Saturday of the month through October. 

Other (weekly) Bike Rides include:

If you are in the market for a new or used bike or need parts for repairs, be sure to stop by Chain of Fools Bicycle Repair in Uptown Martinsville.

 

Paddling & Fishing:Smith River

Did you know that you can rent canoes on-site at Beaver Creek Reservoir? Stop by to enjoy a serene paddle on this 165-acre lake, located near Patrick Henry Community College. A special treat in September will be an opportunity for night fishing which is not typically offered on this body of water. 

Riding the river is not limited to just the summer months. A fall ride on the Smith River is an excellent way to see nature's beauty. Just make sure that you are wearing appropriate clothing for paddling in cooler months. Hypothermia is a risk due to the Smith River's cold temperatures below Philpott Dam. If you are new to the sport of paddling, go on a guided trip with Smith River Outfitters or Three Rivers Outfitters. You can enjoy the river via canoe, kayak, raft or tube. Ten river access points are available on the Smith River so that you can enjoy a variety of trip options. Discover more about river access here and you can also order a waterproof copy of An Insider's Guide to the Smith River for more detailed information and maps. 

 

What are you waiting for? Get out and explore!  

Tell us about your favorite outdoor activity in the comments below or snap a photo and tag us on Instagram with #visitmartinsville. 

Tags: Dick & Willie Passage Rail Trail, Henry County, Insider's Tips, Smith River Trail System