Jan 12

Trail Advocacy and Involvement

Promote Trails by Getting Involved in Trail Advocacy

family on bike trail

Family on Trail

According to numerous bumper stickers, SH*T HAPPENS. Unfortunately, trails don’t just happen. You must contact local regional, state & national representatives. You must serve on Boards. And, if possible, it would be ideal if you could volunteer to work on trails. But this trail blog post is about writing to local officials to promote new and connected trails.

North Trail Study Area

I was recently contacted by a prominent and wonderful local mountain biking advocacy group. They wanted me to contact local officials to encourage an alternative trail plan rather than the two proposed trail plans. Of course, being a mountain bike group, their proposal was specifically for more mountain bike trails. That’s not surprising and commendable that they are getting involved. But that is not exactly what Trailsnet is all about. Trailsnet is indeed about mountain biking trails but also about walking trails, rail trails, commuting trails, recreational trails, etc.

Letter to Open Space, City Councillors & Trail Decision Makers

So I utilized the basic ideas presented by the mountain bike advocacy group (more trails), but heavily revised and edited it so that the emphasis was on more trails in general rather than just more mountain bike trails. Following is the letter that I sent to city, county and open space officials. I hope it serves as a model for your future trail advocacy and promotion:


Dear OSBT Members, City Councilors, & OSMP Staff:
Thank you for considering more trails in Boulder County. I’m sure you are receiving lots of emails from my friends at Boulder Mountain Bike Alliance; and they have some good ideas. But this is NOT one of those form letters so I ask you to please read my entire email and consider it carefully.
Unlike BMA & other similar groups, I am not advocating for the interests of any one group. (mountain bikers, equestrians, pedestrians, etc.) Instead, I am advocating for all people who are willing to utilize non-motorized transportation for either recreation or transportation. Therefore, I ask you to consider each of the special interest groups but in the long run to choose a plan that benefits all of them rather than just one group. More than anything, I ask you to implement a plan that provides a vast and accessible network of trails all throughout Boulder County. It is essential that these trails are accessible and connected rather than disparate trails scattered indiscriminately about.
We are incredibly fortunate to have the resources and community interest to make such a plan happen. Unlike the recent Folsom Street incident, a bike (equestrian, pedestrian…) trail is the opposite of disruptive. It is separate from the sights, smells, pollution and (most of all) dangers of the road. It is accessible to people of all shapes, sizes, interests & abilities. I encourage you to consider:
1) A regional multi-purpose trail  on the west side of US 36 to provide a high quality user experience to Lyons & Heil Valley Ranch (Ideally this trail would be concrete or asphalt but could also be hard-packed gravel or dirt.)
2) Access & interconnectivity to as many of the major local trails in the area including Boulder Creek Path, Foothills Parkway Path, LOBO Trail, the new Boulder-to-Lyons Trail,  Marshall Mesa/Doudy Draw Trails, Coal Creek Trail, etc.)
3) The reclamation of unused roads & rail lines into multi-purpose trails
4) Building completely separate but parallel trails along roads rather than just bike lanes
5) Work w/ CDOT, RTD & Denver to insure that the new US36 Bike Path runs all the way from Boulder to Denver as originally promised.
6) Continue promoting the idea of a multi-use path that completely encircles Boulder and ensure that the path is suitable for all non-motorized users and is surfaced for all weather conditions so that commuters & recreationalists can utilize it year-round.
Thank you for working toward a goal of making Boulder County a leader in safe & accessible non-motorized recreation & transportation in the NTSA. A comprehensive, connected & accessible network of trails in Boulder County is a realistic and laudable goal and one that will be beneficial for the environment and health of all Coloradans and county residents.
Kevin from Trailsnet.com

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2016/01/12/4503/

Jan 04

Through-Hiking Pacific Crest Trail With a Purpose

Pacific Crest Trail Hiker Raises Money for Good Cause

A California man hiked the Pacific Crest Trail to help a man he had never met before. The man had been injured and was unable to walk. Eugene Yoon embarked on a long-distance journey to raise funds to buy the man an exoskeleton walker:

In the past, Trailsnet has focused on trails for fitness, trails for recreation, trails for transportation & trails for the environment. But this story shows that trails can also be used for charity and philanthropic purposes.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2016/01/04/through-hiking-pacific-crest-trail-with-a-purpose/

Dec 19

How to Promote Bicycling to Non-Cyclists

Welcome Love to Ride

Trailsnet is a huge supporter of bicycling for recreation, commuting & exercise. Needless to say, we love it when we find new organizations that promote bicycling for leisure, sport, health & the environment. So you can imagine our excitement when we discovered LovetoRide.org. We especially love to see organizations that encourage cycling among the uninitiated non-cyclists. Let’s face it; we don’t need to promote cycling among current cyclists, because they have already discovered the many benefits to cycling and we’re hooked. It’s that other 97% of people (in America that’s the percentage – slightly less worldwide) who hardly ever (or never) bike. (View LovetoRide CEO Thomas Stokell’s excellent TedTalk video.) love to ride logo

What We Love about LovetoRide.org

How do we love thee? Let us count the ways:

  1. As mentioned above, LovetoRide promotes cycling among the non-cyclists. That’s a great start.
  2. The LovetoRide website looks awesome.
  3. LovetoRide is both international and local. When you sign up, you are connected to your local community of cyclists. But the ultimate goal is a worldwide increase in the number of bicyclists.
  4. LovetoRide seems to truly welcome cyclists of all varieties, and that is sorely lacking in other cycling websites/organizations. (more on that later)

Just take a look at the graphics on the website, and you’ll see an inclusive atmosphere. You’ll notice it’s not just populated with road bikes and mountain bikes but also proudly displays cruisers, urban bikes, kid bikes and more.

albert einstein on a bike

Einstein on a Bike

Advice and Observations from Trailsnet

Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” It’s appropriate to quote Albert Einstein here, because he was a lifelong bicyclist, and he truly got the spirit of cycling. He rode his bicycle for transportation, recreation and inspiration. He was also quoted as saying, “I thought of it while riding my bike.” But does anyone know how fast he rode? How about how many miles or even what type of bike he preferred. He didn’t talk much about those things because they didn’t really matter all that much to him. He appreciated the joy and functionality of bicycling rather than the competition.

The Problem With Bicycle Advocacy Groups

bicyclist on road

Life in the Bike Lane

That heading is a bit negative and misleading. I love and appreciate bicycle advocacy groups and rejoice when new ones come on board. But (and here’s why I quoted Einstein regarding insanity) the problem with groups that want to promote bicycling to newbies is that they are headed by avid bicyclists. So what’s wrong with avid bicyclists you might ask? Well, for starters, they think like avid cyclists. Therefore, all of their techniques for enticing new cyclists are misguided. They can’t see the forest… Let’s try a more appropriate metaphor: They can’t see the scenery for the peloton. The very things that they love about cycling are not appealing to the other 90-some percent of people who don’t bike.

What Can We Do to Encourage People to Try Cycling?

So here it is. The heart of this whole blog-post. What should LovetoRide & the other bicycle advocacy groups do to encourage new bike riders?

  1. Safety – The fact: Over a thousand bicyclist die in America each year. What avid bicyclist think: It’ll never happen to me. What the non-cyclists think: Are they crazy?
  2. Comfort – We all know that autos create pollution, odors, toxic gases, etc. But here’s the irony: Those who drive/ride in the autos are sheltered from the very pollution they create. They ride along in air-conditioned comfort while road-bikers are huffing and puffing on those fumes. Although I haven’t seen exact statistics, I would guess that the slight majority of avid cyclists are road riders. They’re willing to overlook the lack of safety on roads. They’re willing to suffer the odors and risks of sucking in car exhaust. But can you blame newbies for wanting to avoid those discomforts and inconveniences?
  3. Scenery – Both roads & trails can be scenic. But your average non-cyclist would be mystified as to why you’d ride a bike up that steep mountain or into that beautiful valley when you can just as easily view it from the comfort of a car… on a road. (Remember – I’m thinking like a non-cyclist here.) Plus, how can you really focus on the scenery when you’re constantly concerned (as you should be) that you may get squashed by a car at any instant. Once again, avid road-bikers are willing to overlook the downsides of road-riding. Newbies probably aren’t.
  4. Affordability – I have been in many cycling groups over the years, and it never ceases to amaze me what the majority of my fellow bikers spend on their cycles and cycling gear. Once again, that mentality is a complete mystery to non-cyclists. I have often heard non-cyclists, upon hearing what avid bike riders pay for their gear, say, “I could get a car/motorcycle for that kind of money.” For the bike shop owner who likes bicyclists to spend more money on biking equipment, don’t worry. It seems to be a natural progression for new cyclists to look for the cheapest bike possible when they first get started, then gradually keep moving up.
  5. Bike culture – You know what I’m talking about. The spandex, lycra, fancy helmets, snot-rockets, biking terminology, etc. It’s normal for avid bikers. It’s bizarre to non-bikers.
  6. Competition – What is it with bike riders? They love their statistics. How fast, how far, how much, how many… I wonder how many longtime riders remember when they just biked for fun or relaxation or to get from point a (home?) to point b (school?)? Once again, it all seems so strange to non-bikers.


    Limited Ride Types

  7. Variety – We’re all different. But you wouldn’t know it by visiting most of the bike-mapping websites. When you try to enter your bike ride, they often give you two choices: mountain & road  But what if I’m riding a rail-trail or an urban trail or a canal trail or a river trail or a… You get the picture. I’m happy to announce that some of the mapping sites such as Strava are gradually starting to get it and offering categories for ellipticals, electrics, cyclocross, etc. But they still ignore the fact that many people like to ride their bikes on courses other than roads & mountains. And this is especially true of beginning bicyclists. They don’t feel safe or comfortable on either roads or single-track trails.

Here’s How to Promote Bike Riding to Newbies

  1. Encourage diversity – Not everyone wants to ride an expensive, uncomfortable road or mountain bike. So let’s be more supportive and encouraging of cruisers, tandems, recumbents, urban bikes, stand-ups, ellipticals and electric bikes. (My dad was a lifelong cyclist until his mid-80s. Then he started riding his bike less and less. We got him a pedal-assist electric bike and he’s back to pedaling again and loving it.)

    family on bike trail

    Family on Bike Trail

  2. Be more inclusive – Don’t send out subtle or not-so-subtle messages that biking is an elite hobby. It shouldn’t be. New riders shouldn’t be intimidated by expensive bikes, exclusive clothing, confusing lingo or endless statistics. Whatever happened to just hopping on a bike and riding for enjoyment without the fear of cars, customs or bike snobs?
  3. Relax & enjoy the ride – If all the newbies hear and see from bicyclists is racing & competition & prohibitive rides, they’ll remain non-bikers
  4. Trails – You knew this was coming. We need to show new bicyclists that there are safe, clean, beautiful, relaxing and enjoyable alternatives for bikers. I’m not against road biking and I’m an avid mountain biker. But new bicyclists would love to know that there is a vast network of safe, comfortable and scenic trails out there. They can use these trails for exercise, recreation, socialization and fitness. After they’re comfortable on a bike, they may branch out to road biking, mountain biking, maybe even competitive biking. But most non-bikers have no idea how easy it is to ride on a beautiful rail trail, local urban trail, scenic river trail or historic canal trail.
  5. Take a look at your staff – How many of them are lifelong bikers? How many of them truly understand how intimidating it is for non-bikers to get started  or restarted as a biker in the chaotic world of competitive and obsessive bicycling? If the members of your staff look at the information above and roll their eyes or poo-poo it, maybe you need to look for some staff-members who are willing to ride a mile in the novices shoes. And keep in mind, they won’t be biking shoes. They’ll be ordinary sneakers.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2015/12/19/how-to-promote-bicycling-to-non-cyclist/

Dec 13

Benefits of Hiking

15 Benefits of Hiking

hiker in red rocks canyons

Canyon Hiking

If you are finding it difficult to get motivated about exercise and sweating at the gym seems less than appealing, then hiking is your solution! People who hike on a regular basis enjoy better overall health, considerably less stress and are more energetic. Enjoy these 15 benefits of hiking today and reap the rewards!

Benefit One – Improve Your Overall Health and Be Fit!

When you maintain a regular hiking program you’ll not only feel great when you hit the trail but you’ll enjoy optimal fitness. The better your condition, the more you’ll enjoy the hiking experience. Whether you’ve considered dabbling in the world of hiking or if you’re an avid hiker, you can appreciate the health benefits of hiking.

Benefit Two: Decrease Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease!

hiking in Zion Park

Zion Canyons

Recent studies show that walking or hiking for an hour a day can cut a person’s risk of stroke in half. Walking conditions the heart and will help you live longer. Moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, including hiking, is safe for most people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)


Consistent aerobic exercise, including hiking, helps increase your HDL levels, the good cholesterol, and lowers your triglyceride and LDL cholesterol levels; the harmful components. Thus, your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure is reduced. Take a hike to help keep your cardiovascular system healthy!

Benefit Three – Be Happy!

Hikers are happier. A walk through a dramatic landscape not only calms you but improves your spirits and can help

night photograph of southwest mesa

Fishtail Mesa

people with severe depression. Being in the grandeur of nature, free from the pressures of our everyday lives and technology works wonders for stress relief.

For instance, on a late afternoon jaunt at Saguaro National Park in Tucson, one can admire the view. Recent rains freshen the springtime desert and afford crystal clear views of the mountain ranges that surround the area. Saguaro National Park offers just one of many splendid hikes in Tucson, which serves up some of the best hiking in the world!

As you gaze at gigantic cacti, lush green desert and the beautiful sky island mountain ranges in the distance, you will understand what hiking is all about and why it is good for the spirit!

Benefit Four – Prevent Diabetes!

waterfall in Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon Waterfall

Hiking benefits include reducing your risk of diabetes. Hiking works your muscles, which transfers glucose from your bloodstream for energy. But if you already have diabetes, it is crucial that you talk to your doctor first! Your practitioner may need to adjust your diabetes medications.

Benefit Five – Increase Your Energy Level!

Aerobic activities, such as hiking, provide oxygen to your muscles and other body tissues. This extra fuel helps boost your muscles and lungs and increases your alertness, and energy and endurance levels too!

Benefit Six – Lose Weight!

One of the many health benefits of trekking includes weight management. It is one of the best methods to burn calories

lush foliage in Havasu Canyon

Havasu Green on Red

and lose unwanted pounds! By following a consistent and enjoyable hiking program, you will keep your weight under control.

In fact, numerous studies have proved that hiking can burn more than 400 calories per hour. It is best to start slowly and work up your hiking duration to approximately forty five minutes daily at a pace of 2.5 miles an hour.

Benefit Seven – Increase Your Bone Density!

Strong bones are essential to your overall health. Hiking consistently will decrease your chances of developing osteoporosis and arthritis. If you have arthritis, studies have shown that two and a half hours of hiking per week will maintain flexibility in your joints and decrease joint stiffness.

Benefit Eight – Lower Your Cancer Risk!

Like any regular exercise, benefits include lowering your cancer risk. Hiking helps prevent and fight certain cancers such as breast and colon cancer. Your risk of developing lung and other forms of cancer will decrease.


Benefit Nine – Relief from Back Pain!

Sitting in front of a computer too long can cause back pain. People who walk report significant decreases in back pain. Hiking puts much less stress on your body than running or aerobics and helps build core body strength.

Benefit Ten – Get Your Daily Dose of Vitamin D!

Where to get vitamin D? Increase your vitamin D by taking a hike of course! Vitamin D is a critical nutrient needed to keep your muscles and bones strong and to promote overall good health. Although some vitamin D is available in foods, one of the best sources is the sun. So get out there and take a hike for better health!

Benefit Eleven – Hiking is good for your brain!

According to many studies, hiking outdoors is great for the brain. In a recent experiment, a group of middle-aged people were asked to take three forty minute walks a week for a year. At the end of the twelve month period, MRI scans verified that their hippocampus grew an average of 2 percent. Typically, as people age, their hippocampus becomes smaller, leading to memory loss.

Preventing such shrinkage could improve a person’s memory for years! Moreover, there have been many other recent reports regarding how being in the outdoors reaps huge benefits. Other conditions alleviated include stress, depression, anger and aggressiveness. In fact, our mental health in general is significantly improved by being in a natural environment.

An Iraq veteran who suffers from PTSD and severe depression, attested to the many mental health benefits of hiking. “I find the getting away from everything for just a short while, very beneficial but it goes hand and hand with treatment. I am also introduced to the outside in a somewhat controlled environment. The quietness in which to meditate and do a little soul searching for the guy I used to be. “
So what are we waiting for?

Benefit Twelve – Expand Your Mind, Visit New Places!

Hiking is a great excuse for visiting new places, great for creating excitement, avoiding boredom and opening new synopsis’ in the brain. Instead of planning an ordinary vacation, take a hike! Adventure trips can encompass snow-capped mountains, spectacular canyons, fascinating deserts and verdant forests.

From the forests of the Smoky Mountains, the grandeur of Rocky Mountain National Park to the spectacular Grand Canyon, there is something for everyone in our wilderness lands. Our national parks and wilderness areas offer thousands of trails across millions of acres of public land. Striking vistas will delight nature lovers.

Benefit Thirteen – Tones Your Muscles!

Since hiking can include steep inclines, it is perfect for challenging your body and for toning your muscles. With brisk movements and a steady pace, you can get a full body workout. Remember to stretch before and after a vigorous hike, so that your hamstrings, glutes and quads are toned. The vigorous stretching of yoga can be very beneficial for hikers.

Benefit Fourteen – Hiking Slows Aging!

Hiking is not only fun, it helps slow the aging process. In addition to bringing clarity to the mind and vibrancy to the soul, hiking will help reduce your mortality risk.

Research indicates that what was once accepted as a foregone conclusion that aging will lessen your physical and mental capabilities is not true. An article in the American Journal of Public Heath conducted a study regarding mortality risk and moderate exercise such as hiking. They tested two groups of middle aged men, one active and one sedentary, during a twenty three year time period. Their conclusion, the inactive group lost forty one percent of their aerobic ability while the exercisers lost only thirteen percent.

The take away here is that aging doesn’t dimish our ability to be healthy and active. But leading a sedentary lifestyle will. Yet another excuse to hit the trails!

Benefit Fifteen- Develop Healthy Lifetime Habits!

Another compelling reason to hike is a much improved quality of life. Each time you hike, breathe the outside air, exert and challenge yourself but stay within your capabilities, you will come away feeling better than you did. Your body and mind will feel healthier and your stress level will drop off. Because of this great feeling, you’ll want to hike again. The sport may even become addictive!

As you notice improvements in your mind and body, you may adopt other healthy habits such as eating healthy foods or practicing meditation.

Wrapping it All Up

We have proved that hiking is one of the best forms of exercise and spiritual renewal. We’ve also shown how a steady hiking program will not only get you in awesome shape but it can provide many ways to stay healthy and avoid illness. The physical health benefits of hiking are enormous!

So get started on your hiking plan today and kick start your journey to longevity!

Here’s to your health.
Happy Trails!

Thanks to Mitch, from Southwest Discoveries, for this excellent Trailsnet guest post.

Read more: http://southwestdiscoveries.com/benefits-of-hiking-15-tips-jump-start-path-longevity-today/#ixzz3rZwt1d5R

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2015/12/13/benefits-of-hiking/

Dec 06

Add a Trail & Get Beetlebag Discount

Beetlebag Offers Discount for Trailsnet Subscribers & Contributors


Beetlebag Daypack

From now until Christmas, Beetlebag bike bags is offering a 10% discount to Trailsnet subscribers (old & new) who add a new trail to Trailsnet.com. It’s really quite simple. All you have to do is share information about your favorite trail, and you get a great discount on our favorite bike bags. If you’re not familiar with these fabulous and convenient bicycle bags/daypacks, have a look at the Beetlebag product review on Trailsnet. Beetlebag is an ingenious combination of bike bag and daypack in one handy product.

How to Get Your Beetlebag Discount

It couldn’t be easier. To get your 10% Beetlebag discount, all you have to do is:

image of bike bag holiday gift

Beetlebag bike bag

  1. Visit the add-a-trail page on Trailsnet to add your favorite hiking trail, snowshoe trail, bike trail…
  2. Share your information about the trail.
  3. Once your trail has been submitted & approved (usually w/in 24 hours – often w/in four hours) you will receive a special code for receiving your 10% Beetlebag discount.
  4. Visit the Beetlebag website and pick your favorite Beetlebag color.
  5. Order your Beetlebag using the Trailsnet special code and you will get a great product for a fantastic price.

Beetlebag Makes a Great Gift for Bike Riders & Trail Enthusiasts

Christmas gift for bicyclist

gift for bike enthusiasts

If you have a bicycle enthusiast on your holiday gift-giving list, they’ll love the ease and convenience of the Beetlebag bicycle bag and daypack. Since Beetlebag is a relatively new product, it’s a pretty good chance that they won’t already have one but an even better chance that they’ll be surprised, delighted and grateful to receive such a thoughtful, unique and useful gift. If you want to make it an even more special gift, here’s a gift-giving suggestion. Fill the Beetlebag  with fun bike-related gifts such as trail snacks, bike repair tools & maybe even a gift card to their favorite bike shop. You’ll turn an amazing gift into a bicycle gift basket. Add a bow and it will be their favorite holiday gift of the year.


Free Shipping on Beetlebag Bike Bags Through December

But wait… There’s more. For a limited time, there’s free shipping on Beetlebags. So enter your favorite trail on Trailsnet, get a 10% discount AND get free shipping. You’ll love the bike bag; you’ll love the daypack, you’ll love the discount and you’ll love the free shipping. And your friends and family will love getting such a thoughtful gift for the holidays.


Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2015/12/06/add-a-trail-get-beetlebag-discount/

Nov 10

Beetlebag Trail Product Review

bike bag


Bike Bag & Day Pack In One

How many times have you gone on a bike ride and wanted to go on a side hike? Where do you put your water, snacks & other stuff? Beetlebag has solved your problem. They have created an ingenious bike bag that doubles as a daypack. So you can use it to store your normal bicycle paraphernalia while riding, then carry it with you for side trips. It’s great for packing trail essentials, but it’s also nice for safety and security. With a normal bike bag, you risk getting your stuff ripped off if you leave it on your bike. But with the Beetlebag, despite sage wisdom to the contrary, you CAN take it with you when you go. (Note to Beetlebag marketers: That would make a great tagline.)  (-:

Attaching Beetlebag to Your Bike


Bike Bag

The Beetlebag attaches easily to your bike using their three secure mechanisms:

  1. Drape the Beetlebag over the crossbar of your bicycle.
  2. Snap the rear strap to hold the rear portion of the Beetlebag.
  3. Snap the front strap to hold the front portion of the Beetlebag.
  4. Loop the velcro straps around your front handlebar mount to hold the Beetlebag securely in place.

Now you’re ready to hit the trail on your way to the store, the beach, the mountains or wherever your legs want to pedal you.



Using the Beetlebag as a Daypack

To convert the Beetlebag from a bike bag to a daypack is simple. Just reverse the steps listed above to remove the Beetlebag from your bike. It only takes a couple seconds. Next, unzip the two zippers on the bottom side of the bag. This allows you to pull out the shoulder straps. Now put your arms through these straps so that the Beetlebag rests on your back. Adjust the straps to suit your needs and comfort level. And that’s it. You now have a daypack for your next adventure, and you have no worries about leaving valuables behind on your bike. Be sure to lock your bike to something secure. (With the bike lock you had stored in your Beetlebag of course.)

Suggestions for Using Beetlebag on the Trail

Beetlebag makes a great addition to your biking gear and can be used in nearly all trail conditions. It would be ideal for rail trails, urban trails and mild-to-moderate mountain biking trails. It may not be perfect for extremely rigorous mountain biking conditions, but I haven’t tested out that theory yet. As far as what types of bikes, the Beetlebag should be fine for road bikes, trail bikes, mountain bikes, cruisers, hybrids and electric bikes. One of my favorite features of the Beetlebag is the bottle-holder in the middle of the pack (on top when mounted on a bicycle cross-bar) for easy access to your water supply. Beetlebag comes in four different colors and is easy to use and to mount on your bike. Visit the Beetlebag website if you’re interested in purchasing a Beetlebag of your very own.


Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2015/11/10/beetlebag-trail-product-review/

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