Category: Bike travel

Rail-to-trail bike travel provides economic stimulus

Bike travelers on the Great Allegheny Passage pump about $40 million a year into the local economies and $7.5 million into wages along the 132-mile rail-to-trail from Cumberland, Maryland, to the outskirts of Pittsburgh.

Those are the not-so-surprising findings of the Great Allegheny Passage Economic Impact Study conducted in 2008 and 2009.

The report once again proves the “build-it-and-they-will-come” relationship between trails, bicyclists, and profitability to businesses in the vicinity, especially those that cater to bike travel.

Some of the major findings of the study:

— The $40 million was more than five times the impact of $7.26 million in 2001, when the Passage links had not yet been connected;

— On average, businesses attributed 25% of their sales to trail users …..

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Adventure Cycling names “Bicycle travel award winners”

Bikers' cabin, Virginia
circa 1984

Here are the latest and final election results. Trust me. There will be no charges of mudslinging or requests for recounts.

I'm talking about the results from the Bicycle Travel Award contest hosted by Adventure Cycling Association, the nonprofit that has developed 38,000 miles of bike routes criss-crossing the US.

The folks named below were nominated by some of you. The individuals were chosen for making the on-the-road lives of bike travelers easier and their work in furthering the enjoyment of bicycle touring.

The June Curry Trail Angel Award goes to Bill and Nancy Nix of Knox, North Dakota …

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Visit Ride Oregon website to plan bike vacation

If you're planning a bike vacation to Oregon, you'll certainly want to include a stop at the Oregon Tourism Commission's Ride Oregon website.

I just stumbled across this resource recently and was amazed at the amount of bicycling information that's packed into the website.

There are some pretty pictures displayed on this big budget website, but there is also lots of solid, up-to-date information about bike travel in the state.

That's no wonder, when you see the steering committee and the contributors, which includes Jonathan Maus of, Scott Bricker at Bicycle Transportation Alliance and the staff at Cycle Oregon …

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Bike tour maps published for northwest's Selkirk loop

A scenic auto tour through Washington, Idaho and British Columbia is seeing new life as a 280-mile bicycle touring route.

The International Selkirk Loop links the small towns and recreation spots at the foot of the Selkirk Mountains. Because the route follows river and lake valleys, the grades are gentle to moderate with only a few steep climbs.

The newly published “A Cyclist's Guide to the International Selkirk Loop” includes 52 route and elevation maps divided into 50 to 70-mile sections. In addition to the 280-mile main loop, the bike tour maps include six side trips encompassing another 450 miles of riding …

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Bike access proposals at two National Parks

The National Park Service is proposing regulation changes to allow bicyclists to use pathways at the Big Bend National Park in Texas and the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

The National Parks Traveler blog says that the Big Bend proposal is controversial, while the Grand Teton regulations aren't.

What's stirring up the hornet's nest at Big Bend is a proposal to build a 5-mile long paved path for pedestrians and bicyclists. The loop would start near the Panther Junction visitor center and the desert while affording scenic views of nearby mountains.

The Traveler blogger says some are questioning whether hikers would find it safe to use the trail with the faster-paced cyclists. Others are asking why a trail is needed for bicyclists ….

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Photo contests: Adventure Cycling and Alliance for Biking &Walking

The Adventure Cycling Association is looking for photos that “capture the beauty and wonder” of bike travel for its 1st Annual Bicycle Travel Photo Contest.

The non-profit's blog also says:

“We are especially interested in images that showcase the wide range of bike touring experiences: road and dirt riding, rural and urban settings, scenery, people and their emotions.”

The winning image will be printed in the March 2010 issue of Adventure Cycling magazine and be featured on the Adventure Cycling website ….

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Bike travel and our national park system

The latest Ken Burns documentary, “The National Parks: America's Best Idea,” began airing on PBS on Sunday. It got me thinking about how the parks are wonderful destinations for bike touring.

The traffic at some of the most popular ones can be daunting; Yellowstone National Park warns about narrow roads and non-existent shoulders.

But in spite of cars and campers, bicycling up to the rim of the Grand Canyon, left, is an experience I'll never forget.

Here are links to some stories I've written over the years about bicycling in the national parks. There are stories about the best parks for bicycling, spring cycling in high-elevation parks, and a new bike route map from Adventure Cycling Association that will visit a half-dozen national parks in the Pacific Crest.

“10 best national parks for bicycling” — August 3, 2009:

National parks might seem like natural destinations for family car trips or RV excursions, but they also have many factors that make them ideal for bicycle travel. ..

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Great Allegheny Passage loses “ambassador” Maynard Sembower

It has been a sad few days along the Great Allegheny Passage bike trail between Cumberland and Pittsburgh.

Maynard Sembower, the man known locally as the “trail ambassador extraordinaire” and “number one volunteer”, passed away last Wednesday at age 100.

Those who have bicycled the GAP might remember him as the man who staffed the visitor's center at the Rockwood trailhead in the summer. He'd dispense information about lodging, camping and other services in high country of the bike trail, as well as share the local lore.

He became so well known along the Somerset County section of the bike trail that the office was renamed the Sembower Visitor Center …..

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Old jail reopened as bike hostel in Farmington, Missouri

Cross-country bike travelers who are tired enough to sleep in a hollow log at night probably won't mind the fact that the new bike hostel in Farmington, Missouri, is a refurbished county jail.

The Transamerican Trail Cyclers Inn opened its doors Tuesday night, just in time for the start of Stage 3 of the Tour of Missouri on Wednesday.

The hostel is also known as “Al's Place,” named in recognition of  local bicycling enthusiast Al Dziewa who died of cancer. The hostel sports 14 bunk beds in three bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen and laundry room. ….

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Teen finishes second cross-country bike tour; raises money for diabetes research

Rebecca O'Donnell completed her second cross-country bike trip this past weekend, logging 4,400 miles from San Francisco to Southwest Harbor, Maine, with her parents and brother.

She did her first Trans-America bike tour as a 3-year-old sitting in a trailer pulled by her mom or dad.

This time she did it as a 16-year-old with Type I diabetes, a serious condition that requires constant monitoring and regular injections through a catheter attached to an insulin pump.

I'm frequently amazed by the apparent difficulties that some people can overcome to enjoy bicycle travel. In this case, Rebecca had the support of her parents, Deb and Mike, and younger brother, James. At age 12, the cross-country bike tour was no small feat for her brother, either.

The bike tour, dubbed “Rebecca's Ride,” raised nearly $9,000 for diabetes research …..

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