Category Archives: trails
The Great Allegheny Passage Trail is reported to be one great ride. Many of us will never be able to take the actual ride, but we can experience it via this video.
The Great American Rail-Trail is an ongoing project as well as a great vision. From sea to shining sea … from Washington (D.C. ) to Washington (Seattle) … better bring your pajamas as you won’t make this ride in one day. I like the idea of riding across the country on a bike trail and not having to deal with riding on dangerous roads.
Most definitely one challenge and important concern to such a trail is providing toilets all along the route. We can’t be going behind a bush or tree and definitely we all have to go sometime … in more ways than one.
HERE is an article about this trail explaining the plan and providing some information about what has been built thus far and where things stand.
Much of the trail utilizes rail trails that are already in existence and are simply being linked together rather than starting from scratch and building all new. In my State of Indiana the Cardinal Greenway is a part of it.
I hope the governing body has the good sense not to restrict e-assist cycles from using the trail. I wonder how the governing body is going to work seeing how this long trail system is utilizing existing trails which already have their own governing entity.
One thing about it … if a tadpole trike rider took off on this nearly 4000 mile long trail they certainly could …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
Yes, our local trail system has been Googled.
It seems like it was about 2 years ago our city’s assistant manager of the Greenway System was driving a golf cart around with the infamous Google cameras aboard.
And here is the sign which appears on the back of the golf cart …
Also a man was wearing the back pack camera outfit and walking around with it. Yep, we’ve been Googled. It took a very long time before this effort finally materialized and showed up on Google Maps. Just today I received notice via email that it is available online. Unfortunately the entire trail system was not included and even some of the trails that were only have a mile or so filmed and appearing online. Never the less, it is neat to see this feature available.
Here are some screenshots I captured of the Street View of some of our trails:
Above: Pufferbelly Trail north of Dupont Rd. This trail upon completion will be about 80 miles long.
It is a rails to trails project.
Below: Pufferbelly Trail south of Dupont Rd.
Below: St. Marys Pathway which runs alongside of the St. Marys River.
Above: The St. Joe Pathway which follows along the St. Joe River. Here it is going under St. Joe Center Rd.
Below: The St. Joe Pathway as it comes onto the property of a local university it shares the trail with. Here it crosses the river using this bridge and continues along the other side of the river.
Below, My current personal favorite local trail is the Maumee Pathway which follows along the Maumee River. Here it passes under Maplecrest Rd.
Here is a map showing some of the Fort Wayne Trails …
HERE you can find maps of individual trails around Fort Wayne, IN.
And HERE is an article about the Google Maps Street View Trekker project.
As of the end of 2018 we have about 109 miles of trails and more are being added each year.
You may never have the opportunity to come to the Fort Wayne, Indiana area to ride the trail system, but if you do hopefully this information will be helpful. Regardless of where you are at do your best to …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
ENJOY THE RIDE
While out on a ride recently I noticed (could not help but notice) lots of dog and goose poop on the trail. Now I understand that wild animals are going to do this and there isn’t much we can do about it. We just have to deal with it. The matter of dogs comes down to their owners. The dogs may not know better, but their owners certainly do. They just don’t care. Sadly there doesn’t appear to be much we can do about it either. Yes, I know … S H _ T HAPPENS!
We can’t expect the dog to clean up after themselves, but dog owners are required by law to do so as does common decency.
I said it is not the dog’s fault and this is true. However, they can be taught where they should and should not go to the toilet. Here is an example of a well trained dog who knows where it is appropriate to relieve himself: Then again, dogs are generally more savvy than lots of people.
And another one:
This much I know … it ain’t good to ride thru poop. And unfortunately it is rare to see anybody make any effort to get it off of the trails. I spent a third of my time riding today removing poop from off of the trail. It is really aggravating as this should not be happening. What is wrong with people that they do this? I wasn’t raised that way. I find it hard to believe that people can be so low and irresponsible. Yet it seems to be all too commonplace. Nobody wants to walk along stepping in dog poop or riding thru it on a cycle. It is challenging enough to avoid riding over dog poop on a bicycle. With a tadpole trike it is even more difficult to avoid as we have three different tracking wheels and our trikes being wider we don’t always have the space to maneuver as we really need to.
In addition to the fact that it is quite unpleasant to step on or ride over dog poop it is illegal for dog owners to allow a dog to poop outdoors and then not clean up after them. I have said it before, but I would like to see these dog owners faces shoved down into their dog’s pile of poop.
Well, now I went and did it. I unloaded here. I feel better now. So I say pooh pooh on poo poo. Without it it is much easier to …
ENJOY THE RIDE!
I love 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.
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.
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.
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’
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:
One of our local bike trails is nearby right across the road running alongside of the river. It is the Maumee Pathway.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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’
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.
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.
And dealing with a marshy wetland area or such may require extensive boardwalks.
Crossing rivers and creeks may require a bridge … again, something that is not inexpensive to build.
Of course, sometimes there are already existing bridges such as abandoned railroad bridges which can be used and save considerable expense.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Broken glass is a huge problem, especially for cyclists.
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.
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)
Here is another map of it although it isn’t much better quality.
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’ 🙂 🙂
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.
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.
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 🙂 …
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.
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.
This subject is almost unbelievable and most definitely scary.
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.
Nobody likes meeting up with barbed wire …
Scene of Steve McQueen from The Great Escape movie.
Here is a real picture of barbed wire across a trail in the U.K.
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’
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.
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.
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.
Here is a picture of some of us at a ranger meeting.
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.
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.
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”
I 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.
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’
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. (He has modified it considerably since he first made it. This picture is when it was brand new.)
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.
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.
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. – After watching how his rig works and what is involved in using it I gave some thought as to how to make one for myself to use. I think that an angled plow type unit would work better so that the leaves roll off to the side of the plow unloading itself and eliminating the need to stop and get off like my friend is doing.
Update – I made my own leaf removal rig today, but I will have to wait to try it out and see how it works. It has been raining and the eleaves are quite wet. Here is a drawing I made of what I came up with.
Update: My design works great … far better than my friends.
With my friend’s leaf removal rig the load of leaves he pulls behind him keeps growing and getting heavier and heavier wearing him out trying to pedal. If he doesn’t stop to unload his rig it will unload itself leaving a big pile of leaves right on the trail which then needs to be removed. It is a real pain to use in my opinion. My outfit is so much simpler, better and faster. I just keep riding and the leaves unload themselves off to the side.
It leaves a pretty clean trail and this was even after removing wet leaves which is a lot more difficult and challenging than dry leaves.
If I were to do it over I would make it a little different though as I have learned from this one. I would add a second board and put weight in between the two boards to help hold it down. Right now I am hanging hand weights to both the front and the back side of the board. Of course, the weights on the front side are obstructing the leaf flow. Also I think I would eliminate the broom altogether and have the pull be from the top of the boards so that there is no obstruction of any kind to the flow of leaves as they move over to the side and off load.
Placing the weight on the back side of the one board I am using now results in tipping the rig over backwards so now I have to have weight on at least the front side to prevent this. It needs more weight so I am using the back side too, but I can’t put as much weight on the back side as I can the front side. With the two board design everything will be a clean smooth surface with the weight inside out of the way. I can easily adjust the amount of weight according to how the rig performs. The idea is to keep the rig down on the trail surface so it isn’t allowing the leaves to pick it up and dump them out underneath of it. Of course, one doesn’t want any more weight back there than necessary since it makes a difference in how hard it is to pull it along.
I 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’
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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’
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.
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.
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 Shoaff Park. It started out at Johnny Appleseed Park.
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.
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!