One of the things that really influenced our decision to move to Ogden was the opportunity to combine bicycles with transit and cover significant distances without a car. I knew it was just a matter of time before I’d cycle the 1.5 miles from my front door to the Frontrunner depot in downtown Ogden, roll my bike onto the train to Salt Lake City and then pedal off the other end to a business appointment. It turns out that today was the day.
I left at 10:45 to catch the 11:07 train. Since it’s all down hill, I made it with about ten minutes to spare. I have a UTA pass, so I simply swiped it to pay my fare ($5.50 one way vs. the $25 the IRS says it would have cost me to drive) and rolled onto the bike car. Many UTA trains have multiple bike cars. This one only had one and it was crowded.
I took advantage of the 50 minute train ride to answer some emails and update my calendar. When I got to SLC, I rolled off and rode the four miles to my appointment at the Bike Collective on West Temple S. It was my first time navigating downtown and it was a lot of fun. I really am starting to enjoy riding in urban cores, having done so in Lincoln, Omaha and Indianapolis recently. I even got to ride through one of America’s first Dutch Junctions at 200 W and 300 S!
I knew before I ever left home that the train would be strictly a one way deal today. I would be cycling back to Ogden…all 50 miles. The weather was perfect…mid 70s and high hazy sun. The guys at the Collective suggested that I go look at the new pedestrian promenade along the S line streetcar to Sugar House so I did. One thing I really like about the Front is that every new road and transit project has an active element to it. It will be like this everywhere soon. I’m glad it’s like this here now.
I left the Collective for Ogden and navigated city streets until I picked up the Jordan River Parkway at State Fairpark on West Temple. From there, the Parkway runs north to I-215 where it connects with the Legacy Trail and eventually that runs into the Denver & Rio Grande Western Rail Trail which leads to Roy and Ogden.
I enjoyed the ride, even though I was on the wrong bike (mountain bike with 2.75″ wide tires) to cover 50 miles. I especially liked the Legacy Parkway portion. In fact, I couldn’t help but think that this is how the Dutch do it. It was that good.
What was so great about it? Well, for starters, it’s integrated into a freeway project. This is no small thing. It sends a powerful message that bikes are transportation. ..every bit as important as cars. Every time someone in a car sees someone going to the store or work on a bicycle, a seed is planted. The Legacy Trail is planting some serious seeds.
There’s more. These trails included numerous connections to neighborhoods and business centers. Along the Legacy Parkway portion, there were no street crossings. The path tunneled under most cross streets so cyclists like me could make good time.
Just as importantly, the quality of the trail itself was top notch. It is obviously maintained to the same standard as the adjacent highways…maybe better. That sends a message, too.
I’d ride with or without infrastructure. It doesn’t matter to me, but it does matter to a lot of other people. It brings great joy to me to see something like I saw today. I covered 100 miles, 45 by train and 55 by bike. I saved a little money. I had a lot of fun. I feel better now than when I left home this morning. It’s hard to believe that it was only four years ago that I got back on the bike and rode ten miles one day after work after many years away. So much has changed since then. I now know without a doubt that my bicycle can take me anywhere on the planet I need to go.
Bicycles are part of the solution to America’s transportation woes. Given the right tools, the right culture, the right environment, people will park their cars and bike to where they’re going. I’ve seen it. I’ve done it. I’m going to do it a lot more. You , too, I hope. Now is the time. The more of us there are, the faster it will happen. Saddle up. Let’s ride.