It’s Getting Better All the Time

I was back in Ogden today after a whirlwind 36 hour trip to Chicago. I flew there to meet my daughter and help her drive back to Utah.  My wife and I didn’t want to roll the dice and hope she made it across Wyoming alone as the weather on the High Lonesome can be quite unpredictable this time of year.  As it turned out, it was beautiful, if a little windy.  When isn’t it windy in Wyoming?

Over the last year, I’ve taken this trip four or five times now.  I’ve cycled around town in Omaha and Council Bluffs, Lincoln and Cheyenne.  I’ve also ridden on the plains around Marysville Kansas, Kearney Nebraska and Julesburg Colorado.  Most people don’t think of this as bicycle country but it is and becoming more so, it seems, every time I cross.

Take Des Moines, for example.  The city is the hub of a regional trail network that links far flung small towns with the state capital.  Iowa already has a great bicycling tradition with RAGBRAI, but it seems to be getting better all the time.

Downtown Des Moines and the Iowa Women of Achievement Bridge.  Photo:  By BarbaraLN (Flickr: Skyline) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Downtown Des Moines and the Iowa Women of Achievement Bridge. Photo: By BarbaraLN (Flickr: Skyline) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

The same is true in Nebraska.  When I rode the Blue Ride River Trail from Marysville Kansas to the Nebraska state line last year, the Chief Standing Bear Trail was just opening.  Now you can ride all the way from the Kansas line to Lincoln on a series of dedicated trails.  Advocates are filling in the missing links between Lincoln and Omaha on the MOPAC Trail.  There’s a  new bridge open across the wide Platte River at South Bend, and  it’s inevitable that the Lincoln-Omaha route will be completed soon.  Once you get to Omaha, you can continue into Iowa across the amazing Kerrey bridge over the Missouri River.

The Kerrey bridge connects Omaha to Iowa.

The Kerrey bridge connects Omaha to Iowa.

A new bicycle bridge over the Platte between Omaha and Lincoln is now open.

A new bicycle bridge over the Platte between Omaha and Lincoln is now open.

Back in Ogden this morning, I rode through the Trackline development at the old Ogden stockyards.  This is going to be a bicycle connected business park with a spectacular river promenade.  The idea is that outdoor industry companies will locate here and their employees will choose to get to work by bicycle.

Ogden Trackline.   The stairways were used to unload cattle from railroad cars.  Now they're going to be part of a riverfront promenade connecting the business park to downtown Ogden.

Ogden Trackline. The stairways were used to unload cattle from railroad cars. Now they’re going to be part of a riverfront promenade connecting the business park to downtown Ogden.

For those of us who prefer to bicycle, it’s getting better all the time.  It’s going to continue to get better because more and more links are being created for us and, uin many cases, by us.  As they are, more and more people are choosing to bicycle, not just for fun, but also for transportation.  We are on the right side of history and state and local officials across the country are beginning to recognize it.  These are great times to be a bicyclist.  Best of all, it’s only going to get better.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s