CONTENDING WITH BICYCLISTS

 

I mostly ride my tadpole trike on our local Fort Wayne (Indiana) Trails so I don’t know what it is like riding where you are at. I assume it is about the same as here. One of my biggest pet peeves is contending with bicyclists. Most of them ride like they are the only trail user out there. They ride mostly in the middle of the trail. Sometimes they ride left of center. Almost always they meander back and forth side to side. They ride two or three abreast paying absolutely no attention to whether there is anyone behind them. They often pay no attention to whether there is anyone ahead of them coming toward them. I have had several very close calls dealing with idiots riding bicycles barely avoiding a head on collision with them. Most of them have been ‘roadies’ bent over forward with their heads pointed down toward the pavement and not looking ahead of them. Some have been listening to ‘whatever’ on earbuds/earphones and not paying any attention to their riding.

When I come up behind these screwballs I sometimes purposely just follow behind them just to see if they ever wake up to reality. They seldom do. I have followed behind people riding along side by side. At least one of them had turned around and saw me behind them but they would not get over to the side where they are suppose to be so that I could pass them. They are just being “shitheads” in my book.

I see a lot of bicyclists who, in my opinion, have no business riding a bike as they are very poor riders. They are not only a danger to themselves but present a serious threat to the safety of others.

And then there are young children who ride wherever they want to and definitely meander all over the place. Their parents do not teach them the trail rules. The parents don’t obey them either. It is downright scary to pass kids on bikes or on foot for that matter. You can’t trust them to stay where they are at. I have had them move right in front of me several times. And I am talking about after giving an audible warning such as  “passing on your left/right” or “coming by you”.

Some parents must believe that a trail is a good and proper place for young children to learn to ride a bike. I certainly don’t agree with that. I think it is a very poor place. I think they should practice in an empty parking lot with nobody else around.

One thing I am always amazed with is how only 2 people can manage to take up the entire width of a trail so that it is quite impossible to pass them unless one is able to get off of the trail passing  along the side.

The sad part of all of this it is just the way people are and it is not going to change. We just have to CONTEND WITH IT.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

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A VISIT TO THE HOME OF THE CLASSICS – AUBURN, INDIANA

Recently I rode my trike from my home in Fort Wayne up to Auburn, Indiana, known as “Home of the Classics” because of all the old classic cars that are found there often. There are museums, parades, auctions and displays of classic cars on the downtown streets.

The future Poka-Backe Trail is shown by red line in photo above.

The Auburn Cord Duesenberg  Museum (ACD Museum)(shown above) is well known. Visitors from all over the world come to Auburn to see it and the many classic cars that appear in Auburn at certain times of the year. The museum is located in the same building where they used to be sold. It has a second story also used to display  these collector cars. There are actually 3 automotive museums in Auburn. There used to be a 4th museum (Corvette Museum) as well as a WW2 museum. They are both gone now.

Auburn was once a manufacturing hub for early cars and, of course, the well known Auburn automobile was among them. Auburn was once called Little Detroit. Yes, Auburn has a very rich car history.

I know Auburn pretty well as I was born and raised there and in Garrett, an even smaller town about 5 miles southwest of Auburn. Auburn is a nice small town although it has grown considerably since I grew up there. With its growth has come a lot of changes and new things. One of those things is a bike trail known as the Rieke Park Trail   shown in red in the image below. The blue line is the Auburn-Waterloo Bike Path which will be used as part of the Poka-Backe Trail along with the Rieke Park Trail. Another part of it is the glorified sidewalk along Betz Rd. shown by  broken line.

I have known of its existence for a few years now but I had never been on it. In my recent posting about the Pufferbelly Trail here in Fort Wayne I talked about it being part of the future Poka-Bache Trail which is a rails to trail project and will be the longest in the state of Indiana … 81.3 miles going from near Bluffton to north of Angola to Pokagon State Park. It will pass right thru Auburn right in front of the ACD museum.

So yesterday I rode up to Auburn and rode in the stretts alongside of these wide “glorified sidewalks”) to check out what this future trail will offer. It connects to the Rieke Park Trail as part of the trail going up to Pokagon State Park. When I turned onto the Rieke Park Trail I was pleasantly surprised as it was as nice of a trail as I have seen or ridden on.

It is only 1.2 miles long however but it sure is nice. It had very smooth asphalt pavement and most of it is very well shaded. While there I encountered a woman out walking her dog and we struck up a conversation in which she told me about the nice paved trails available to ride on at the former Greenhurst golf course which is now called Greenhurst Park. She was referring to the golf cart paths. So after my ride on the Rieke Park Bike Path I rode on over to check out what she had told me about. In the image below Rieke Park Trail is shown in red. Another glorified sidewalk is shown in blue. The Auburn-Walterloo Bike Path is shown in yellow. Greenhurst Park is at the bottom of the yellow line.  The Auburn-Walterloo Bike Path is the continuing trail utilized for the Poka-Backe Trail going to Pokagon State Park.

I thoroughly enjoyed riding around Greenhurst Park on the former golf cart trails. It made the ride more worthwhile than just riding on the short Rieke Park Trail would have been.

Labor Day weekend is the busiest time for the Classic Cars so if you are interested in them it is a good time to come. Be warned however, the city becomes a very busy place. As a resident of Auburn it was always a good time to leave the area so I didn’t have to deal with it. I had my welding business there however and usually had  extra business welding on trails and the cars themselves. I once welded the broken off left front axle on a Mercedes Benz armored car that used to belong to Hitler. It was being auctioned off and I got called to go to the museum building to repair it. The armored car had a bullet hole in the bullet proof rear door  window.

I had a 58.6 mile ride on my trip up to Auburn and back. I ran both of my batteries down to the 20 % level. I just had enough battery to get back home. I turned the power down quite a bit of the time on my 2nd battery to conserve power in it.

BTW, I have ridden up to Auburn and Garrett on my trike about six time previously. It is true … you can never go back home. It is just not the same as I remember it and I never see anybody I know.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

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THE PUFFERBELLY TRAIL

I thought I had written at least one article about the Pufferbelly Trail previously but upon doing a search I discovered I haven’t. I have talked about it a few times in various posts but I have never featured it. So guess what? Yep, I decided to do so now. The Pufferbelly Trail is an ongoing rails to trail project located in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Nearly 7 miles of the Pufferbelly Trail have been constructed: 4.75 miles from Washington Center Rd. north to Life Bridge Church.  Another 2.25 miles is constructed from Lawton Park and Fourth St north to Lima Rd and Ice Way.  Eventually, this trail will extend from the northern edge of Allen County south 13 miles where it will connect with the Rivergreenway in downtown Fort Wayne.  The Pufferbelly Trail is one segment of a State Visionary Trail. When completed, the trail will be part of the Poka-Bache Connector, running from Ouabache State Park near Bluffton to Pokagon State Park north of Angola. This 81.3-mile connector trail will bring Steuben, Dekalb, Allen, and Wells counties communities together. This trail is a crucial part of the United Trails project in our region.

Although** I have not seen or heard of any of it being built other than about 7 miles here in Fort Wayne and Allen County our local trails manager tells me that about 50 % of the 81 miles is already complete. **Until just now I was unaware that anything has been done in Dekalb County north of Allen County. I was wrong. They have built a trail that goes right past where I used to live. It starts near the intersection of County Rd. 11A and County Rd. 56 goes alll the way into and thru  the city of Auburn (right past the Auburn-Cord- Dusenburg Automotive Museum). The trail connects to the Rieke Trail going north out of Auburn and will follow along Betz Rd. to connect to the pre-existing Auburn-Waterloo Trail. HERE is some information of the Steuben County plans.

In Allen County right now the Pufferbelly Trail ends  just a little ways north of Carroll Road at Life Bridge church. Life Bridge church has generously built a connecting trail over to their church and provided a trail head to park motor vehicles there for trail users. They have even built a pavilion near the trail for trail users to use.

Although there remains a few more miles of trail to be built to the north to reach the Allen County line where Dekalb Couny takes over the good news is the State of Indiana has pledged the funds needed to complete it. That being said it hasn’t been made available yet so construction has not started yet. I hope they get it built clear up to Pokagon State Park while I am still able to ride as I would love to attempt it. Fort Wayne is located about half way on the trail so it would be approximately a 40 mile ride to the northern end.

Right now the trail ends to the south at Washington Center Rd. There is a delay continuing it further south from there to connect to the next section they have already built. A major busy road (Indiana State Highway 930 otherwise known as Coliseum Blvd.) must be crossed which eventually a bridge over it is planned but that is many years off as it will be very expensive. Meanwhile the plan is to have the trail cross at ground level. I find that scary. It is very busy and very wide, especially at this planned location. I am told the crossing will be near Industrial Rd.

The map below shows the tuture planned trail route from Washington Center Rd. south across  Coliseum Blvd. and further south connecting to  the existing Pufferbelly Trail which goes right behind the Trek Bike Store making it very handy to cycle to. The Trek Bike Store is our local Catrike dealer.

I am sure many have already figured out where this trail got its name. Those who are old enough probably remember the popular childrens’ song …

Yep, steam engines, affectionately called “pufferbellies” used to operate on this railroad corridor. Thus the powers that be named it Pufferbelly Trail.

I had a little fun photo editing …

Years ago I read that this trail will eventually connect into a future east-west trail in northern Indiana … all part of the “visionary trail network” in Indiana. I see on the map that connecting trail will follow along Indiana State Highway 4 running northwest.

The Pufferbelly is a really nice trail … perhaps my favorite local trail. It is quite popular having more traffic on it than any other local trail. It also goes by Salomon Farms where another tradilhead is provided. Solomon Farms has a nice nearly 2 mile long trail around it which I always ride. Nice restrooms are available there.

Much of it is pretty well shaded which I always appreciate.

The trail passes under Dupont Rd., a busy 4 lane city road.

One of the trail extensions underway.

The trail as it crosses over W. State Blvd.

Some homeowners have the trail right in their back yard. How handy that would be.

I ride all year long as much as I can.

Riding north on undeveloped train track corridor.

Speaking of State Visionary Trails here is a map of future planned trails in NE Indiana …

 

There have been two incidents of trail users on bicycles getting hit by cars while attempting to cross the roads. The first one was killed. The most recently one was seriously injured. I haven’t heard any updates on her. Both of these happened the same way …  motorists stopped at the crosswalks to allow trail users to cross. They are not supposed to do this as it creates a very dangerous situation for trail users. They start to cross the trail and get hit by motor vehicles who are not stopping. In Indiana if there are  people already IN the crosswalk motor vehicles are required to stop and give them the right of way. But if they have not entered the crosswalk motor vehicles are not required to stop. Not only are they not required they are not suppose to because  this is what is happening. People need to get educated. If someone stops to let me cross I motion them to drive on. And I am finding more and more trail users are doing the same. Still, however, there are trail users who take off across the road. Just yesterday I saw a car stop to let trail users cross and a pick up truck went zooming around the stopped car. Fortunately the trail users had not attempted to cross. All of this I am sharing has been explained on the local TV news a few times but there still seems to be a lot of drivers who are not aware that they are not suppose to stop. I have written articles about these .two incidents .. https://tadpolerider.com/2022/03/07/trail-crossings-dont-become-a-victim/  and https://tadpolerider.com/2022/08/19/another-bicyclist-on-pufferbelly-trail-hit-by-car-at-road-crossing/.

Right now there is no practical way by bicycle  to get to the Pufferbelly Trail where it takes off north from Washington Center Rd.  I have a route I take but I end up riding down the the turning lane on Coldwater Rd. and the outside lane of Washington Center Rd. Most cyclists would not do that saying it is way too dangerous. Honestly I feel quite safe doing so and never have any issues with motor vehicles. I have the outside lane on Washington Center Rd. all to myself. A couple of days ago I was driving my car on Washington Center Rd. and spotted a guy on a tadpole trike riding in the outside lane. He turned off to ride on the Pufferbelly Trail. So I am not the only one who does this.

I just found this about the trail development in Dekalb County so now I know a little bit more about what has already been built in Dekalb County … https://www.co.dekalb.in.us/egov/documents/1626786696_485.pdf

BTW, I am originally from Dekalb County and know it well … probably better than I know Allen County where I live now.

If you ride on the Pufferbelly Trail be safe crossing the roads.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

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COME RIDE THE FORT WAYNE TRAILS … KIDNEY BELTS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

 

I have been riding the Fort Wayne (Indiana) Trails for quite a few years now and have racked up over 120,000 miles on them. During that time I have experienced poor trail maintenance and it keeps getting worse. The problem as I see it is that there is no designated maintenance dept. The city of Fort Wayne assigns sections of the trails to the various city departments … Street Dept., Parks Dept., Right of Way Dept. and Allen County Road Dept. They all have their own responsibilities to tend to so the trails are down the list in priority. The city used to hire two men who worked only on trail maintenance and it made a huge difference. But that ended years ago and nothing has been done since to replace them. Most recently we lost our trail maintenance manager who did a lot of trail maintenance all by herself. She was awesome. She quit to take a job in another city up on Michigan. She is really missed. The guy they hired to replace her is next to worthless in comparison. Trying to get the city to do something about this falls on deaf ears. I pretty much believe in … “if you are not going to maintain the trails, don’t build them”. I think it is shameful.

All I have talked about so far is trail maintenance but what I really want to address is trail conditions … the condition of the surface of the trails. I mentioned wearing a kidney belt. I was joking but  it might not be a bad idea. One could lose tooth fillings riding on our trails. They definitely are rough. Even the newest pavement, Becketts Run Trail, is rough. I tried to film a ride on it holding the camera in my hand. I got tossed around so much the video didn’t turn out very good.

I don’t have any suspension on my trike but I do have balloon tires on all 3 wheels and it definitely helps. I don’t have a kidney belt but if the trails get in any worse shape I may have to consider getting one. And I thought they were only for Harley riders. COME RIDE THE FORT WAYNE TRAILS … if you dare.

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ANOTHER BICYCLIST ON PUFFERBELLY TRAIL HIT BY CAR AT ROAD CROSSING

It has happened again. Another woman was hit by a car while crossing a road here in Fort Wayne. She was riding her bicycle on the Pufferbelly Trail when it happened.

This is the second such incident in  less than a year. The first victim died in the crosswalk. This rider suffered life threatening injuries. Of course, the driver was not ticketed.

The video below is local news coverage of the first incident. They cover the proper procedure for trail users and motorists at these trail crossings.

I have crossed these same roads many times. They are dangerous in my opinion. I don’t know what the answer is. Trail users certainly need to be careful  and not be lulled into crossing the road if someone stops to let them do so. Motorists are not suppose to stop to allow trail users to stop if they are still over at the side of the road. They greatly endanger the trail user when they do this. It is much safer to just waive the motorist on and wait until there is no traffic before attempting to cross. All too often other motorists don’t stop and then these horrible accidents happen. I have a hard time calling them accidents. In my opinion there is no excuse for motorists to attempt to go around a stopped vehicle at these crosswalks. When they do this they are guilty of murder as far as I am concerned. Of course, they usually get away with it.

In the video below I am riding the Pufferbelly Trail. Starting at about 3 minutes 17 seconds into the video I am coming upon Carroll Road where the woman bicyclist was killed last year. At the very end of the video I come up to Wallen Road where this latest incident happened.  The trail ended there back when this video was made (2016) but since then it has been expanded a few more miles southward.

Be very careful at trail crossings. Don’t be a victim. Everyone needs to learn what to do and what not to do in order to safely cross roads. The life you save may be your own. We all want to …

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RECUMBENT RIDE THRU SAGUARO NATIONAL PARK -TUSCON, AR.

Take a ride along with Sylvia and friends. The trails look so smooth and being in southern Arizona I would guess that they stay that way. A freshly paved trail up here in northern Indiana doesn’t last long before it is no longer smooth. Anyway, this sure looks inviting. There is only one problem as I see it … the comfortable weather for riding is short lived as soon it will be miserbly hot and last most of the year. Oh well, I don’t ever expect to be able to go there anyway. I will just have to enjoy it thru these videos.

Thanks Sylvia for posting this video sharing your adventure with us. I know I enjoyed it.

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A FREE GIFT awaits you!

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GOTTA LOVE THOSE CURVES

 

Now I ask ya … what guy doesn’t appreciate curves? No, I am not talking about feminine curves. I am talking about the kind shown in the image below …

I have never been one to enjoy monotony. I hate doing the same thing over and over. I need and thrive on variety. Working on an assembly line is not for me. That is just who I am. While riding my trike I very much dislike riding on a street or trail which is straight. I mean … boring! I truly appreciate it when this was taken into consideration in trail planning. Here is an example.

This short section of trail was going to be built to further take the trail onward. It could have been laid out in a straight line but they didn’t do that. Instead they purposely made it with several curves in it. You may not be able to tell it from this satellite image but it can be a bit challenging, especially if one’s speed is sufficient. It involves leaning into the turns. It can be all one can do to stay on the trail.  I love it!

There is nothing boring about riding this. It will keep you wide awake. Yep, I love curves and some hills versus a straight flat surface such as many rail trails are. Our original trails were built along our three rivers which, of course, means that they curve around quite a bit. And they have some hills as well. We have newer trails which I do ride, but they lack the curves and just are not as enjoyable to ride.

Some of our trails go thru city parks and they usually have curves in them as well.

I have never yet fallen asleep while riding my trike although it is comfortable enough I probably could, especially if bored enough. So keep those curves coming and I will do my best to stay awake.

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TRIKE n TRAIL AMBASSADORS

Ambassadors … we need more of them. You can be a self appointed ambassador for tadpole trikes and bike trails. All it requires is a passion within you which drives you to share and be a representative unto others. You can do this in everyday life … every where you go … every time you go out riding. One of the ways I like to serve or function as an ambassador is to help others learn our local trails. Although admittedly I enjoy checking out new (to me) trails sometimes trails are not very well marked making it difficult for those unfamiliar with them to successfully ride them. As someone who is extremely familiar with our trail system here in Fort Wayne, Indiana I can be of much help to those riding our trails for the first time. I have long offered my service in this matter and a few people have accepted my offer. Tomorrow I plan on doing so again with a tadpole trike rider coming to Fort Wayne wanting to ride our trails. I know that there are many of you who already do this. As they say “down under” … good on you.

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STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES

assume I am not the only  one of us trike riders who deal with absolute stupidity on the part of trail users. I deal with it on a daily basis … several times a day. What am I talking about, you ask? Let me give you an example. I was out riding along a trail today going around a corner when suddenly right in front of me two females were walking on my side of the trail toward me. I had to slam on the brakes to keep from hitting them. I said to them “I can’t get over any farther” which I don’t think they even began to understand. I was as far over to the right as I could get riding on my side. The picture below is just for the purpose of illustration. It is not a real picture but one I put together. The two females are purposely blurred so they can’t be identified. The place on the trail was on a blind curve and well shaded so it was rather dark. As I came around the corner there they were right in front of me. As I said, I had to brake hard to keep from running into them. Stupid is as stupid does!

 

I can’t help but wonder if these people who do such stupid things like this do the same thing if and when they drive a car. I would hope not yet I can’t help but wonder why they would do it while walking. Stupid is as stupid does.

As bad as walkers and runners are I find the worst to be bicyclists. Most bicyclists ride in the center and even left of center and many of them meander all over the place. To make matters worse they pay absolutely no attention to whether or not any others are on the trail. If I am behind them they make it quite impossible to pass them. If they are coming toward me they often nearly collide with me riding over on my side not paying attention. Stupid is as stupid does. And that is really stupid.

And curves and hills don’t seem to matter to them. One would think that they would realize the danger and that the situation is an accident waiting to happen. Many times I have had to brake hard to avoid an accident. Sometimes I have had to ride off of the trail to avoid a collision.  Stupid is as stupid does. Are people really that stupid? Apparently they are.

I am sure we can all get along out there but it would be a lot easier if some would put more effort into doing their part. But stupid is as stupid does and it is what it is. Try to be safe out there.

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BICYCLE TRAILS I HAVE RIDDEN

With over 110,000 miles of trail riding most of them have been on my local trails here in Fort Wayne, Indiana where I live. I have however managed to ride on a few other trails … mostly in northern Indiana. Among them are: Angola Trail, Auburn Trail, Decatur Rivergreenway, Pumpkinvine Nature Trail, Nickel Plate Trail, Panhandle Trail, Cardinal Greenway, and the Monon Trail. In Ohio I have ridden on the southernmost section of the Little Miami Scenic Trail. That is about it. It is certainly not a large number of trails. I know some riders have a huge number compared to me. I am just not in a position to travel about seeking out trails to ride like some do. Like I said, most of my trail riding is on my local trails. I will say this … I do know my local trails quite well … possibly better than anyone else who rides them.

I would love to ride on a lot more trails checking a new one out each day. If I were a rich man and not committed to my wife needing to be here for her I would be doing that very thing. I don’t know if anything will change once my wife retires. I am older than she is so I have been retired for a number of years. But you know, thinking about it I doubt very much if I would travel about to ride different trails and that is because I can’t sleep worth a darn in any bed other than my own. My body just can’t take it. So I have my answer … it ain’t gonna happen. I will just do my best to …

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BECKETTS RUN TRAIL … FORT WAYNE’S NEWEST TRAIL

Although it is only about 1.75 miles in length it is a welcome addition to our local trail system. And there is a plan to extend it and have it connect to the Pufferbelly Trail which will be great. Once that happens we will have a loop to ride instead of just a linear trail where we have to turn around and go back. Unfortunately that will probably be a very long way off before it becomes reality. I have not heard or read a recent report as to the total amount of miles our trail system is now but I am pretty sure it is about 130 miles now.

The St. Joe Pathway is on the east side of the St. Joe River. This new trail, Becketts Run, is on the west side of the river … at least for a ways before it turns westward following Becketts Run Creek.

The Becketts Run Trail is shown in red in the image below. It starts just north of St. Joe Center Rd. and currently ends at North Clinton St.

To ride to the trail one takes the St. Joe Pathway going under St. Joe Center Rd. Upon emerging on the north side of St. Joe Center Rd. the connecting ramp takes off at the 180 degree curve and runs alongside of St. Joe Center Rd.

To drive to the trailhead parking lot one needs to turn north off of St. Joe Center Rd. onto Martin Luther Drive which is the first road west of the St. Joe River. As it curves westward and goes back into the Lutheran Seminary the trail and trailhead parking lot can be seen on the right just past the chain link fence and tree row.

There is a nice paved parking lot at the start of the trail …

Here is the start of the trail …

Here is where the trail turns westward following the creek …

Here is my trike parked by the bridge over Becketts Run Creek …

And here is the creek. The picture was taken standing on the bridge.

Getting close to the end …

And here is the abrupt end of the trail … to be continued someday.

Here is a video I made today starting on the new ramp just constructed to get from the St. Joseph Pathway (part of the Rivergreenway) over to Becketts Run Trail. I apologize for the jerky video. It was the best I could do holding the camera in one hand as I rode along. I was getting bounced around pretty good.

Below is a picture of where the video starts at which is the connecting ramp off of the St. Joe Pathway. In this picture it was still under construction. The concrete had not yet been poured.

COME RIDE THE FORT WAYNE TRAILS

 

and here is the post I just made recently about this new connecting ramp …

THEY LISTENED TO ME … HARD TO BELIEVE

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THEY LISTENED TO ME … HARD TO BELIEVE

We have a new trail … the Becketts Run Trail … here in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Currently getting to it is rather dangerous as it requires crossing a very busy road. That will soon be resolved however as the city is building a concrete ramp to use which connects another nearby trail to the road one has to take to get to Becketts Run Trail. I observed how they intended to build it and sent an email to the person in charge of our trail system with the suggestion that they modify the ramp where it joins into the existing trail. They had it teeing in at a 90 degree angle maintaining the width of the ramp. I made the suggestion that they widen it out considerably where it meets up with the existing trail (red areas in image below). I said that it would make it a lot easier and safer for cyclists to turn on and off of the ramp.

I am very pleased to say that they redid it and flared it out as I suggested. For this to happen my email was forwarded to the city engineer. Apparently he agreed with me as the change was made. Right now as of last Friday it was formed up to pour the concrete, but it had not been poured yet. Hopefully this week it will be poured.

I know I for one will appreciate having this modification from what they were originally going to do. It is a good idea to get input from those who will actually use the trail. What they came up with on their own would not have been nearly as good as this will be. I am glad it didn’t fall on deaf ears this time. Hopefully sometime later this week I can start using it.

Update – As soon as I got done posting this I went for a ride. I rode out to this location and much to my surprise the concrete is not only poured but it is set up and usuable. How ’bout that sports fans? I assume they poured it Saturday.

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LET’S TAKE A RIDE

don’t know about you but I sometimes enjoy watching videos others have made of their rides, especially when they are featuring certain trails. It is extremely unlikely that I will ever be able to physically go there and ride on those trails myself so this is the next best thing. Featured here in this video are some nice trails down in Alabama.

Click HERE to see more of his videos.

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IF YA CAN’T ACTUALLY GO THERE …

I am sure that I am not alone when it comes to not being able to travel to various places to ride my trike. There are many trails I would love to ride but alas it is very unlikely to ever happen. The Withlacochee Trail in Florida is one of those trails I would like very much to ride. Since I am not likely to ever make the journey I very much enjoy watching good videos created by those who have gone there and ridden the trail. Here is one example …

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A FREE GIFT awaits you!

RAILS TO TRAILS CONSERVANCY

Many of us ride our trikes on former railroad property which has been converted over from “rails to trails”. It is a good use for the land that otherwise just sits there going to waste, not being used for anything. The neat thing about rail trails is that most abandoned railroad corridors are quite long so a trail could go on for a very long distance. And for those who are not crazy about hill climbing railroads were built with limited  grades for the trains to deal with so trails that are built on the railroad corridors don’t have any steep hills. I think a 2 % grade is typical for railroad corridors.

Of course, the railroad companies don’t usually give the land away. They sell it and it can get quite expensive. Building trails is quite expensive not taking into account purchasing the land involved.

With one exception all of our local trails where I live are not rail trails. One is a rail trail however and it is a great trail. It is even named after something to do with railroads. Years ago steam locomotives ruled the rails. They were affectionately nicknamed “Pufferbellies”. Our local rail trail is called the Pufferbelly Trail. There are not any pufferbelly trains running on it anymore but it quickly became the most used trail among the several different trail offerings we have here in the Fort Wayne, Indiana area. It is not completed yet. It still has a few miles to be paved on the north end of it as well as a few at the south end to connect to the section already built to the south. Our local trail, the Pufferbelly Trail, is part of a much longer trail yet to be built which when finished will be approximately 90 miles long connecting the  Ouabache State Park near Bluffton, In. in the south to Pokagon State Park north of Angola, In. near the Michigan State Line. Our local trail will be about 13 miles long when completed. Right now I think about 7 miles is completed. More will be built to the north this year.

Oops, I guess I was wrong. Here comes a pufferbelly train now. Don’t worry, I don’t think it can get past the bollard …

I just had to have some photo editing fun.

In all seriousness, a group known as Rails to Trails Conservancy has a Facebook page you might enjoy checking out.

https://www.facebook.com/railstotrails/

They also have a website. Click HERE to visit it.

Here is their stated mission: “At Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, we are building a nation connected by trails. We reimagine public spaces to create safe ways for everyone to walk, bike and be active outdoors.”

One rail trail which is quite intriguing is the Great American Rail Trail which when completed will span all the was across the nation … from Washington State to Washington, D.C.

On a personal note, I have ridden on a few rail trails and found that they can be great trails to ride on. However, I have also ridden on some that are lousy … worse than driving on the interstate thru Kansas … just straight with no shade trees and quite boring. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for building trails using railroad corridors. They help us to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

A FREE GIFT awaits you!

 

THE GREAT AMERICAN RAIL-TRAIL

Washington, D.C. to Seattle, Washington … some 3743.9 miles long. That is a long haul. Are you up to it? I know I am not. Oh, I could probably do the daily riding but it is what follows … trying to sleep anywhere besides my regular bed … that would cause me problems trying to do something like this. Anyway, they call it “The Great American Rail-Trail“. It is misleading as it is what is planned. It does not yet exist in it’s entirety. As is a common problem with trail building “connectivity” is the issue. It incorporates sections of existing trails. Other trails will need to be built to connect those sections to one another. Meanwhile anyone who wants to ride this cross country trail will have to use streets, roads and highways to get from one existing trail to another. Who knows … one may end up in a farmer’s field asking them-self “now what”? Truthfully I have not researched it enough to know what the plan is as far as connecting the existing trails together. If I were to guess at it I would say that some additional trails will be built while other areas will continue to use existing streets, roads and highways. But don’t quote me on this as I don’t know.

It will be passing through the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Washington.

It will take years to complete, but it is already more than 52 percent done with more than 1,900 miles of existing trails and approximately 1,700 miles yet to be built  between Washington, D.C. and Washington State. Of course, that 52 percent of completed trails is no doubt almost entirely incorporating existing trails which the plan is to connect together to make up this cross country route. Looking at the map one would think that there is far more than 52 percent completed.

It will great for those who can take advantage of it. I won’t be among them, but meanwhile I will take advantage of the local trails where I live and for as long as I can I will …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

A FREE GIFT awaits you!

There are a bunch of YouTube videos about this trail project.

YA CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE (trail closure)

After 5 days of not being able to get out and ride I finally made it out today … only to discover ya can’t get there from here … at least not by way of the bike trail. I rode about 14 miles on the trail when I came upon a closed gate and a barricade sign stating the road was closed. So I had to turn around and go back the way I had come. That pretty much ended my ride for the day. It was cold out there today and my hands were cold. I had other things I needed to do anyway so it worked out well.

Anyway, I just love it when construction people fail to put up signage back at the previous trail exit letting you know the trail is closed ahead. Oh well, I was out for exercise anyway. The reason the trail is closed is because the electric company has erected new poles and they are now in the process of pulling new wires up onto the poles. The wires will cross over the river as they go their merry way. Anyway, the entire project is suppose to last thru this month so there is a long way to go since it is early Dec. I will just have to deal with it. There are other trails to ride … thankfully. And there is a way around this area to get back onto that trail and ride the rest of it. It involves riding on and crossing some busy streets but I have done it many hundreds of times. So I am going to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

A FREE GIFT awaits you!

HEADWATERS PARK

The city of Fort Wayne, Indiana where I live was built on the confluence of three rivers … the Saint Joseph river which flows from the north, the Saint Marys river which flows from the south and turns east in the downtown area. These two rivers converge and form the third river, the Maumee river which flows east and then northeast and empties into Lake Erie at Toledo, Ohio.

With rivers come flooding and Fort Wayne has experienced some bad flooding over the years. One of the most memorable floods that happened in my lifetime was back in 1982 when downtown was flooded and then President Ronald Reagan visited and did a photo shoot of him lending a hand handling sand bags.

After that flood occurred “Headwaters Park” was built near downtown. It is designed to flood over and prevent the river’s floodwater from going into the city. I guess it works. I don’t recall seeing any more flooding downtown since. But then again I don’t recall seeing Headwaters Park flooded over either. Oh, I have seen flood water over portions of the park, but I have never seen the entire park flooded over. Anyway, it is a nice park with lots of paved trails running thru it. I have ridden on them many times.

Here is a picture taken from the north looking south. It only shows the northernmost portion of the park.

This photo must be “touched up” as I have never seen blue water in our rivers. They are all brown and nasty looking … nothing at all like this picture shows. BTW, the rivers are also nasty smelling. There is gobs of trees jammed up at bridges, etc. Maintenance is badly needed.

That is the MLK jr. Memorial Bridge which was built a few years ago to replace (upgrade) the old bridge across the St. Marys river on Clinton St. It is a beautiful bridge which lights up at night. It has several different colors of lights on it that can be turned on making it very attractive. Here is a video of it. At about the half way point (one minute into the video) they show the lighting.

Here is another video showing the bridge from the side as the lighting changes.

The park is divided in two by Clinton St. One can ride a trail to go under Clinton St. on the north end of the park to get from one side of the park to the other side. That is, if it is not flooded over. There is also a crosswalk with pedestrian traffic light control on Clinton St.

Here is a satellite image of the park (in the center of the image). You can see all the trails in the park.

And here is an aerial view of the park.

Here is a video I made of me riding my trike across the MLK jr. bridge and thru Headwaters Park.

The regular bicycle trails are close by running along the river. They are called the “Rivergreenway” because they are built along the rivers … all three rivers. They were the original trails built here in Fort Wayne. There are about 25 miles of them. They are nice but unfortunately they flood over all too often and the trails remain closed for some time as a result.

Here is a video I made several years ago as I rode to and thru Headwaters Park. I approached it from the west side this time. The area I am riding thru to get to it is all changed now as “Promenade Park” has been built there.

I have posted about this bridge and park once previously. You can read that post HERE. If you ever visit Fort Wayne and have your trike (or even bike) with you and would like to ride our trails I would be delighted to ride with you and help you navigate them. Just  email me initially to communicate. Yep, I know the trails like the back of my hand. Hey, where’d my hand go? 😉

tadpolerider2@gmail.com

Wherever you ride, do try to …

ENJOY THE RIDE! 

A FREE GIFT awaits you!

CHECKING OUT A FUTURE TRAIL

 

 I try to keep up with the news about trail construction where I live. One of the future trails is called Becketts Run. There is a small creek on the north end of the Becketts Run subdivision. This, of course, is where the name comes from. On the map above I have drawn a blue line showing the St. Joseph River. The black line is the St. Joseph Pathway. It is an existing trail. The red line is the future Becketts Run Trail. Right now it is still under construction. It is gravel the entire distance. I rode my trike on it today to check it out. It should be a really nice trail when it is done. I talked with a construction worker today who is the inspector of all the work going on. He said that it should be paved next April so it is only a few months off before it will be open. I am looking forward to it as it adds to the available trails to ride. It is fairly wild looking back in some areas. We have quite a lot of miles of trails already (over 120) but with too many of them there is no connectivity  making some of them impractical to get to and ride on. I have mentioned before that I like variety and hate monotony. So having more and more trails to ride on is great for me. This means that I can …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

and

ENJOY THE RIDE!

A FREE GIFT awaits you!

Hey BTW, today is Veterans Day in the United States and so I want to thank all military veterans for their service.

I salute you!

Yes, that’s me … circa mid 1960s.

I think  I could still fit into the hat today but not the rest of the uniform. 🙂

I thought you might find it interesting to see the photo that the above photo of me saluting was cropped out of. Notice that I am looking downward. Here is why …

It was Christmas time and I was back home on leave. This little boy in the navy uniform was the son of some friends of mine. We all thought it would make a cute picture of the two of us saluting each other.

I will allow our beloved President to have the last word …

CONVENTIONAL HIGHWAY VS. INTERSTATE HIGHWAY

Now I ask ya … which looks more inviting … the “interstate” on the left or the “conventional highway” on the right?

Most of us probably know that travelling on a conventional highway is slower but more scenic than travelling on an interstate highway. Interstate highways are usually thought to be rather boring in comparison. As for me I equate most rail trails to an interstate highway. They are usually pretty straight and relatively flat. I have always been a person who prefers variety. I can’t stand monotony. Working on an assembly line is not for me. Riding in a relatively straight line is oh so boring to me. I also like and appreciate good shade trees along the trail. I have ridden on some rail trails that don’t have any trees at all and in the hot summer it was miserable not having shade trees for relief from the scorching sun. Now I know that there are exceptions to all of this. Some rail trails offer curves, and scenery as well as good shade. Others, however, offer nothing but mile after mile of absolutely nothing of interest.

Here where I live and ride (Fort Wayne, Indiana) we only have one rail trail, the Pufferbelly Trail. I am pleased to say that it is an exception to most of what I mentioned. It has some curves in it and quite a bit of shade in  much of it. In fact, it is one of my favorite trails to ride.

And then there is the St. Joseph Pathway. For years we waited for the trail to be built on the west side of the St. Joe River. Meanwhile we rode on the east side of the river on the trail thru Purdue University property. It follows along the river making turns. It has always been a fun trail to ride on. They eventually got the trail built on the west side of the river but it is a straight line with no shade trees at all. When I ride on the St. Joe Pathway I usually ride on the west side of the river going one direction but on my return I usually ride back on the east side of the river as I just like riding on that trail. The west side is boring but the east side if fun to ride on. Yep, like riding on a conventional highway vs. an interstate highway. Interesting and fun vs. Boring! That is the way I see it and that is the way I call it. You may or may not agree. But deep down you know I am right, right?   

Hey, whatever trail you are travelling on …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

A FREE GIFT awaits you!