Sunday, September 4, 2011

Rails to Trails

One of my passions is cycling on Rails to Trails. These are old railroad beds that are converted to trails. They are often suitable for cycling, hiking or riding horses.

Riding on Rails to Trails has several unique advantages:

  • Riders don't need to compete with cars and trucks like you do when riding on the road.
  • No grueling hills. The old trains preferred gradual inclines/declines to steep hills. When they built the tracks they blasted the mountains to get the grade they wanted, which was slow steady incline or decline.
  • Interesting environments. The train tracks went through small towns, ran along the backside of power plants and industrial plant, cut across rivers and through mountains. On most of the rail trails I have ridden you can find remnants of our industrial past. Old coal hoppers, derricks, smoke stacks can often be seen along side the tracks. I find all this stuff interesting and often stop at these old sites to eat a snack or drink some water and try to figure out what used to be there.
To find out where you can find rail trails in your areas, go to I often visit this site before I travel to an area to see if I can sneak in a ride while traveling for business or with the family.

To help protect and expand our nations network of rail trails join the Rails to Trails Conservancy, They are a great organization with a mission that includes preserving the old rail cooridors as well as helping our nation become healthier by promoting trails as a means to excercise and a healthier lifestyle.

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