Category Archives: trails

TRAILS, TRAILS & MORE TRAILS


deer-on-traillove riding my tadpole trike on paved bicycle trails. In the area where I live (Fort Wayne, Indiana) we have an ever increasing number of trails. It seems each quarter (3 month period) the report comes out of more miles of trails added to the growing network. And that is exactly what is planned. I am just glad to see it come to pass.

Every once in a while I find myself looking up some locality and then wonder if they have any paved trails nearby so I start looking this up. Of course, some times I find very little if anything. But then again some times I am rather amazed at what I find. Some places which are even smaller than where I live have quite a lot of trails around.

paved-trail-thru-green-trees

Yes, as I look around the nation I see this same thing happening in many many different localities. It is great! I am so glad to see local govt. leaders and community leaders working to make this happen. And that is what is takes … getting involved to make it happen. I think multi-purpose trails are an extremely wise investment in any community and beyond.  And the proof is there … these trails are a huge asset to any area.

snow-trail

And it is not only happening here in the United States, but in many other nations as well. For those of you who live places where it is not happening I feel your pain. I am sure there are various reasons for this. And I would imagine the number one reason is monetary. Building trails is extremely expensive. Here locally they cost an average of about $750 dollars a linear foot for a 10 foot wide trail. It is difficult enough to come up with the money needed where there is prosperity and the will. And there are always those who fight against it. Most of the time, however, it seems that eventually the trails get built despite those who oppose it. I for one, am happy about that.

Lots of people like having the trails to use, but few are willing to pay for them or help maintain them. That is sad.

snow-covered-trail-closed

Unfortunately for various weather related reasons the trails end up closed some of the time and unavailable to use. That is sad too.

If I were in a position to do so I would love to be able to travel around some and ride on various trails around the nation and perhaps even in other countries. That is not likely to happen though. So I am so thankful that I have local trails to ride on. And as soon as my new knee joints allow it I plan on “hitting the trails” again and try to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

A RIDE THRU KREAGER PARK


Here is a video I filmed a couple of years ago, but didn’t publish it until just recently. It is a slow ride on some of the trails thru one of our local parks as well as a side trip out the far side of it into a subdivision where there is another trail I rode on before heading back to the park. The video was first produced using YouTube’s video editor. It was the first and only time I have used it. It did some strange things to it. You can see the trees, telephone poles, etc. bending and moving around as well as the sky and grass changing appearance. It was weird. The first musical selection on the video came from YouTube. All the rest I added later using my own video editor software. Anyway, this is a slow ride along some of the trails in Kreager Park. Just to give you some perspective, it is approximately two miles distance around the perimeter of the park. I am sure some of you have no interest in watching a video such as this. It is about 32 minutes long. I was simply riding slowly as I filmed the ride. Hopefully some of you will enjoy it and find it relaxing.

Here is a satellite image of the area:

kreager-park-satelite-image

One of our local bike trails is nearby right across the road running alongside of the river. It is the Maumee Pathway.

OH FOR SOME SHADE


high heat thermometer

Sunshine on my shoulders, in my face, on top of my head, on my arms, legs … all over me. That’s okay when it is 30 degrees F., but when it is hot and humid it makes it mighty uncomfortable out there riding as well as dangerous and even deadly. Consequently I can’t go along with the song lyrics of it making me happy.

So I ask ya … which trail would you prefer to be riding on?

sunshine vs shade

There certainly is a world of difference. That shade feels soooooooo good! Actually these pictures are of the same trail (Maumee Pathway near Fort Wayne, Indiana). Fortunately it is mostly shaded. And it is my favorite local trail to ride, especially during the summer months when it is hot. I mostly ride on it just so I can be in the shade and take advantage of the cooler temperatures found there. I would guess that about 6.5 miles of the 8 miles or so I usually ride back and forth on is well shaded and another 1/2 of a mile is somewhat shaded.  And depending upon what time of the day one is riding out there some of the remaining trail is shaded for awhile.

Now I ask ya, doesn’t that look inviting?

shaded trail

and this?

shaded trail 4

Over exposure to the heat is dangerous and deadly. So be careful while out riding when it is quite hot and humid. Be sure to stay well hydrated and avoid being out under direct sunlight anymore than necessary. We need the sun, but be respectful of it as it can do a number on you. Heat can make you feel miserable and even kill you. I am not a medically trained person, but I know that if we start to feel overly hot, flushed and weak we need to stop and find shade to get relief from the heat. We should do something to help cool down our bodies, especially our heads. Pouring water over us or soaking a cloth of some sort to use to wipe ourselves with will help. We should relax and allow ourselves to cool down and recuperate before trying to go on. If we are by ourselves it is most important that we discipline ourselves as we have no one to give us aid should we need it. If we are with others we need to watch out for one another as there may be signs we miss that someone else picks up on. Slowing up and not keeping up the pace may be such a sign as heat can zap our strength.

sweating on trail

The older we get the more we need to be concerned about all of this. Even so a young person can be overcome by heat exposure. A 12 year old boy died from the high heat while hiking on a trail just recently out near Phoenix, Arizona.

We all want to safely …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

Oh, before ending this article I want to mention the use of canopies. They do help in comfort while riding. I certainly have nothing against them and would myself like to have one on my trike. However, I can’t for a couple of different reasons I won’t go into here. What I want to point out is that they only offer immediate shade and usually only partial shade at best as they don’t shade all of the body. And the bigger factor is since it is only local shade and not constant shade over the entire area where we are riding they don’t lower the temperature. It is still hot. I really enjoy riding along a very shaded trail as it feels so much more comfortable than out under the sun. The difference is temperature can be considerable.

handheld umbrella shade

trike rag top 2

WHO’S FOOLING WHO?


Many of us know the popular commercial where we hear the words “It’s not nice to fool mother nature!” Well, I am here to tell you that it works both ways. It is not nice for mother nature to fool us. Of course, sometimes it is a case of “mine eyes deceiveth me”.

sun rays shining down thru tree foliage 3 marked

While riding along a trail I frequently see “something” up ahead which from a distance appears to be another person. As I get closer I discover that it was not another person at all, but rather it was a tree, a bush or a sign of some sort … something other than what it first appeared as from a distance. Often times there was sun shining on it … a matter of the sun managing to find its way down thru the tree foliage and illuminating just a small area in the midst of an otherwise dark shaded area. I also see what appears to be litter along the trail which I am prepared to pick up to properly dispose of it. As I get closer I discover it is only a leaf that the sun is shining on which makes it stand out and take on the appearance of man made material … litter … out there on or alongside of the trail. It is not such a big deal except sometimes I have slowed way down to retrieve it only to find out it was for nothing and I have to expend all the effort to get going again and back up to speed. Another thing that happens frequently is seeing a bright green or yellowish color in an otherwise dark shaded area. I am thinking it is another person wearing one of the safety florescent colored shirts or jackets. But no, it turns out to be sunlight striking some green vegetation and once again fooling me.

sun rays shining down thru tree foliage marked

Yep, I find that mother nature likes to play tricks on me. Oh well, I guess it adds to the riding enjoyment while out there. One thing for sure … I am not going to let it keep me from …

KEEPING ON TRIKIN’

TRAIL PLANNING


paved trail thru green trees

Bike (multi-use) trails are great and have become very popular. They are ever increasing as community leaders and planners recognize their value. Many additional trails are planned for the future, but it is a slow process building them. There are various reasons why it is such a slow process. First of all and most prominent among the reasons is that they are very expensive to build. The cost of a five-foot bicycle lane can range from approximately $5,000 to $535,000 per mile, with an average cost around $130,000. And that is only 5 feet wide. Most trails being built here in the U.S. are anywhere from 8 to 12 feet wide. Our local trails where I live average about $142 per linear foot. That is nearly $750,000 per mile. I have seen various figures … $150,000 per mile for a 10 foot wide trail. Cost per mile differs based on many factors, including right-of-way acquisition, engineering, and other environmental factors. I just asked the person in charge of our local trails what the cost is. Here is her answer:

On the cost per mile, it really varies.  If it’s a locally-funded project, then it’s generally $400,000 – $500,000 per mile.  If it’s federally-funded, then it can be $800,000 – $1,000,000 per mile.  When you have boardwalks, bridges and/or retaining walls, that really increases the cost.  I would say use $500,000 per mile as an estimate, but that is ONLY construction.  You need to add in engineering and right of way.   I’d add $125,000 for engineering and $150,000 for right of way.  This brings the total to $775,000 per mile.  So, you are looking at about $147 or $150 per lineal foot.

So I was very close in what I stated above. I just took a look at the current trail planning for our area and I added up all of what is listed. It totals over 32 miles. We currently have nearly 90 miles of trails I think.

benefits of trails

It is no secret that we are living in uncertain and troubled economic times. This greatly effects trail building as the money just isn’t there as much as it used to be. Quite frankly I am amazed that new trails are being built with all the economic woes that beset us. One of the things which is helping is the fact that some of the trail building is part of a road widening and/or improvement project the state or federal govt. is doing so they are covering the expense involved so that the local government doesn’t have to.

There are factors which add considerable expense and challenge to trail building. Crossing a busy road may require a bridge like pictured here. We have a local trail project which will require something like this, but larger so it will be very challenging. It is also in a much busier area and far more developed than the area in this picture.

bike trail bridge over busy road Wooster, Ohio

And dealing with a marshy wetland area or such may require extensive boardwalks.

wooden boardwalk

Crossing rivers and creeks may require a bridge … again, something that is not inexpensive to build.

unique bridge over river on bike trail

Of course, sometimes there are already existing bridges such as abandoned railroad bridges which can be used and save considerable expense.

railroad bridge used for bike trail

Sometimes a road bridge can be altered and a bike trail included in it. Here is a trail project which involved incorporating the trail into the bridge when it was rebuilt recently. The red line shows the trail. The yellow line is a wide sidewalk which runs along the road for a distance.

St. Joe Ctr. Rd. bridge Rivergreenway Trail marked

In addition to building the trails it costs a lot of money to maintain them. Most trails need to be mowed and the weeds kept under control. Up north snow must be plowed off of them if they are to remain open and usable. Repair to the surface including repaving is required periodically. Trees which fall onto the trails must be removed and any damage caused must be repaired.

nh boardwalk tree damage 2

Some trails flood over making a huge muddy mess of them which has to be cleaned off of them. Here is a section of one of our local trails trail which floods frequently and has about 7  foot of water over it (higher than I can reach).

just add water

Sometimes some pretty serious problems develop involving trails and pose big problems and expense. Trails which run alongside of rivers can experience bank erosion threatening the trail and the safety of trail users. If it can not be stopped and corrected and the trail surface repaired the trail may have to be closed or rerouted if that is possible. Even if it is possible it is not always something there are funds available to accomplish. Here is my trike posing to show the opening in the trail caused by river bank erosion. It is all repaired now and repaved.

Maumee Pathway river bank erosion problem my trike front wheel down in opening

It doesn’t help any when so many trail users litter throwing their trash all over the place instead of carrying it with them until they get to some place where they can properly dispose of it. Somebody has to clean that up. I pick it up nearly everyday while I am out riding. It is quite disgusting. Some trails have volunteers who do this, but some have paid employees that taxpayers fund to clean up the litter. People are something else. I constantly see litter thrown down on the ground within a few feet of a trash can provided along the trail.

trash along trail 2

Broken glass is a huge problem, especially for cyclists.

broken-glass-on-pavement-2

And then there is the problem of vandalism and theft which also requires a good sum of money to fix and replace. Again it is usually taxpayers who foot the bill. Here is a fence along a trail that somebody destroyed.

vandalized fence along trail

Getting back to trail planning … oftentimes there is a “master plan” … what I would call “the big plan” or “big picture”. What I am talking about is the trail network connecting together so that a trail user can navigate and travel about mostly if not all on trails and not have to use streets and roads. Of course, all that trail network is a long way off and who knows if it will ever materialize. It is nice to know that it is being planned. Here is a map showing trails planned for Indiana where I live. (sorry for the blurriness)

Indiana trails

Here is another map of it although it isn’t much better quality.

Indiana northern planned trail network

Indiana southern planned trail network

Here is an interesting statistic … as of July 2013, 97.9 percent of all Indiana residents live within 7.5 miles of a trail and 93.2 percent live within five miles of a trail. That is pretty amazing when you stop to think about it. I mean … who would have thought this could be the case?

Hey, with all these trails popping up there is no excuse to not …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’   🙂 🙂

TRAIL RULES DON’T APPLY


Trail Rules sign

Did you know that trail rules don’t apply? That sure seems to be the attitude and position many take. I find this especially true among bicyclists. I would estimate that about 75 % of bicyclists do not obey the trail rules such as giving a warning they are passing other trail users. They obviously don’t believe the trail rules apply to them. Then there are those on foot who pay no attention to the instruction to stay to the right  except when passing. Many meander all over the place making it impossible for other trail users to get by them without them getting over out of the way. Other trail users walk abreast of each other and take up the whole width of the trail. Many trail users have earbuds in their ears and can’t hear anything other than what they are listening to. The trail rules don’t apply to them either. Then there are dog owners … oh … they are something else. The trail rules (not to mention the state law where I live) require them to keep their dogs on a short leash under their control. But ol’ Fido gets to run free and just do whatever he wants including attacking cyclists and walking or running right out in front of them causing them to wreck. Definitely there are a whole lot of dog owners who don’t think the trail rules apply to them. One of my really big pet peeves is when they allow their dogs to poop right on the trail and then just walk away and leave it there. Now I don’t blame the dog, but I sure do blame them. What kind of a person would do such a thing? I would like to take a hold of them and shove their face right down in that pile of poop. Yeah, that is what I would like to do.

I find some folks have some very interesting attitudes and thinking about trail rules. Recently one person stated that the rules are “archaic” and senseless. That would be laughable if they weren’t serious. I believe most people would disagree with such a notion regarding trail rules … saying just the opposite. Rules are very much needed. People being rebellious by nature and “unrestrained” will self destruct and do major damage in society. So I say to anyone who thinks the rules don’t apply to them and are stupid or senseless you are guilty of “stinkin’ thinkin’ ” and are seriously in need of an attitude adjustment.

Trail Rules sign 2

There is nothing archaic or senseless about trail rules. They exist for very good reason. And none of us are exempt from them. God has commanded us to obey those in authority over us as long as man’s laws don’t violate His laws and commandments to us.

don't tune out

Just as I started writing this article I received an email from our local trails authority which included a list of the trail rules. Here is a portion of the email …

“Below are some fundamental rules that will help keep everyone safe:

+Walk and Roll on the Right. Pass on the Left.
+Use Bell or Voice When Passing. Slow down, allow the trail user to react and then pass the person on the left.
+Don’t Tune Out. Music is a great way to pass the miles but make sure you can still hear. Leave an ear bud out or keep your music low enough to hear other trail users.
+Use Caution on Blind Corners. When encountering a blind corner, slow down, stay right and use your bell or voice to say that you are proceeding. +Never pass on a blind corner or hill.
+Doggone it, Mind Your Pets. Keep your pet leashed and be sure to clean up after it. Dispose of the waste in a receptacle. Never, ever litter.”

They all make perfect sense to me … nothing archaic about them. The only thing I will say is concerning the “on your left”  announcement I think needs some improvement as it can be confusing to some people. I usually say “coming up behind you and will be passing on your left side”. Of course, many trail users have earbuds in their ears and don’t hear anything I say even though I say it loudly. Some people are on the left side of the trail so it isn’t possible to pass them on the left. If people would just obey the rules it would make everything so much better. We need to read and heed. One way or the other let’s all just try to get along out on the trails and …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

I will admit that every once in a while I come across signs that get my attention 🙂

stupid signs 1

danger thin ice 2

no parking beyond this sign

uphill-both-ways1

OPEN STREET MAP


According to Wikipedia OpenStreetMap (OSM) is a collaborative project to create a free editable map of the world. It was created by Steve Coast in the UK in 2004.

OSM is built by a community of mappers that contribute and maintain data about roads, trails, cafés, railway stations, and much more, all over the world.

OpenStreetMap powers map data on thousands of web sites, mobile apps, and hardware devices. OpenStreetMap emphasizes local knowledge. Contributors use aerial imagery, GPS devices, and low-tech field maps to verify that OSM is accurate and up to date.

HERE is a website to help people learn how to use OSM. There is lots of stuff available concerning OSM in this high tech world we live in. Just search online and you can find it.

Android OSM downloader

Android Maps & Navigation app

Android OSMTracker app

Apple & Mac downloads

It is not something I personally have any interest in or use for, but I am sure there are many out there this would appeal to and be of use. Hey, if it helps people to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

I reckon it is okay.

BOOBY TRAPPED BIKE TRAILS


barb wire injury to face

This subject is almost unbelievable and most definitely scary.

barb wire injuries to neck

Evil hearted people are stringing barbed wire (and other wire) across trails and roads where cyclists come upon them and usually don’t see them at all or don’t see them in time to avoid injuries. In the image below (which I created to illustrate this as I don’t have any actual pictures of a paved bicycle trail where this has been found) I have circled the wire in yellow.

barb wire across trail 3

Nobody likes meeting up with barbed wire …

barbed wire entanglement 2

Here is a real picture of barbed wire across a trail in the U.K.

barb wire across trail

The cyclist spotted it just in time to get stopped. He reports that if he had been going the other direction which is downhill he never would have seen it in order to avoid it. Anyway, this sort of thing is happening in various places all over the world. I think it is mostly on off road riding areas, but some have been reported on bike trails and roads.

Not all of these wires are face high. Sometimes they are lower so that the front tire catches it and the bike gets flipped over. At least that is what the intent is. At our height we might get our faces or necks right into it.

Hopefully this won’t “catch on” and escalate. I have not heard of it happening anywhere near me.

SOOOO fellow tadpole riders do your best to be alert. No one wants to be a victim of such evil practices. We all want to safely …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

HELP!!! (YOUR HELP IS NEEDED!)


The following is a reposting of an article I wrote quite some time back when I first started this blog and then deleted it … losing all my postings other than a few text files I saved which can be found HERE.

HELP!!!!!

If you are fortunate enough to have bicycle trails near you that you can ride on I hope you appreciate it and realize that it takes a lot of money and effort to build and maintain them. Money is always in the forefront and even moreso in recent years with the bad economy being forced upon us by our national governmental leaders and international bankers. Without money available the building of new trails and upkeep of current existing trails is hurting.

Pufferbelly Trail looking north from Wallen Rd

Many places a key part of the upkeep is accomplished thru volunteers. Most trail systems have some sort of organized volunteers to serve in various capacities. Here in Fort Wayne, Indiana where I live we have the “Greenway Ranger” program as well as the adopt a section of thr trail program. I am one of about 81 current greenway rangers for our trails. The number has gone down as there was about 10 or so more last year.  We have over 90 miles of trails now so that equates to a need of over 180 greenway rangers.  We are only about 100 shy. See what I mean about the need being there? Here is my official I.D. card with a little of my photo editing fun (I added the part about badges) and the official city seal removed as I don’t want to get in trouble here.

greenway ranger card with badge & no seal

Here is a picture of some of us at a ranger meeting.

ranger meeting pic Nov. 2013 enlarged & cropped

On our trail system each of us is responsible for a half mile section of the trail. A few have one mile sections. Our job is to help the management of the trails by informing them of anything that needs attention. We pick up litter keeping the trails in good shape. We are expected to clean up litter up to 10 foot off of each side of the trail. Broken glass is one of the biggest problems out there on the trails. We live in a day and age where there are people who seem to get their kicks out of breaking glass on the trails, streets and sidewalks where they know bicyclists ride over it. I clean up most of it myself which I come across, but occasionally I call it in instead. We help other trails users providing them with helpful information about the trails and provide assistance if they are experiencing mechanical problems and need help. Some of us pick up tree branches off of the trails and even trim various types of vegetation growing along the trails. There are a few of us who ride the entire trail system and cover much of it on a daily basis. We help with the entirety of the trails not just our assigned section which is a very big help to the management folks. I was already doing most of this before I officially joined the volunteer program. HERE is a webpage concerning volunteer opportunities with out local trail system in Fort Wayne, Indiana. There is a good chance similar volunteer opportunities and needs exist near you if you live near trails.

Adopt a Greenway sign

In addition to the Greenway Ranger volunteers our local trail system also have an Adopt a Greenway program where a group of volunteers are assigned a 2 mile section of trail to help care for. They go out a minimum of two times a year to do a more thorough cleanup of their section of trail. By more thorough I mean they go further off of the trail into the nearby areas off to the sides.

trail cleanup effort

I am sure most people who use the trails don’t have a clue what all goes on to keep the trails in condition to use. I am telling you this because there is a great need for volunteers and it is something many more need to get involved in. In doing so you help make it possible for everyone to use the trails. You may not get a lot of expression of gratitude from others as like I said, I don’t think most trail users have a clue what all is involved to keep the trails open and in good condition for their use. I got a chuckle out of a bicyclist passing by on the trail earlier today when myself and my two friends I ride with stopped to trim back some bushes which were growing out over the trail. When he saw us there he apparently thought something was wrong and asked this as he rode by. I thought it was pretty obvious what we were doing, but that is exactly what I am talking about … others not having a clue.

I bet if you were to listen carefully you would hear your local trail system hollering out … “HELP!!!! I need help!” And if you listen close enough you might even hear your name being called. Please consider volunteering. With enough of us doing our part we can all …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

“MANY HANDS MAKE LIGHT WORK”

TADPOLE TRIKES GET ATTENTION


Catrike 700 S. Korea

have been watching some videos of a South Korean triker who rides a Catrike 700. In the one video I just finished watching I noticed the people he was riding by as several of them turned to look at his trike as he rode by them. Yep, tadpole trikes definitely attract attention.

heads turn heads turn 2

heads turn 3 heads turn 4

He has several videos available to view. Click HERE to see what he offers.

Another thing I noticed is that the area he is riding in has nice bike/pedestrian trails some of which must have been expensive to build and perhaps a bit challenging as well. I like his whirlygig safety flag.

I am sure most of us who ride tadpole trikes can attest to the fact that the trikes get attention and admiration quite often from many different people we encounter. Some are curious and want to ask questions about them. Whenever possible it is a good idea to take the time to answer their questions as in doing so we are being good ambassadors for our chosen means of cycling. We have the opportunity to educate others and help them to know more about these awesome machines. And just maybe they too will join us in riding in comfort and fun.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

LEAF REMOVAL MADE EASY


It is that time of year when leaves are falling and covering over the trails. A friend of mine swept and raked leaves off of the trail last year. It is a lot of work and quite tiring. He accomplished about a mile of trail per day walking along doing it the “conventional way”. This year he got innovative. When I first saw what he came up with I didn’t think it would work very well (and he had his doubts as well), but upon trying it out we were both quite surprised at how well it works. Keep in mind that the leaves continue to fall down so it makes no sense to try to get the trail cleaned off perfectly as an hour later it is a mess again. Anyway, without further ado here is what he came up with.

leaf removal 6

He simply pulls it behind his tadpole trike and with it can get more work done in one day than he could accomplish walking in an entire week. Like many projects if he were to make it again he would make some changes. Never the less, what he has now does a pretty decent job. My thinking on the design is that the side piece should be angled out instead of at a 90 degree angle. Also I think there should be a side piece on the other side which can be easily and quickly removed and switched like I show in this drawing I made.

leaf removal rig drawing

leaf removal 1

leaf removal 3

He had swept the trail the day before so there are not a whole lot of leaves on it as he was sweeping it this day I took these pictures.

leaf removal 2

leaf removal 4

leaf removal 8

When the leaves accumulate ahead of his rig he has to stop and pick up the rig and set it over to the side. Then he takes a leaf rake he has along with him and rakes the accumulated leaves over off to the side of the trail.

I know I certainly appreciate his efforts as it makes it a whole lot safer to ride on the trail when you can see it. It is very rare for the city government to clean off the trails … at least this particular one which happens to be our favorite to ride. So it is good that there are those of us who volunteer to help maintain it. Occasionally a trail user will even say “thanks” for our efforts … something which is always appreciated. Having nice clean trails to ride on helps to be able to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

P.S. –  I made my own leaf removal rig today, but it will be awhile before I can try it out as it is raining today and the leaves will have to dry out before they can be swept off of the asphalt pavement of the trails. Anyway, I made mine different. I have no idea if it will work. I will just have to wait and see. I made it like a snow plow … angled … hoping it will force the leaves over to the side of the trail and I can just keep going without having to stop frequently like my friend does with his rig. Here is a drawing I made of what I came up with.

my leaf removal rig

CONNECTIVITY … YOU JUST CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE


was just looking at a website listing trails in Georgia. My wife and I lived down in the Atlanta area for 10 years so I still have an interest in that area and was wondering about trail development down there. My thinking was … “What if we still lived down there. Would we have trails to ride on?” What I discovered seems to be a universal problem most places I know of. I am talking about connectivity. There are various trails, but most of them don’t connect together so they are not very practical to ride on at this point in time … especially the shorter ones. It is not hardly worth it to load up your trike and haul it many miles to get to a trail that is only 2 to 4 miles long. Of course, there are trails around which are much longer … more distance than most people would want to attempt in one day’s ride.

Yes, connectivity is a problem. Some of our trails around here where I live don’t connect together at this time so I don’t usually ride on them. I pretty much stick to the trails that do connect together. Right now all of our local trails are linear. We can ride to the end of it and then have to turn around and come back the same way we had just come. Again, someday this is suppose to change. They are planning some more trails which will make a loop we can ride. That would be nice.

Lots of future trails are planned. There is just one problem … money. Trails are very expensive to build and maintain. It is my understanding that our trails around here cost about $125 a foot and that is just the part that is asphalt. Boardwalks cost about $500 a foot. With a struggling economy which is getting worse and not likely to turn around (I think it is going to totally collapse as that is the plan of those running things) these future trails will not likely materialize.

So I reckon we will just have to do the best we can and be thankful for what we have. And it helps immensely if we the trail users help maintain them. It helps us all to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

JUST ADD WATER


trail may be under water

When it comes to recipes adding water is quite common and works well oftentimes. However adding water in not a good ingredient when it comes to certain other things like electricity, picnics, sun bathing, and cycling to name a few. This year has been a terrible year for rain … too much of it (or not hardly any) … in some parts of the United States. That includes the area where I live. We have had record breaking rains and just recently we finally have got some decent weather and things are starting to dry out. However we still only have very limited trails open and available to use. All the flooding, high winds, etc. have devastated much of our trail system and it will take a long time and a lot of work to get them cleaned up and back open.  The rivers have just recently finally dropped down below flood stage so the cleanup effort is just getting started.

These 4 pictures below are not of our area, but they are typical of what our trails look like as far as being flooded over.

trail flooded over compilation

In the video below keep in mind that the trails run right alongside of the rivers so when you see the river which is considerably flooded over in various areas much of the time the trail is underwater.

And here is a video shot from a drone helicopter of the flooding in Foster Park … one of the places I had never witnessed flooding occur before. Most of the park and golf course was under water. There is horrific damage to much of the grounds. I was just out there July 22nd and saw some of the result of the flooding.

This picture below is in one of our local city parks. This is one of the trails which passes thru it. Even after a few days of nice weather the water is still across the trail although not nearly as much as pictured here. I would guess that the water was about 30 inches deep over the trail when this picture was taken.

floodgate in W. Sweeney Park

The city did make an effort to start cleanup work on one of the trails only to get two trucks and a skid loader stuck.  First one got stuck and then the second got stuck trying to pull out the first one. The skid loader got stuck trying to pull out the trucks. Upon getting them out of their predicament they gave up until the mud has dried up more. There is not only ‘gobs of goo’ (river silt mud which is some of the worst mud imaginable), but there are large trees down and plenty of smaller ones as well.

trail closed due to flooding

As an avid trail user it is difficult to deal with. This is the second worse flooding on record for this area. As I previously stated, I have seen areas flooded over that I have never seen flood before. Several city parks and golf course were pretty much destroyed by flooding and will take a lot of work and money to repair/restore them.

With this recent dry spell it is hoped that the rain pattern we have been experiencing this year is over with and things will return to normal. I have posted this picture of a flooded section of trail before but I added another picture alongside of it so you can see what the area looks like when it isn’t flooded. There must be at least 3 or 4 gallons of water there. The area where I have a white X is more than 7 feet of flood water over the trail. The river is off to the left hand side. The farmer’s field on the right becomes a very large lake. Somebody just added water and ruined a good thing.

just add water

Well, all I can say is … try to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

Ya’ know … speaking of just adding water … I once came up with what I thought was a great idea which would really make me a wealthy man. I came up with a product I called “instant water”. It was a small tablet which you simply put into a glass and added water then stirred. Much to my disappointment I just never could seem to get anyone interested in it. 😉

THE WEATHER DEPARTMENT, A YEAR TO REMEMBER


The reason for having a tadpole trike is to ride it, but in some parts of the United States it has been and continues to be a difficult year to get much riding in. That’s because of all the rain … day after day … week after week … month after month it seems. It is a year to remember. When is it going to stop? I mean like … give us a break! Even what little time has been available to ride there is so much flooding that there are very few places to ride without encountering flood water … closed trails, closed roads and streets, closed city parks. Then to top it all off there have been some strong winds in some of the storms which have brought numerous trees down which are blocking off trails. Some of the trees are huge. With all the rain the ground is so saturated that the entire root system under them just pulled up out of the ground. Many others were simply snapped off or large branches were snapped off. Many fell onto houses and cars/trucks. I have ridden around various parts of the city and seen many such scenes.

tree uprooted and fallen onto house

tree fallen onto car

They were also blocking streets and sidewalks, but at least those are usually removed fairly quickly. The bike trails haven’t been touched though and probably won’t be for some time. Some are still flooded.

flooded trail in Sweeney Park

In the image below the red line shows about where the bicycle trail runs. There is more than 7 feet depth of flood water over the trail about where I have drawn the yellow line on the red line. The river is to the left beyond the trees.

Maumee Path from North River Road near Landin Road trail marked

This image below is of the St. Joe Pathway near Parnell Ave. As you can see it is completely flooded over. The river is to the left.

flooded St. Joe Pathway near Parnell Ave.

Other trails are a muddy mess and with all the rain aren’t drying up. That means that nothing can be done about clearing the trees off of them. Besides the city is too busy dealing with cleaning up other places which take priority over the trails. That is the story here where I live.

Then there are parts of the nation experiencing bad drought conditions. They desperately need the rain. I sure wish we could send some of ours their way. Not only are they experiencing drought, but they having scorching heat making it miserable and dangerous to be outside. Fires are a serious threat when these conditions exist.

I know that there are those who say “just ride in the rain”. To that I say “no, thanks”. I don’t find that enjoyable at all.

I just took a look at the 14 day extended forecast. Even though it is raining today as it did yesterday the forecast shows several days of no rain. Hallelujah! Thank You Lord. Now if I just had somewhere to ride. I will have to work on that. I want to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

TREK THE TRAILS


Every Tuesday evening at 6 PM from April thru October here in Fort Wayne, Indiana the local trails authority conducts what they call Trek the Trails.

Trek the Trails ride meetup

Each week they have an organized ride where bicyclists can show up at a designated starting point to form up and head out riding a different section each week. By the end of the “riding season” they will have covered the whole trail system and probably repeated some of it. The rides are usually about 6 to 9 miles long. They are open to all and families are most welcome.

Depending upon the weather the turn out is usually pretty good … 60 to 100 riders. Someone always leads the rides and someone always brings up the rear making sure everybody made it ok. I have only personally ridden on a couple of them as I ride all of the trails frequently and know them all quite well. The main purpose of these rides is to introduce people to the local trails and help them to learn about them.

Trek the Trails ride

Probably at least 4 times during these rides they offer special events in addition to the ride itself. Sometimes they have a live band, food, dance, bicycle giveaway by drawing, etc. On one such ride they go to a predetermined location out away from the city lights where they have telescopes set up to check out the stars and whatever else they can see in the heavenlies.

Here is a video of one of the rides from 2012. It is on the Saint Joseph Pathway to Shoaf Park. It started out at Johnny Appleseed Park.

And HERE are other videos of these rides. And HERE are other videos of  Fort Wayne Trails.

In addition to these Tuesday evening rides they also have a Saturday morning ride once a month which is longer and geared a little more for those more serious about riding including a little faster pace and longer distance. But again, it is open to all and someone brings up the rear ensuring everyone makes it regardless of whether they keep up the pace of the leader. These rides always get spread out considerably. Even the Tuesday evening rides do, but probably not as much.

Trek the Trails ride 3

Anyway, I think it is a pretty good thing that they offer this. It is good to promote the trails and help people learn of them. In doing so it raises awareness and more and more people are taking to the trails. And after all … that is what it is all about. Just so they don’t get too crowded as we want to be able to continue to …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

TO BE SEEN OR NOT TO BE SEEN


As I sit here typing this it is snowing again outside. Being stuck indoors thru another nasty winter unable to go riding outdoors I am envious of those who can ride at this time of year. So sometimes I watch others ride on videos posted online. Here is one I came across which I think looks very inviting.

One of things I noticed as I watched this is safety flags. This is a subject I approach with passion. I have WRITTEN ABOUT IT before and even made up a VIDEO of my own about it. I know not everybody agrees with me on this as it is obvious by the flags they choose to fly and by the position they have them at. Safety flags can be quite effective and eye catching or they can be quite ineffective. In this video embedded below I captured a screenshot of two trikes in the front of the camera. Both are flying safety flags. One is barely flapping while the other is flapping vigorously. One is farther away than the other. The one which is most visible and eye catching is not the one which is flapping the most or closest. It is the one flapping the least and furthest away. How can this be? Color! The yellow flag stands out far better than the multi-color (blue, white, red and yellow) one. Look for this fairly early on in the video. Normally the flags that flap around a lot are more eye catching, but if the colors are not all that noticeable than the flapping doesn’t accomplish all that much good. You can see this in the video.

2 safety flags from behind 2

Nope, I just don’t get it. Why bother? Why spend the money to fly a flag that doesn’t show up? I mean the whole idea of a safety flag is to help others see you. If is for your safety … hence, it is called a safety flag. Flags might be pretty to look at, but if they are not eye catching … well, what can I say? It’s your funeral as they say. I know there will be many who spurn what I am saying. They might even get upset with me. I know many will go on ignoring what I am saying. But if just a few trike riders wake up to this and do something to help others see them it will be worthwhile getting others upset with me.

While I am at it I see some trikers fly their flags down real low. I assume they do so trying to keep wind resistance down. I guess they have it in their minds that this is going to slow them down a half a mile an hour and they can’t have that. Again, I don’t get it. Why bother at all? If your flag isn’t going be placed where it is noticed then you might as well not even have one.

Well, anyway the video of this trail ride is neat and it makes me all the more desirous to ride. Come on Spring! I want to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

AUTUMN RIDE ON TRAIL


was watching some videos on YouTube of our local trails here in Fort Wayne, Indiana when I came across this one which sort of caught my eye … probably because of the fact it was in Autumn with the leaves on the trees changing colors which is always so pretty. The colors certainly are not breathtaking as they are some years, but they are still pleasing to see. Anyway, I thought I would share it so others could enjoy it as well. Fort Wayne’s original trail system known as the Rivergreenway are trails built which follow along the three rivers here in Fort Wayne. This video features the St. Marys Pathway which follows along the St. Marys River.

Here is a map of our current trail system. It is not quite up to date as there have been a few short sections added since this map was created. The trails are represented by the red lines. We presently have just over 80 miles of trails completed. Approximately 100 miles are planned. The St. Marys Pathway is the north-south trail in the middle of the map toward the bottom.

ft wayne trails map

RIDING THE RAIL


Riding the rail … a “rails to trails” trail, that is. These tadpole trike riders are on the Nickel Plate Trail in north central Indiana. The name comes from the former railroad track bed the trail was built on. It was the Nickel Plate Railroad. I have ridden on ihis trail once myself although this particular part these guys are riding didn’t exist at that time. Apparently they started their ride together at the Victory Bike Shop in Kokomo, Indiana. Where these guys are riding is about 75 miles from where I live. I don’t know if these guys are a part of the group of tadpole riders who have an organized group in the nearby area, but I would not be surprised if they are. I know I would be if I lived closer. (That is, if they would have me). From what I have read they usually ride together on Thursdays and ride all day long up until evening. They often ride about 100 miles. At least that is what I read. That is a lot of riding. I am envious. Other than my one friend there are no other tadpole trike riders in our area that seem to show much interest in getting together for a group ride. Watching this video I would say that it looks like these guys are enjoying themselves. I would like to be with them. How about you? Some people are loners by choice while others are because they have no choice. I am hoping things change around here where I live and other tadpole riders start riding together.

If anyone is interested in checking out the Nickel Plate Trail HERE is a link to their website. And HERE is the TrailLink website page on this trail. HERE is the IndianaTrails webpage. HERE is their Facebook page.
Nickel Plate Trail map

Lastly, HERE is an article about the trail.