"Dear Winter, I am breaking up with you! I think it’s time I started seeing other seasons. P.S.: Summer is hotter than you…"
- WindSpirit Moonwolf
It is cold in Chicago! Thus, as a service to its Loyal Subscribers (LS), Management at MILES PEDDLED (MP) is happy to provide the JANUARY/FEBRUARY edition of MP which is: WARM WEATHER BIKING (U.S. VERSION). Playlist suggestion: VITAMIN D by Keke Palmer.
Before we get to the subject matter at hand, some updates from past editions of MP and Management has some useful information to pass on to its LS.
First the update. As all of the LS to MP will recall, with a little help from their Prevagen, the inaugural issues of MP dealt with the use of e-bikes. See the digital version of MP at: https://www.milespeddled.com for the May 2021 Edition of MP entitled E-BIKES, ARE THEY CHEATING?. Since that very inciteful edition of MP was published, several LS have purchased e-bikes to use in conjunction with, but not in lieu of, their analog bikes. Most recently, the RAINMAN (RM) with his spectacular riding mate and muse, purchased two AVENTON SOLTERA Class II e-bikes.
As stated by RM:
What hill, what wind? Why did I wait so long to join the electric revolution?
Playlist suggestion: ARE WE ELECTRIC by the Kooks.
Now onto some additional information. Management at MP strives to provide its LS with helpful biking aids such as DMAPS and reviews from the MILES PEDDLED INSTITUTE. Along those lines, MP highly recommends that its LS join the ADVENTURE CYCLING ASSOCIATION which can be found at: https://www.adventurecycling.org. ADVENTURE CYCLING (AC) is a 50,000 member strong organization working to build a better future for cyclists. They provide the following resources:
· 50,000 miles of bicycle routes throughout the United States and Canada.
· Advocacy campaigns for bicyclist safety.
· Guided tours to make planning easy.
· An award winning magazine full of inspiration and gear reviews, some would say on par with MILES PEDDLED.
Join AC and start your adventure. Playlist suggestion: ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME by Coldplay.
Now to the trails.
It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you heave to sweat up hills and can coast down them.
- Ernest Hemingway
1. KATY TRAIL
The east end the trail starts just to the east of St. Louis and it continues through North Central Missouri parallel to the Missouri river to Kansas City, Missouri. Use Google Maps or the more enhanced DMAPS to obtain more information.
In March, the average high temperature is 56 degrees. Perfect biking weather.
The Katy Trail is 237 miles long stretching across most of the State of Missouri. Over half of the trail’s length follows the Lewis and Clark path parallel to the Missouri River. The crushed limestone trail will take you beneath towering river bluffs while eagles soar overhead. After leaving the river the trail meanders through peaceful farmlands and smalltown America.
· Playlist: K-K-K KATY by The Blazers and Bob Wilson.
2. THE BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY AND SOUTHERN APPALACHIANS
Asheville, North Carolina. Plan your own trip using AC or use a travel planner such as BACKROADS, DUVINE or TREKTRAVEL.
Average March temperature high is 59 degrees.
With the help of AC (or for the less intrepid LS a tour company) you would use Asheville as your home base and explore the mountains of Western North Carolina where you will find the highest peak east of the Mississippi. Travel along ancient rivers with breathtaking views and waterfalls, all along incredibly scenic roads and trails. At night, in Ashville take in some old-time Bluegrass music and taste some of the local brews. Asheville was voted “Beer City U.S.A.” 4 years in a row.
· Playlist: ROCKY TOP by Osborne Brothers.
3. TEXAS HILL COUNTRY
On the east side your home base would be Austin. On the west side your home base would be Fredericksburg, Texas.
The average March temperature is 74 degrees.
There are many trails to explore in a self-guided tour in and around Austin including the Blue Hole Park Loop Trail, San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance, Guadalupe River State Park, Madrone Trail, and Hancock Trail.
Austin was rated one of the top bicycling cities in America by FORBES TRAVEL and MILES PEDDLED INSTITUTE. A self-guided tour in and around Austin will allow you to take in the funky art scene and fantastic food; and during the evening you will discover why Austin is known as the “Live Musical Capital of the World.”
Another option is to use Fredericksburg as your home base and explore the Texas wine country. You will cycle through beautiful rolling hills with lavender fields and each day return to the small town charm of the quaint German village of Fredericksburg.
Best of all, if you choose the Texas Hill Country as your destination, you will be able to visit ICEMAN, RIGHTEOUS MAMMA, THE TEACHER and THE GREEK GOD. With a little forewarning these wonderful LS would be happy to take you on a tour.
· Playlist: AUSTIN NIGHTS by Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash.
4. Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park
Home base will be Palm Springs, California. Average high temperature in March is 81 degrees.
Ride one of the many trails in and around Palm Springs to enjoy the mid-Century architectural gems. At night, in the town born and raised by Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, sip cocktails like a lounge singer in style.
Make sure to make the trip to close by JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK. During the day bike around the park and take in the stunning beauty. At night, unfurl a blanket and gaze up at the starry night.
Added bonus, plan ahead and RAINMAN would be happy to show you around town.
· Playlist: SUMMER WIND by Frank Sinatra.
Time for the Trivia/Quiz section. What cyclist does not love a good trail? No cars in sight, scenic nature, and a long un-interrupted ride. Playlist suggestion: FREE by Donavon Frankenreiter.
Many of the best trails are part of the RAILS TO TRAILS network. It all began in the mid-1960’s as train tracks were abandoned and a movement began to pull out the tracks, grade the land and use the passage for biking and hiking. The first two Rails to Trails were opened in 1965. Which of the following were the first and second RAILS to TRAILS to open in the US?
· Badger Trail - Wisconsin
· Tunnel Hill Trail –Illinois
· Elroy Sparta Trail - Wisconsin
· Kal-Haven Trail – Michigan
· Prairie Path - Illinois
The answers to this quiz, along with the TOP TEN BEST LONG RAIL TRAILS IN THE U.S., as rated by BICYCLING MAGAZINE, will be in the postscript section.
TEASE TIME: Spring is the best time to kayak in the Midwest. Hence, the March Edition of MP will be an update to COMBO BIKING AND KAYAKING ADVENTURE. Playlist suggestion: MY KAYAK AND ME by Brant N. Miller.
Time to go, but remember: “Live your life as if you are ready to say goodbye to it at any moment, as if the time left for you were some pleasant surprise.” - Marqus Aurelius. Make the most of the surprise and remember to R, R & R!
Answers to Trivia/Quiz Section:
The Rails to Trails movement would see its formal birth with the opening of the Elroy-Sparta State Trail in 1965 and the opening of the Illinois Prairie Path soon thereafter.
According to Bicycling Magazine, with a little help from DMANOPEDIA, the top ten best long Rails to Trails in the U.S. are as follows:
· GREAT ALLEGHANY PASSAGE – LENGTH 150 MILES
· KATY TRAIL – LENGTH 240 MILES
· WASHINGTON AND OLD DOMINION RAILROAD REGIONAL TRAIL – LENGTH 45 MILES
· SILVER COMET TRAIL AND CHIEF LADIGA TRAIL – LENGTH 95 MILES
· LITTLE MIAMI SCENIC TRAIL – LENGTH 78 MILES
· PAUL BUNYAN STATE TRAIL – LENGTH 115 MILES
· WABASH TRACE NATURE TRAIL – LENGTH 63 MILES
· GREENBRIAR RIVER TRAIL – LENGTH 78 MILES
· TRAIL OF THE COEUR D’ALENES – LENGTH 73 MILES
· GEORGE S. MICKELSON TRAIL – LENGTH 114 MILES
PLAYLIST SUGGESTION: ROAD TO NOWHERE by Talking Heads.