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May 2011 - RTC TrailBlog

  • Philadelphia Duo Preps for Climate Ride


    Do you remember the Pedal Pushers, Steph Rio and Sara Lanious? The two Philadelphia friends have been preparing for the fast-approaching Climate Ride--a five-day, 300-mile bicycle trek from New York City to Washington, D.C., on May 13 to 17.

    When Rio and Lanious signed up to ride, they selected Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) as the beneficiary of their fundraising efforts. They had never attempted such a long ride before, and we asked for periodic updates about their training and progress.

    Now, Climate Ride is almost here, and the Pedal Pushers are gearing up for the final push!

    From the Pedal Pushers:

    We are just about one week away from our ride and so excited to get started! Both of us have been upping the mileage on our weekend rides and preparing with gear like padded shorts, which have been a real life saver. Yesterday, Sara participated in the Five Boro Bike Tour in New York City as part of her training, and she has a killer farmer's tan to prove it! 

    Each weekend, you can find both of us doing diligent loops from the city to East Falls and back on West River Drive when it closes to car traffic on the weekends. We are still fundraising to reach our goal of $2,400 each to donate to this great organization! Right now, we have $3,265 and need all the help from supporters like you to reach our goal and donate to Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. We are trying to reach our target by the time the ride kicks off on May 13, so please consider supporting us in our efforts to raise awareness about this organization and donate today!

    Ride On!

    Steph and Sara
    tinyurl.com/pedalpushers2011

    Photos (left to right): Sara Lanious stretching before a ride; Steph Rio on the Schuylkill River Trail in Philadelphia. Courtesy of the Pedal Pushers. 

  • The Blade Trail

    A few weeks ago, we received an e-mail from Sue Thomas of Daytona Beach, Fla. She and her family have sliced across the Southeast on inline skates, sometimes covering as much as 26 miles in a day (they've even used rail-trail mileage to satisfy part of their kids' physical education requirements!). The family's favorite rail-trail is the Silver Comet Trail outside of Atlanta, Ga., and they love exploring new pathways all the time.

    Thomas says these outings have made such an impression on their children that they regularly use rail-trail experiences as a catalyst for essays and poems at school. In fact, Thomas' youngest daughter, 9-year-old Augusta, recently wrote a poem and wanted to share it with the trail community. We were happy to oblige!


    "The Blade Trail"
    by Augusta P. Thomas 

    Through mountains, across rivers,

    My blades are a-flying

    Bike, walk, who would care,

    As I, Augusta, fly through the air?

    Black ice is a pleasure, sand is a scare,

    Worlds retreat to nothing but air!

    Double Push, Double Push, how I love thee,

    As you make me fly like I'm on a flying spree!

    A world with two borders, one on each side,

    Ground and sky meet, and the world seems to fly!

    Crying out loud, "Oh the blue sky will fly!"

    I roll through the woods, allies at my side.


    Photo: Augusta, at left, and her older sisters (her "allies") on the Silver Comet Trail, courtesy of Sue Thomas. 

  • New Orleans Embraces Lafitte Corridor

    The partnership between Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) and Friends of the Lafitte Corridor (FOLC) in New Orleans bore some wonderful fruit earlier this month, with almost 400 people taking part in the annual Hike the Lafitte Corridor.

    Check out a photo slideshow of the event, courtesy of RTC and FOLC.

    The record number of participants notably included 300 first-timers, illustrating the great success RTC and FOLC have had engaging the broader community as “cheerleaders” and educators for the Lafitte Corridor, a 3.1-mile section of unused rail corridor and portage canal that supporters are planning to develop into a greenway and linear park. 

    Organizers were excited to see U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La., and New Orleans City Council members Arnie Fielkow and Susan Guidry join the celebration on the corridor, demonstrating increased political support to move trail development forward. 

    “It was energizing to see hundreds of people walking along the corridor,” says Kelly Pack, manager of trail development for RTC. Pack, along with fellow RTC staffers Stephen Miller and Lindsay Martin, have been working closely with FOLC during the past few years to bring designs for the Lafitte Corridor to life. “The hike provided a wonderful opportunity for community members to learn more about the corridor and to envision how they will use the greenway once it’s built," says Pack. "We were thrilled to be a part of this event.”

    According to FOLC, the city of New Orleans has signed the contract with a local design firm and has issued a “notice to proceed” with trail- and recreation-orientated development of the Lafitte Corridor.

    “In other words, this is very real,” FOLC writes. Stay tuned.

  • On the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail, Everyone Rides

    Merle FerberEach summer in Cheshire, Mass., the community hosts a unique triathlon to help raise money for equipment to help athletes with physical disabilities stay active. The annual event, known as Farnum's Challenge, features Run-Oar-Roll teams that include at least one contestant with a physical disability, and part of the race takes place on the 11-mile Ashuwillticook Rail Trail. The first leg is a 2.6-mile run down to the trail, then a five-mile bicycle dash before handing off to a canoe team in Cheshire Reservoir for a 2.4-mile paddle.

    Now, using $10,000 raised from the annual triathlons, a partnership of local organizations and agencies is introducing a collaborative project to encourage healthy lifestyles and activity for athletes with disabilities. The new program, "Everyone Rides," is designed to outfit disabled users, for free, with adaptive cycling equipment to enjoy the rail-trail and surrounding areas.

    Partners in this innovative program include the Berkshire Bike Path Council, a nonprofit working to develop a 75-mile multi-use pathway from Vermont to Connecticut (the route includes the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail). Also, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation has constructed a shed to house more than 30 pieces of adaptive equipment right along the trail. And United Cerebral Palsy of Berkshire County is providing a physical therapist to fit the equipment to each user's personal needs and coordinate requests to use the bikes. 

    "This collaboration will make it possible for us to ride alongside our friends at our convenience," says Merle Ferber of the Berkshire Bike Path Council. "Now the bike path is truly accessible."

    If you live in the area and want to check out the Everyone Rides program and trail yourself, stop by Farnum's Crossing in Cheshire at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 14, for the grand opening celebration.

    AdLib, Inc., a local nonprofit Independent Living Center, originally organized and sponsored the Farnum's Challenge triathlon for several years. although AdLib will no longer be the lead agency for the triathlon, United Cerebral Palsy and the Berkshire Bike Path Council have partnered to continue the race to raise money for new equipment and maintenance for Everyone Rides. This year, it will take place on July 24. 

    To learn more about the Everyone Rides opening celebration contact Dawn Matthews at 413.442.1562 (ext. 24) or e-mail dmatthews@ucpberkshire.org.

    Photos courtesy of the Berkshire Bike Path Council.

 

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