RAIL TRAILS CONSERVANCY revisted

Yes, I have written about this before. That was 7 years ago. Some of us have no trails near us to ride on. So sorry for you. Some of us have planned out bike trails which have been built which we can ride on. Some of us have rail trails near us we can ride on. And some of us have both types of  trails near us we can ride on. I am fortunate in that I have both near me … over 125 miles of trails. That being said rail trails may or may not be among my favorite trails to ride on. Rail trails are particularly interesting because they take advantage of existing “corridors” which are no longer in use by a railroad company. Because the route was laid out with trains traveling along them they don’t have sharp curves nor steep grades. So if you don’t like steep grades and sharp curves this is good for you. Train corridors may be fairly straight and without shade … neither of which appeal to me. I have ridden rail trails which I very much disliked because of these reasons. In a word … “BORING”! Just miles and miles of nothing of interest to see nor curves to break up the monotamy. And in hot weather … “MISERABLE”! … as there is no relief from the sun. And yet rail trails can have lots of curves, be very scenic and offer great shade making them great to ride on. At this point in time we only have one rail trail here in the Fort Wayne, Indiana area where I live. It is named the Pufferbelly Trail. It is a mixed bag. Most of it is fairly straight with no shade in parts of it while quite a lot of it has really nice shade.

If we play the game of “Let George Do It” we might find things going nowhere fast. The more ‘we the people’ get involved the more likely we will see progress made.

RTC (Rails Trails Conservancy) has lots of videos. And no, they are not all about raising funds, promoting and growing trails.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

LOOK AT ALL THE RECUMBENTS, ESPECIALLY TRIKES

want so much to go down to Florida to ride on the Withlacoochee State Trail and videos like this make me raring to go. I see all of the tadpole trikes on the trail and I want to join them. I would like to go there in February when the Big Honkin’ Trike Rally is going on. My wife said no to my going this coming Feb. but she said I can go in 2024. I sure hope so. It would be so neat to be a part of this.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

TRAILS ARE AWAITING!

Yes, trails are awaiting! I have been watching videos of some nice trails down in central Florida and wishing I was there at this time of year to ride them … ride them all.

Florida Hikes have a lot of nice videos of trails and other places one can check out Unfortunately they can’t be embedded on websites. You must view them on Vimeo.

Of course, YouTube has numerous videos on paved bicycle trails in Florida.

So many trails already exist and they continue to build more. I like that! That might even tempt me to move there … something I swore I would never do after spending a couple of years there while in the Navy. I might have to make some changes in my lifestyle … like getting up earlier and out riding before the heat of the day hits.

HERE is a list of bike trails in Florida. And HERE is another good source concerning bicycle trails in Florida.

To view this map in a larger size online click HERE.

Still the trail calling out my name the loudest is the Withlacoochee State Trail.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

REVISTING THE GREAT AMERICAN RAIL TRAIL PROJECT

Some progress is being made on the Great American Rail-Trail. It is quite a project. I first wrote about it a couple of years ago . Click HERE to view it. From the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., to Seattle, Washington one will be able to ride the entire distance on paved trails. It is reported to be about 53 % completed at this time. That is not really much of an increase as it was just over 52 % two years ago when I first wrote about it.

And here are a couple on bicycles riding on some of the existing route …

David has a total of 11 videos of his Great American Rail-Trail ride in case you want to watch any more of them.

With so many of us having electric motors on our bikes and trikes that becomes a major concern and consideration as our batteries need to be recharged. I would say that we are pretty much on our own as far as having a means of accomplishing this. Buying some sort of generator or other power supply can be expensive and can be heavy weight to carry along with us. Yet it is a necessity. I know that there is solar power but personally I don’t think it is very practical.

I doubt if I will ever ride the Great American Rail-Trail. I consider myself as having done well to have ridden the trails I have in the past when I was younger. And some of those trails are part of this Great American Rail-Trail project as they are using as many of the existing trails as they can in the route planning.

Click HERE to visit their website.

Click HERE to visit the routing in each individual State.

 Since I live in Indiana I am featuring Indiana’s part in this.

Click HERE to check out the State of Indiana. The report shows great detail. All States involved are available to view.

As the legend indicates the blue lines are existing trails being used. The red lines indiate gaps requiring connecting trails to be constructed. Indiana does not have much needing to be done. Some States have a whole lot of trails needing to be built. I wonder how popular it will be. Do you think you might ride it someday?

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

 

MULTI-USE TRAILS

Although we often call them bike trails most are multi-use trails intended for walkers, runners, skateboarders, roller skaters, and bicyclists. Some trails also allow horses. I have never had a discussion with anyone about this but I bet if we were honest we would say that we as cyclists would prefer they were strictly bike trails. And walkers would say they would prefer if no bicycles were allowed. I can understand why as many cyclists display bad discourteous  manners and give cyclists a bad name. Of course, most walkers do the same. And watching videos of various trails I have noticed that people are the same all over the world. Then I recall the famous words … “Can’t we all just get along?” I would be the first to admit that it is quite challenging. People aren’t going to change.

Multi-use trails don’t include sharing the pavement with airplanes, right? Or does it? This cyclist definitely has a front row seat. I am pretty sure that is closer than I would care to be.

Some animals I am thrilled to share the trail with …

And some I want no part of. I am glad I don’t have to share the trail with this guy …

And another …

And another …

And another …

 

Unfortunately there are too many vicious acting dogs out there and many of them are not on a leash like the law requires.

And another …

I don’t mind small harmless snakes but this fella (or gal) I find intimidating.

And some more …

Even our fellow cyclists can be a royal pain …

Cars are not allowed on trails, but that doesn’t mean that we won’t encounter them …

A friend of mine told me about a car passing him on a trail. He estimated the car was doing about 30 mph. I have only seen motorscooters and motorcycles which, of course, are not allowed either.

And hopefully we won’t be party to a police chase while riding along the trail …

That could have some really bad results.

So I guess one could say that there is good and bad in multi-use trails. I reckon that is true of just about everything in life. Dirty Harry said it … “go ahead, make my day” … only I would alter it … “help me to make your day”. Since we all have to share the trails together may we make the effort to make each other’s day. It is not easy dealing with others but we really need to make the effort. And may God add His blessing!

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

USING GOOGLE TO CHECK OUT TRAILS

Did you know that some trails are available to view on Google Street View? Yep, you can actually go right onto the trail with the camera as though you were actually there. The picture up above is of the Maumee Pathway in Fort Wayne, Indiana using the Google Street View feature. It is a great feature for checking out trails. You can move along the trail in either direction or look off to the sides and zoom in to see what it there. Only the trails that someone has gone to the trouble to video using the Google camera setup loaned out to them by Google are available to view in Street View. I have used this feature to check out several trails. I have “virtually ridden” entire trails and familiarized myself with them without ever leaving my home here in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I feel like I know the Floral City-Inverness, Florida area fairly well as a result of using Google, especially Street View. I think if I were to actually go there I could readily navigate my way around this area including driving on the highways and streets.

Some of Fort Wayne’s trails are available to view on Google Street View. Years ago our assistant Trails manager and another city employee undertook the task of videoing some of our trails. I posted an article about it showing the camera equipment as they were using it.

I have been talking about the Withlacoochee State Trail in Florida lately. I have spent more time viewing it on Google Street View than any other trail as I want so very much to go there and ride it. I may never get to but I have already done it on Google … not once but several times. Just last night I did so.

To use Google Street View to check out a trail you simply click on the Street View icon and hold  the left button down on the mouse to drag the icon onto the place you want to view. You can only view those places which are shown with blue lines. If the trail does not turn into a blue line it has not been videoed and is not available to view in Street View. In the image below I have drug the Street View icon over onto the Maumee Pathway. It is circled in red.

To go to Street View all I need to do is release the left button of the mouse on the blue line and it will go to Street View.

Once in Street View I can use the mouse to turn the view 360 degrees. I can pan up or down. I can advance in either direction along the trail by using the mouse to click on the chevron in the white circle. It can be moved up or down the trail to move faster (farther distance) or slower (less distance). I can also zoom in much closer to take a look at something such as a sign. Here is the same image as above only it has been zoomed in. There is a compass displayed which illustrates which direction the viewer is looking. It can be changed.

For trails which are not available in Street View you can simply use the satellite image mode and zoom in on the trail. It is not as good as Street View but it works somewhat.

BTW, I read that people can also use their own 360 camera to “film” a trail and then submit it to Google.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

BIG HONKIN TRIKE RALLY

Recently I posted an article about the Withlacoochee State Trail. One of the advantages of being down in that area is being able to attend the Big Honkin’ Trike Rally which is held in February and lasts 7 days. It is held in Inverness, Florida which is right by the trail near the half way point of the 46 mile long trail. Below are videos of the event from 2020. It is set up to where participants can pretty much do as they want as far as riding the trail. One can ride as much and as far as they want … or as little. The event simply brings recumbent riders together.

And here is someone else’s video of the event …

And this was posted on Facebook:
FINALLY!!! HERE IS THE ITINERARY FOR THE RALLY!!!
Big Honkin’ Trike Rally, Inverness, FL 2023
This Trike Rally is a non-sponsored, non-supported and loosely organized event for mainly recumbent trike riders. The rally will last from Sunday, Feb 19, 2023, to Saturday, Feb 25, 2023. Participants can attend on one day or several. A list of area bike trails will be available in case you wish to explore other area trails. Participants can ride by themselves or in their own groups on any of the trails, or ride with the main group at the listed time and day. All rides will be out and back, so riders can ride at their own pace and distance. Wednesday, Feb 22 there will be no group ride as this is for participants to visit local attractions or ride on their own.
There is no fee and only one organized event – a barbeque meet and greet provided Sunday afternoon (Feb 19, 2023) by the Traveling Trikers/Citrus Cyclepaths group, free of charge to all persons attending the event. All are encouraged to attend this meet and greet where you can get to know some of your fellow trikers from around the country.
All rides will originate from the Depot (under the water tower) at Wallace Brooks Park, 208 N. Mill Ave, Inverness. All miles noted on the rides will be figured from the Depot.
A couple of administrative items: Please obey all trail rules and signage which include riding in single file when meeting, passing or being passed by other trikes/bikes or pedestrians (joggers, walkers), and always alert those you are passing with “On your left!” or bicycle bell. There are several road crossings on the Withlacoochee and other trails marked with stop signs for bikes. If vehicles are approaching, they have the legal right of way – however, most vehicles in this area are familiar with the trails and bikes and will stop to let you cross (do not take this for granted). Be sure the driver sees you and is definitely stopping for you before you proceed. If you are riding in a large group, please “double up” at these intersections in order to cross as quickly as possible.
NOTE: All rides are out and back, so distances are for total length, but anyone can turn around at any time to ride whatever they are comfortable with. No pressure on distance or speed!!
Sunday, Feb 19, 10 AM – NORTH WITHLACOOCHEE – meet at Depot for quick welcome ceremony and then ride the Withlacoochee Trail north from Depot to end of trail – approximately 32 miles round trip.
3:00 PM – Meet and Greet barbeque at 4382 E Amsterdam St/4361 E Bennett St (outdoors in back yards), Inverness – free of charge for rally attendees. Follow the pink arrows from the trail.
Monday, Feb 20, 9 AM – N. WITHLACOOCHEE/BLUE RUN TRAIL – travel on your own or meet at Depot in vehicles (trikes loaded) and convoy about 15 miles to the Gulf Junction Trailhead, 2233 W Magenta Dr, Citrus Springs FL 34434, to ride N. Withlacoochee Trail to Blue Run Trail connector– approximately 24 miles round trip. Return for lunch (on your own).
Tuesday, Feb 21, 9 AM – (drive out time if you plan to follow us!!) – SANTOS TRAIL – travel on your own OR meet at Depot parking lot in vehicles (with trikes loaded) and convoy about 30 miles to the Santos Trail, Landbridge Trailhead, 11100 SW 16th Ave, Ocala FL. Santos Trail is about 30 miles long round trip and is a hilly, curvy and fun trail to ride. However, if you do not have e-assist or are not a strong rider, we recommend you pick another trail to ride on this day, as the hills can be very challenging.
Wednesday, Feb 22 – OFF DAY. Enjoy the sights, visit Orlando (Disney World, Universal Studios, etc), Tampa (beaches, shopping, etc) or ride other area trails.
Thursday, Feb 23, 9 AM – SOUTH WITHLACOOCHEE – depart Depot and ride south on the Withlacoochee Trail to the end (or as far as you feel comfortable) – approximately 60 miles round trip. On your return ride, Mike and Susan Gaeta will be hosting a free hot dog social at their home in Floral City from 11:30 – 1:30. If you plan to attend, please be sure you turn around in time to reach the restrooms on the trail at Floral City by 1:00. From the restrooms, follow the pink “BHT” arrows to 8898 E Washington Lane. From restrooms, ride through the parking lot, take a left out of the parking lot to stop sign. Turn left and then first right (E Marvin St) in front of the school. Stay on Marvin for 4 blocks and turn left on S Annie Terrace. (Remember: follow the “BHT” signs) Their house is the last one on the left at the lake.
Friday, Feb 24, 9 AM (drive out time!!) – WITHLACOOCHEE BAY TRAIL – depart Depot and drive to 10247 N Suncoast Blvd, Crystal River, FL, approximately 25 miles. Trail is 7 miles long one way. Follows the abandoned cross-Florida canal. Short, scenic and ends at the Gulf of Mexico overlook.
Saturday, Feb 25 – Pack up and say “GoodBye” to Inverness! We hope you have enjoyed your visit!! Travelin’ Trikers
OTHER TRAILS IN THE AREA YOU MIGHT WANT TO CONSIDER: (Google for more info)
SUNCOAST PARKWAY, Lecanto FL (10 miles from Depot) Trail is approximately 60 miles long one way, almost to Tampa. Parallels turnpike, not too scenic but if you want to ride fast, this is the trail.
WEST ORANGE TRAIL, Winter Garden FL (52 miles from Depot) Trail is 22 miles long one way. Nice trail through scenic Winter Garden area.
VAN FLEET TRAIL, Polk City FL (74 miles from Depot). Trail is 29 miles long one way. It is very flat and straight, but with lots of opportunity to see interesting wildlife as you cross the Green Swamp.
GAINESVILLE/HAWTHORNE TRAIL – Gainesville/Hawthorne Trail, 874 SE 4th St, Gainesville FL, approximately 65 miles from the Depot. This is a very scenic trail, mostly flat (a couple of hills) and fun to ride. It is approximately 34 miles round trip. After ride, there are several restaurants in the local area.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

Withlacoochee State Trail: This might be Florida’s best bike trail

MLK Jr. had a dream. I have one also. My dream is someday I will be able to ride this trail. Unlike some folks I have never been a person with a “bucket list” but I readily admit that I do have this one strong desire.

I titled this using the same title of an article I just read about this trail. I am not copying the article … only using its title. Over the years I have spent many hours  researching about this particular trail which intrigues and entices me so much. I like the idea of being able to ride such a long distance. My plan would be to start my ride in the Floral City area which is about in the middle of the 46 mile long trail. From there I could go north or south and have about the same distance. 23 miles out and back would make for a 46 mile ride which sounds ideal for a day’s worth of riding. As a bonus one can often see various kinds of wildlife on or near the trail.

This map shows the area of Florida this trail is located.

It is my understanding that this trail is popular with many tadpole trike riders. That really appeals to me as I would like to be able to ride with others.

And in Floral City right next to the trail one can find “TrailSide Trikes“. They not only sell and service several different brands of tadpole trikes but they are there as friends to trikers. Many trikers meet together there. Trail rides are offered as well as some events at their location. I would love to be a part of that.

SHOP IS DEFINITELY CONVENIENTLY LOCATED RIGHT ALONGSIDE OF TRAIL

I may never see my dream fulfilled but I am not giving up on it. I am almost 76 years old so time is slipping away. They even have a pretty fancy outhouse alongside the trail.

It is my understanding that much of the trail is shaded, especially the northern half. I like that! Also I read that the scenery along this trail is better than most. I like that also!

One thing that I read which I don’t care for is that portions of the trail have horse trails alongside of the paved trail. That ruins bike trails in my opinion. In fact, I think it ruins it for everybody including the horses.

A few years ago they had some unwelcome activity on the trail which I hope never happens again. A police chase occurred in the Floral City-Inverness area. I wrote about it at the time.

That is a little more excitement than I care for. That tadpole triker was spared but that is too close for comfort. That would scare most of us half to death. BTW, if you watch the first video I posted the pickup truck the police are chasing turns off onto the trail at about 6 minutes and 5 seconds into the video. (This is where I start the video in the link above.) He goes on and off of the trail several different times. What makes this scenario all the more dangerous is that there is a rural road and a highway which run alongside of the trail not far away. If a trail user heard sirens he would naturally think that the police cars are over on one of the roads and not on the trail.

Every February the Big Honkin’ Trike Rally is held in Inverness, Florida. It lasts 7 days and brings recumbent riders together with a more less open schedule where they can meet up with other riders and ride as much and as far on the trail as they care to. I have an article about this rally scheduled to be published Nov. 16th. (The link to the article won’t work until the 16th.)

And a 10 mile extension trail named “The Good Neighbor Trail” has been built connecting the Withlacoochee State Trail to  Brooksville, Florida.

Yes, indeed … I can identify with this. One of those trikes could be mine. I can dream anyway. Yes, I have a dream …

that someday I will be seen on my trike on the Withlacoochee State Trail. I have even thought about moving down there … something I swore I would never do as I don’t like heat, humidity and insects galore. I could handle snowbirding but I could never afford it.  But I can dream …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

STUPID LAWS … THEY ARE JUST WEEDS

Part of our newest trail, Becketts Run, goes thru a declared “Wetland Area” and so the trail can’t be maintained along the sides like is normally done. Instead they put up these ridiculous signs and just let the weeds grow. And that is all that is there … weeds. It sure would be nice if they could mow it but the Federal Government says no. If there were something there I could understand and  go along with it, but as I said … it’s just weeds. It doesn’t look a bit different than nearby areas along the trail that they do mow. It would all be a bunch of weeds if they didn’t mow it. Some laws are just stupid. Areas where they are allowed to mow look  the same as those where they are not allowed to mow. Go Figure as they say. Nope, it makes no sense to me.

By definition this area does not meet the requirements of a wetland area so I don’t understand why it is declared a wetland area. This much I know … it is not any fun getting smacked in the face by various forms of vegatation growing out over the trails. It is simply stupid in my opinion and entirely unnecessary.

Hey, speaking of stupid laws I read that it is against the law in the State of Indiana to stand up  and pedal a bicycle. … the rider must remain seated while riding a bicycle. Yep, it is a law still on the books from long long ago.

You know what they say … “ya can’t change city hall” … so I guess I will just keep on getting smacked in the face as I plan to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

 

 

CANAL ROUTES

Long before you and I were born there existed transportation canals. They were man made. Most of them are gone now but some of our bike trails have been built along some of them. Here where I live in Fort Wayne, Indiana the Wabash-Erie Canal passed thru.

We have at least 4 local trails that go along the paths of these canals. If I had not researched a little bit about this canal I would have remained totally ignorant of it. The Wabash-Erie Canal pretty much followed along near the Maumee River from Lake Erie near Toledo, Ohio  to Fort Wayne. From Fort Wayne it continued on southwest to the Wabash River and followed it southward until it headed back southeast to the White River. It ended at the Ohio River at Evansville, Indiana for a total distance of 497 miles. Perhaps you noticed that the sign shows the canal as being only 468 miles long instead of the 497 I stated above. I don’t know which is correct, but 497 is what I read online. On the map far above you can see the several canals that used to exist. The picture below shows a typical canal boat used on the canals. They were drawn by a team of horses or mules from the shore alongside of the canals. Those paths were called “towpaths”. There are some modern day trails  which have “Towpath” in their name. We have one right here in Fort Wayne.

The canal was abandoned in 1874, sold in 1877, and its path through Fort Wayne sold in 1881 to the Nickel Plate Railroad for its roadbed. The last boat was seen on the canal in 1882. Historical Society Marker

I read that these draft animals can pull 50 times more weight on a boat in water than they could if it were on  a wagon on land.

Along the Towpath Trail there are still some remains of the canal. I have ridden past there hundreds of times and never realized  this. Just yesteday I found out about it.

For what it is worth right after I composed this article I rode the Towpath Trail again looking for signs of a former canal. I stopped and got off of my trike and walked over to the area shown circled, but I saw no sign of a canal ever being there.

From the St. Joseph River a “feeder canal” was built taking water from the St. Joe River down into downtown Ft. Wayne to provide additional water to the Wabash-Erie Canal. The St. Joseph Pathway and Becketts Run Trail  follow alongside of it in places. I have seen sections of this feeder canal as it is quite obvious.

 

In the picture above the red line indicates the Saint Joseph Pathway as it passes thru Purdue University property. The yellow line indicates the feeder canal. It runs in a straight line all the way up to where it connected to the St. Joe River further up north of Becketts Run Trail in what used to be called Robinson Park. It is all gone today as it has been made into a housing subdivision. The blue line indicates the west bank of the St. Joe River. The picture below is of the same area. You can see the water filled canal running alongside of the bike trail.

Here is a sign concerning the feeder canal along Becketts Run Trail.

This is a modern day replica of a canal boat. This one is made of aluminum and is used to offer rides to those wanting to take a river cruise aboard it here in Fort Wayne. There is a monetary charge for it. It operates mainly on the Saint Marys River and it docks downtown at Prominade Park.

I find it interesting that the Towpath Trail is named after the towing path alongside the canal used by the horses and mules to pull the canal boats, but there is nothing to see as you ride the trail. If there was a canal out there with banks alongside the horses and mules walked on I sure don’t know where it is and I have ridden it hundreds of times. I have often wondered about it. If anything is there to see I am not aware of it. The next time I ride out on the Towpath Trail I am going to look harder to see if anything is there.

I posted an article awhile back about a tadpole trike ride along the Erie Canal. There are several YouTube videos documenting the ride and the remains of the canal.

I contacted a key person with our trails asking if any map is available that shows the former route of the canal and our trails. I was told that none exist but another person came up with a map in a .pdf file format which I have been unsuccessful in posting here. However, I saved it as a .jpg format which I can post here.

If you live near so that you can get to ride near any of these old canals used to exist you might want to check them out to see what remains of them.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

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’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

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’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

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.

Poka-Bache Connector info

Wells County trail info

PBS Indianapolis news article

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.

UPDATE: 1/26/23I just received word via an email that construction will begin next week on the remaining portion to be built to the north. They will get it ready over the Winter and Sping and pave it when it warms up. That is really welcome news. Now if Dekalb County will get their two connecting sections built the trail will be rideable up to Waterloo at least.

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 at the north end of the barn type building.

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.

Above is a bridge on the Poka-Bache Connector trail in Bluffton, Indiana which is at the sound end of the trail.

Riding north on undeveloped train track corridor. See my update above. This will soon be developed and paved when warmer weather arrives.

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’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

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.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

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 …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT AWAITS YOU!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

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.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

A FREE GIFT awaits you!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

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.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

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.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

You are invited to come join the Tadpole Rider Facebook Group. Please note that in order to join you must first answer the two membership vetting questions and agree to comply with the group rules.

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.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

A FREE GIFT awaits you!

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 …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

A FREE GIFT awaits you!