March 21, 2012 – Washington D.C.—Inspired by the corridor of bicycle trails linking their hometown of Pittsburgh to the nation’s capital, editors from Bicycle Times Magazine rode more than 350 car-free miles to the National Bike Summit to raise awareness for the great things that are possible with federal investment in cycling infrastructure.
Carrying all their own gear and receiving no outside support, Editor Karen Brooks and Online Editor Adam Newman made their journey along the Great Allegheny Passage trail from Pittsburgh then connected to the 184-mile Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park trail to Washington. Brooks, along with Art Director Stephen Haynes and Circulation Manager Jon Pratt, will make the return trip along the same route after the conference.
Nearly complete, the GAP trail traces 150-miles of former railroad right-of-way that is maintained by seven different trail groups and will eventually reach Pittsburgh and further west. At the southeastern end it connects to the C&O Canal towpath in Cumberland, Md. For nearly a century the canal was a lifeline for communities along the Potomac River, but since 1971 it has been an invaluable protected recreation area for walkers, hikers, and cyclists. As a national park, the C&O Canal is an excellent example of a resource that was made possible by federal funding and is a worthy investment for all Americans.
“Even so early in the season, we met plenty of people, both trail users and business owners, who welcomed us and gave us encouragement along the way,” said Brooks. “The scenery was great, but it was the people who made the trip special. I’m looking forward to riding back again at a more leisurely pace, so that we can stop and explore even more. And eat more pastries!”
While in Washington for the Bike Summit, Bicycle Times will be meeting with advocacy groups from across the nation, attending seminars on everything from safety to economics, and will meet directly with representatives in Congress to ask for their support for cycling programs.
Completing the journey wasn’t just for fun, however. Bicycle Times prides itself on thorough product reviews, and a number of items—including bikes—were put through their paces to see how they hold up to real-world use. The full reviews will appear in a future issue of the magazine.
Since only Brooks is making the round trip, the other participants are taking advantage of another federally-supported means of transportation to get to and from Washington: Amtrak. Trains are perhaps the most bike-friendly means of transportation available when pedal power won’t do.
Even if you can’t make the trip to Washington for the Summit, your voice can still be heard by legislators. Visit the League of American Bicyclists’ website,www.bikeleague.org, and find out how.
You can read more about Bicycle Times’ ride to Washington, as well as our other adventures, in the print magazine or at www.bicycletimesmag.com.
For more info or photos, contact Adam Newman at firstname.lastname@example.org