Looking out my window at three to four inches of snow overnight, I know that officially we still have another month of winter in Northern Colorado. I really love the snow, but my thoughts are also turning towards spring when the weather becomes more moderate, and we can ride our bikes again. In Larimer County alone, we have numerous completed paved trails and partially developed ones, amounting to more than 100 miles of trail riding.
Bike riding has been one of several recreational ways we’ve seen parts of the United States and the world. Most times, when we plan a trip abroad, we consult our travel guides to find opportunities to bike. Whether it’s teaming up with friends or going it alone, it’s allowed us to experience places up close and personal in a way that we might not otherwise have done. I’m always in awe of the beauty and grandeur and sometimes people we meet along the way that God has allowed us to enjoy.
In the United States, a group called the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy came together more than three decades ago to establish a network of trails throughout all 50 states by making use of old and abandoned railroad beds as the backbone of the system. Today, there are 2,222 open rails-to-trails for nearly 25,000 miles of multi-use trail, and another 845 projects in development to add more than 9,000 miles of trails to explore. These trails connect stunning rural and mountain settings with vibrant urban centers. In real ways, the RTC has motivated an economic resurgence of neighborhoods and regions by opening up corridors to long-ago forgotten places. You can find out what trails exist in all fifty states by going to https://www.railstotrails.org.
The Katy Trail in Missouri brings back fond memories and is an excellent example of how the RTC has linked quaint rural communities. We joined with two other couples to ride more than 180 miles of a 240-mile trail from Sedalia to St. Louis, Missouri in 8 days. Along the way, we stopped to enjoy the history and nuance of small communities during the day and relaxed in lovely bed and breakfasts each night. Since our ride was in October, we stayed an extra night in Hermann to participate in the activities of their month-long celebration of Octoberfest and enjoy wine tasting at boutique vintners nearby.
For several years, Colorado has enjoyed being ranked the number 1 most active state in the union, and RTC has helped give us that edge by making available an extensive trail network in urban, remote, and mountain regions.
If you and your family are inclined towards an active lifestyle and enjoy biking, I encourage you to check out the outstanding opportunities wherever you go. Some of the most amazing trails may even be in your own neighborhood.