Feb 27

Bicycle Hero, Congressman Earl Blumenauer

Today’s bicycle hero is Representative Earl Blumenauer from Oregon. Rep. Blumenauer is a hero because of his tireless bicycle advocacy. He talks the talk and rides the ride. He is not only a supporter of bicycle use in the United States, he is also a great role model.
According to an article in Parade magazine, he has cycled to work in Washington D.C. for over 12 years. In that time, he has “burned over 300,000 calories and saved $94,000 in car costs, 206 gallons of fuel, and 4800 pounds of carbon dioxide.”
No wonder Portland, OR is consistently voted one of the top bicycling cities in the U.S. If all states had public servants like Mr. Blumenauer, this would be a greater country, a greener country, a healthier country, and most certainly a more bicycle friendly country.
Our helmets are off to you, Congressman Blumenauer. (But only while we’re not riding our bikes.)

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2010/02/27/bicycle-hero-congressman-earl-blumenauer/

Feb 26

Congratulations to Bike-Friendly cities

National Geographic Traveler recently released its 2010 list of Bike Friendly Cities.
Congratulations to Portland (no surprise), New York (real surprise), Chicago (surprise for some people), San Diego, San Francisco, Montreal, Washington D.C. (I couldn’t agree more), and Tucson (sorry, but I have to disagree unless their only criteria for inclusion is road-biking).
I am glad to see a rating system for bike-friendly cities. I love riding bike in urban, suburban, and rural settings. But If I’m going to ride my bike in a city (or anywhere for that matter) I want it to be on a trail. I do not trust drivers. Heck, when I’m driving, I don’t trust bicyclists. Let’s face it; the two modes of transportation don’t mix well. And for bicyclists, it just takes one split-second of misjudgment to end it all.
But I digress. I’m happy for the cities that make biking a pleasure and hope that other metropolises follow in their footsteps. It’s good for our health, economy, society, and life in general.
Unfortunately, of those cities that won the award, the only bike trail on trailsnet is the Washington D.C. trail to Mount Vernon.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2010/02/26/congratulations-to-bike-friendly-cities/

Feb 24

Spokane Centennial Trail in Washington state

I flew to Spokane, WA and met my dad there for a three day bike ride. While there, I rode two trails in Idaho and one in Washington. The two Idaho trails I rode were the Trail of the Coeur d’ Alenes and the Idaho Centennial Trail. I’ll talk more about those later and/or you can look them up on the trailsnet.com website.
The Spokane Centennial Trail was great for the usual three reasons plus one. Of course it was great exercise, lots of fun, and a great way to meet nice people. But it was also nostalgic. As a kid, Spokane was “the big city” to us kids in northwestern Montana. We went there to shop for clothes, visit friends, and, accidentally in most cases, acquire a little bit of city culture.
Upon riding the Spokane Centennial Trail, I encountered some of the memorable places of my childhood. For example, the trail runs right through the Gonzaga Campus. It also goes by Spokane Falls and tangles its way right into the heart of downtown Spokane, home of more than a few childhood haunts. I was especially thrilled to see the old Loofe Carousel in Riverfront Park.
Of course, none of my bike trips would be complete without a great lunch on the trail, so I stopped into the Pita Pit in downtown Spokane (a couple blocks away from the trail) for a pretty danged good lunch.
If you’d like to see more information, pictures, a trail map and facts about the Spokane Centennial Trail, click here.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2010/02/24/spokane-centennial-trail-in-washington-state/

Feb 23

Bike Mount for Video Camera

I just purchased a video camera bike mount from Amazon so I can take vids while on the Chief Ladiga and Silver Comet Trails next month. That way I can post You Tube video clips on the website and possibly even on this blog. If anyone out there has experience video taping their bike trips, give me a shout-out.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2010/02/23/bike-mount-for-video-camera/

Feb 17

Montana

I’m headed for Montana tomorrow. Unfortunately, I won’t be doing any trails. I suppose I could find some good cross-country ski trails about now or even better snowshoeing paths. But this is more of a social than a business/trails trip. Hopefully I’ll get one ski trip in at good ol’ Turner Mountain between Libby and the Yaak.
I might get a bit of nordic skiing in on the old Champion Haul Road behind what’s left of the abandoned J. Neils, St. Regis, Champion lumber mill. If I do, I’ll take some photos and include them on this blog.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2010/02/17/montana/

Feb 15

Northern Rail Trail

One of my favorite trails in New Hampshire is the Northern Rail Trail. It starts in Lebanon, NH and follows the Mascoma River through Grafton County to Danbury at the Merrimack County line. Some of the bridge crossings are absolutely gorgeous.
I was there in early October and the fall foliage was just barely starting to change colors. It gave me just a hint of how spectacular it must be in its full autumn apparel. I have got to make it back to New England during the fall leaf show.
The weather was perfect for biking when I rode the Northern Rail Trail. As a result, there were quite a few trail users inside the town of Lebanon. Keep in mind, when I say “quite a few” it was still far from being crowded. It was mostly families out for a morning stroll.

However, once I got outside of town, the trail population dwindled radically until I pretty much had the path to myself within a couple miles of town.
Besides the pretty bridge crossings, some of the highlights of the trail included verdant greenery (a bit redundant), interesting history, and lovely towns. One of my favorite towns was Enfield. It had New England style and good places to eat. Another nice town was the Canaan town center with a depot and freight house that was reminiscent of the old railroading days along the route of the Northern.
If you decide to ride the Northern Rail Trail sometime, you should be able to find lodging in Lebanon. I saw a number of hotels and bed & breakfasts. Someday, the trail is scheduled to run all the way to Concord. When that happens it would be perfect to spend the night in Lebanon, ride the length of the trail, spend a night in Concord, then head back to Lebanon.
I would recommend this trail anytime from mid-April to mid-October. Of course mid-October would be best for viewing the fall colors along the trail.
Northern Rail Trail information, trail map, & trail photos available at trailsnet.com

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2010/02/15/northern-rail-trail/

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