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May 2011 - RTC TrailBlog

  • Get the Conversation Started: RTC's Urban Pathways Initiative Summit

    Next week, more than 100 advocates of urban pathways, greenways and trails from cities across the nation--representing the nonprofit, private and public sectors--will meet in Cleveland for RTC's second Urban Pathways Initiative Summit. We'll be discussing the common issues we face in our efforts to encourage more physical activity on shared-use paths in urban areas, especially in low-income communities and communities of color.

    Registration has closed, but even if you aren't making it to Cleveland, be sure to sign up for e-mail updates from our Urban Pathways Initiative. After the summit is finished, you'll be able to watch video and listen in on some of the discussions.

    But don't wait until after the summit! If you're attending--or even if you're not--introduce yourself in the comments, and let's get this conversation started. What's the biggest challenge you face? The biggest success? What specific issues do you want to discuss with your colleagues during the summit?

    Photo: Area youth pedal to the Morgana Run Trail during the Slavic Village Bike-a-Thon. Photo courtesy of Slavic Village Development.

  • Tornado Levels Trestle on Virginia Creeper Trail

    In the violent storm system that tore through the Southeast a few weeks ago, one of the many tornadoes it spawned completely destroyed a trestle on the 34-mile Virginia Creeper National Recreation Trail.

    The rail-trail runs from Abingdon to Whitetop in the far southwest corner of Virginia. It passes through rolling foothills and farm country and provides a huge economic boost to communities along its route. Local outfitters offer shuttle service for visitors who want to pedal the trail in one direction (and with a slight downhill grade), and community businesses, including bed-and-breakfasts and restaurants, advertise the Virginia Creeper as a valuable recreation option. 

    Hitting at the end of April, the tornado scattered trestle # 7, located about six miles from the Abingdon trailhead, like a pile of matchsticks. John Mongle, who lives next to the trail, took a few photos of the damage in the days after the storm. Mongle says he spoke with Kevin Worley, director of parks and recreation for Abingdon, and Town Manager Greg Kelly about plans to rebuild the structure. The trestle is insured, and planners are meeting with property owners along the damaged section--between mile posts 6 and 7--to create an alternate route so they can re-open the segment as quickly as possible. The town of Abingdon oversees this section, and managers ask that trail users reaching this break respect private property owners and not trespass on adjacent land. 

    If you are planning a trip to the Virginia Creeper, contact the town of Abingdon parks and recreation department at 276.623.5279 for up-to-date information on repairs and when this trail section will be open to users again.

    Photos by John Mongle.

  • Rep. Mica Follows AAA's Lead, Proposes to Eliminate Funding for Active Transportation

    With gas prices over $4 per gallon, the chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives is proposing to eliminate the most cost-effective federal program to provide Americans alternatives to driving. According to a story in the Orlando Sentinel, Rep. John Mica (Fla.) wants to give state highway departments the authority to eliminate federal investment in trails, biking and walking so they can spend every dime of surface transportation funding on roads.

    This is the second salvo in a growing attack on active transportation. The first came last fall when AAA proposed to eliminate all federal support for active transportation from the federal transportation trust fund. In response, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy launched a national campaign that delivered more than 50,000 signatures to AAA national headquarters in Florida in December. And 33,000 of those signatures were AAA members!

    At a time of soaring gas prices and shrinking budgets, it’s simple common sense that we focus investment in transportation options that produce the biggest bang for the buck. For example, in December we held a press conference on a 14-mile trail--funded with federal transportation dollars--that ran right along the front yard of AAA headquarters in Florida. Parallel to the trail was a four-lane road. I asked our staff to compare the costs to build that trail and that road. What we found surprised even me. For the cost of that entire 14-mile trail, you could only build 250 yards of new four-lane road.

    So if federal funding is tight and gas prices are escalating, what would you rather have? A 14 mile trail that connects communities and provides a cost-effective corridor for commuting and recreation? Or 250 yards of new road that connects absolutely nothing and doesn’t help you avoid high gas prices?

    It’s time to get smarter about how we build our transportation infrastructure and move away from an outdated approach to transportation investment that can be best characterized as, "Drive, Baby, Drive!"

    With the continued support of our members and supporters, I assure you that Rails-to-Trails Conservancy will continue to lead the fight to protect funding that has permitted us to work with our local partners to build 20,000 miles of trail during the last 25 years. 

    Please stay tuned.

    PS – Click on the Orlando Sentinel story to vote "NO" on the poll on the left side of the page and leave a comment to show your support for trails, biking and walking.

  • 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. 

  • 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. 

  • DC Prep Brightens up the Met Branch Trail

    The opening of the Met Branch Trail in Washington, D.C., last year provided a great resource for commuters and nearby communities. One year later, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) is working to help those who live, work and play near the trail make the most of this multi-faceted facility.

    On Friday, RTC staff members Kelly Pack, Stephen Miller and Lindsay Martin joined local artist Quest Skinner, fitness trainer Chikaro Martin and a group of D.C. Prep School 2nd and 3rd graders for a special work party on a section of the trail in Edgewood.

    Between their school building and the trail, the students already tend a vegetable and flower garden. Drawing inspiration from that garden on Friday, the students painted a mural with the bright and bold colors of tomatoes, grapes, apples and vines.

    Out on the adjacent trail, Martin gave the youngsters an energizing workout, with relay races and agility exercises, demonstrating how the trail is a great place for recreation and an asset for keeping our communities fit and healthy.

    The event was part of a growing partnership between RTC and DC Prep, whose staff and students use the trail regularly. Click on the photo at right for more pictures of all the fun!

    Photos by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

  • New Rail-Trail in Delaware a Key to Transportation Future

    In a speech to mark National Bike to Work Day on May 2, Cleon Cauley, Sr., the acting secretary of the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT), said cycling and trails were vital to the future of mobility. 

    Cauley's words were music to the ears of cycling and sustainable transportation advocates in Delaware, many of whom attended the Bike to Work Day launch at the University of Delaware's Newark Campus. The event was organized by the Newark Bicycle Committee, a partnership of cyclists and agencies working to improve options for bicycling in one of the state's most populous cities.

    "DelDOT is committed to continuing our efforts to make Delaware more bicycle friendly," Cauley said. "In the coming years, our transportation needs will change. As fuel prices continue to rise, more people will park their cars. They will walk, ride their bikes or ride a bus. We have already seen dramatic increases in the past two years. To ignore this trend is to do a great disservice to the people of Delaware."

    Delaware, like many American states, is struggling to provide adequate, safe bike lanes and facilities for the burgeoning fleet of residents who choose cycling as a regular form of transportation. According to Cauley, there were 158 car/bicycle accidents in Delaware in 2010, 96 percent of which resulted in injury. More than a fifth of those accidents involved children younger than 15.

    "Like most of you, I find those numbers unacceptable," Cauley said. "We must provide better facilities for bikes, and we must have fewer people getting killed."

    Part of Newark's plan to accommodate more walking and biking now includes a proposed rail-trail traversing the city from north to south. The Pomeroy Trail, a multi-use asphalt trail along the inactive Pomeroy Rail Line (out of use since 1939), is expected to open later this year, connecting White Clay Creek State Park and the existing James F. Hall Trail north of the city with residential areas and a transit hub to the south.

    The Pomeroy Trail will be well-lit along its two-mile length and will feature three informational kiosks dedicated to aspects of the line's history.

    "This is a very exciting week for us," said Newark Mayor Vance Funk. "For four years, we've been working on the Pomeroy Trail. The trail came about because Senator Thomas Carper gave us more than $5 million to build it. Finally this week, we're sending out the bid package. Hopefully, we will award the contract in late June, and we will finally see it built."

    The state of Delaware has been praised in recent years for its concerted efforts to promote cycling and non-motorized transportation in urban areas. Cauley said much of this momentum was a direct result of political leadership.

    "Many of the recent changes have come directly from Governor Jack Markell, who has made it very clear that Delaware must become more bike friendly," Cauley said. "He made this challenge to us not because he is a cyclist himself, but because he can see what we must do to prepare for the future."

    A few weeks ago, in fact, both the Delaware House and Senate voted unanimously to direct the DelDOT to "create contiguous systems or networks of walkways and bikeways within and between cities and towns in Delaware in order to provide travelers with the opportunity for safe, convenient, cost-effective and healthy transportation via walking and bicycling."

    For more information about other rail-trails in Delaware, visit RTC's free online trail-finder website, www.TrailLink.com

    Photos (top to bottom): James F. Hall Trail, which will connect to the Pomeroy Trail; Pomeroy Trail Bridge in White Clay Creek State Park, by Heather Dunigan. 

  • In Ohio, RTC Promotes Cycle Safety for Kids


    This May, Eric Oberg, manager of trail development for Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's (RTC) Midwest Regional Office, ran a bicycle safety station at Bremen Elementary School in Fairfield County, Ohio. Though much of his time is spent working with land managers and planners in council offices and boardrooms, poring over maps and technical documents, Oberg loves getting to work closely with rail-trail users. At Bremen Elementary, he was able to roll up his sleeves for bike maintenance courses, and to offer students advice on how to stay safe while zipping around on two wheels.

    "Bremen is only a small village, so often the children here ride on the street," says Oberg. "That being the case, it is especially important they know the correct hand signals and are conscious of rider safety."

    Joining Oberg at the school were local partners Lancaster Bicycle and the Fairfield Heritage Trail Association. The event also continued a great relationship between RTC and Bremen Elementary, where Oberg is a member of the school's Be Safe Committee, formed to promote health and safety in and around the school, including the development of safe routes to school and the recent establishment of a community garden.

    "At RTC, we are very much about creating safe places for children and families to walk and ride," say Oberg. "And this is a part of the job I really love. So much of what we do is behind the scenes, planning and building trails, working with cities and planners. This is about putting a face to RTC, working hands-on to promote our work and our goals."

    For Oberg, school safety has been a particular focus recently. A few weeks ago, he attended a workshop in Cleveland, Ohio, on "walking school buses." Hosted by RTC partner PedNet of Columbia, Mo., the workshop examined the positive impact walking to school can have on child health, and the importance of providing safe and enjoyable means to do so.

    For more information about the event, contact RTC's Midwest Regional Office at 614.837.6782. 

    Photos (top to bottom): Dan Peters, owner of Lancaster Bicycle, talking to a class, with Oberg in the background; and Peters fitting a helmet on a student, by Jennifer McMahon of Jennifer's Studio in Rushville, Ohio.

  • Compton Rolls out for First-Ever BikeFest

    Last Saturday, May 21, 120 Compton, Calif., residents rolled out for the first-ever Compton BikeFest. In celebration of Bike Month this May, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) joined forces with the city of Compton Parks and Recreation Department and Hub City Teens to teach local riders about bike safety and the best ways to get around on two wheels in Compton.

    Participants visited several stations featuring demonstrations on bike maintenance, how to ride safely on roads, footpaths and bike lanes, and even took slalom runs through a mini course set up in Gonzales Park just for the occasion. The majority of  participants did not come with bikes, so they borrowed a friend's or took turns on donated bikes to spin through the course.

    A few lucky locals who didn't have a set of wheels rode away with a brand-new bike of their own, thanks to RTC and our partners Kaiser Permanente and the LA County Sheriff's Department, with seven new bikes offered as raffle prizes at the end of the day.

    For those bikes that needed a touch-up here and there, Watts Cyclery mechanics and Cyclists Inciting Change Thru Live Exchange (CICLE) helped out with some running repairs, teaching kids how to take care of their own bikes with some simple maintenance tips.

    For more photos from Compton BikeFest, visit hubcityteens.com.

    Photo of BikeFest by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

  • 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.

  • Art or Graffiti? Richmond Greenway Controversy Highlights Important Issue

    By Ruby Brunk

    The city of Richmond, Calif., recently found itself in the center of an ongoing debate around the definition and role of public art after the city painted over a commissioned mural along the Richmond Greenway this October. Painted on a private building with the property owner's permission, the mural took two weeks and $1,000 for students from nearby Gompers High School to create.

    Teacher Gretchen Borg says she asked the city for a permit but was told that she only needed the building owner’s permission, which she had acquired. While the resulting mural didn’t contain any obscene words or pictures, some community members saw it as offensive, in part because of the graffiti-like style of the words and pictures. Officials received some complaints, declared the mural graffiti and asked Borg and the property owner to remove it. Borg’s students attempted to mitigate the graffiti style by painting over their signatures, which resembled often-illegal “tagging,” but the Richmond Graffiti Abatement Team showed up shortly after and painted over the mural. 

    The students who painted the mural were also planting trees and building a garden along a nearby portion of the Richmond Greenway. Funded through a partnership between youth investment program Opportunity West, the city of Richmond Recreation Department and Friends of the Richmond Greenway, the greenway projects were designed to improve the rail-trail while drawing youth out to play and exercise on it. Programs that encourage youth creativity and stewardship through commissioned graffiti art exist across the county and often coincide with a decrease in the occurrence of unauthorized graffiti. Nearby Livermore’s utility box painting program is a great example of how publicly generated art can successfully deter unauthorized graffiti and vandalism. 

    After the mural was painted over, Gompers students attended a city council meeting where they voiced concern over the city's decision to remove the mural without their consent. City officials apologized and admitted multi-agency miscommunication. Richmond’s ambiguous graffiti laws were also cited as a factor, since “unauthorized public marking” is illegal, yet there’s no process for gaining authorization or permits. The city has since authorized re-painting of the mural and agreed to cover the cost of materials. Richmond has also passed a temporary moratorium preventing the removal of murals when created on private property with the owner's permission. This city is also developing a new law that may require potential murals to undergo city review and a public hearing before obtaining a permit.

    Getting everyone on the same page about permitted uses is essential in preventing mistakes like this miscommunication in Richmond. And a public review of potential murals could encourage community engagement in the public art process. However, art is also a matter of taste. Because communities are made up of varying identity groups and populations, no single piece will be appropriate, engaging and relevant to everyone. The students from Gompers High School created a mural that was significant to their experience. In the process they spent time on the Richmond Greenway and became trail stewards. Although the style of their art may not be appreciated by everyone, their dedication to the greenway and their community should be respected both by city officials and other residents.

    Photo: Richmond Greenway, by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

  • Bikes Beat Cars, Train in Commute Race

    Cycling to work has a lot of advantages. It's fun, great for your health and relatively cheap over the long-term. But if you think your mornings are too rushed to make time for such luxuries, think again.

    In an unusual race staged last week in downtown San Jose, Calif., several bicyclists raced against a car and public transit to get to from an apartment building to a downtown office about 10 blocks* away. And guess who won, in part by using the local Guadalupe River Trail? The cyclists! 

    Read more about this great Clean Commute Challenge.

    *This blog post was edited from its original version, which incorrectly listed the distance as 10 miles instead of 10 blocks. 

  • Bike the Peaks!


    The second annual Bay Area Triple Threat bike challenge will be held on Saturday, June 18, 2011. Using only public transportation and their bicycles, riders will ride to the summits of the three major peaks in the Bay Area: Mount Hamilton, Mount Diablo and Mount Tamalpais. All in one day! If not up to the task of three peaks, riders can opt for the Single Summit (Mount Diablo only) or the Double Dip (Mount Diablo and Mount Tamalpais).

    This ride is a celebration of the Bay Area and the vast, interconnected open spaces in the region. The Triple Threat is also helping to promote a more environmentally friendly way of getting out to the region's amazing trails, parks and open spaces. By using public transit and bicycles to access the trails, riders are reducing their impact with less carbon-intensive travel while supporting local public transportation. Transit & Trails helps people find, plan and share outdoor recreation on public transit through a website and mobile version.

    Transit & Trails is a project of the Bay Area Open Space Council, a collaborative of member organizations that work to create trails and protect open space in the San Francisco Bay Area. Learn more and sign up for the challenge today!

    Photo of Mount Hamilton courtesy of the Bay Area Open Space Council.

  • Climate Riders Arrive in D.C.

    On Tuesday afternoon, the rain and storms cleared in time to welcome the 2011 Climate Ride to its finish line on the U.S. Capitol lawn in Washington, D.C. 

    Well-wishers lined the street to cheer the group of more than 150 riders pedal up Constitution Avenue, the final stretch of a 300-mile journey from New York City to raise awareness and funding for organizations working for sustainable energy solutions--including cycling and other alternative transportation choices. Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) has been a partner and beneficiary of Climate Ride since the inaugural event in 2008, and this year 12 riders rode and raised money for Team RTC. We are extremely proud and grateful for their enormous contributions and efforts in completing this ride, and for supporting our work across the country!

    "It was pretty wild," said a tired but happy Steph Rio, one half of the Pedal Pushers duo riding with Team RTC. "When we started, this was more of a personal challenge for me. By the end, I had learned about some of the initiatives, the grassroots organizations and the work in Congress."

    "It's a great time to be able to come here and ride, to push our bodies physically and raise money for a great organization," said fellow Pedal Pusher Sara Lanious, who lives in Philadelphia. "It's exciting--it's surreal right now!"

    Leading Team RTC on the ride was Ken Bryan, Florida state director. It was his first Climate Ride, and on Tuesday RTC President Keith Laughlin joined him and the rest of the Climate Riders for the last 18-mile leg from Silver Spring, Md., to downtown D.C., in part along the Capital Crescent Trail. For Laughlin, who spoke at the final rally, Climate Ride was a great opportunity to stress the important message that trails, walking and cycling have huge potential to help solve a number of pressing social and environmental issues.

    "People in communities across America are tired of high gasoline prices, they're tired of not having any choice but to drive, they're concerned about the obesity epidemic, they're concerned about the impact of their travel on the environment," Laughlin told the riders and their friends and family, against the backdrop of the Capitol building. "All of these things are really leading to a cultural shift... to something new and exciting and different, and the bicycle and walking is at the center of it."

    Author Bill McKibben, founder of the nonprofit 350.org, joined several others speakers--including U.S. Senator Ben Cardin and Congresswoman Donna Edwards of Maryland--at the final rally at the Capitol. 

    "Bicycles are powerful," he said. "They're part of the solution the world over. The bicycle is one of the few things that both rich and poor people can use, that makes as much sense in the global south as it does in the global north."

    But, McKibben said, events like Climate Ride would only achieve so much toward a transportation policy that encourages riding and walking as environmental and public health solutions.

    "We are not going to change things one bike at a time," he said. "If we're going to deal with this climate crisis, and that is what it is, we're also going to have to work politically. Your lobbying is important. And for that lobbying to work, we need a bigger movement."

    Photo: RTC President Keith Laughlin, by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

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