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Get Your Bike Travel Fix on Route 66

Bike PathsFrom

Similar to the flow of motor vehicle travelers along the original “Main Street of America,” the influx of cyclists will provide an economic boost to small communities on the new route. There is growing evidence that touring cyclists spend more time in the towns that they visit, lingering (and spending) more than the average tourist. Wisconsin released a report earlier this year that out-of-state cyclists generate more than $530 million in economic development annually. And according to a 2008 study done along the Great Allegheny Passage (a nearly 150-mile bike trail situated between Cumberland, Maryland, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), bicycle tourism has become a major economic force. Business owners reported that a quarter of their gross income comes from trail users and two-thirds of the businesses saw an increase in their revenue due to their location on the trail. Despite the economic downturn in 2008, businesses saw an increase in gross revenue attributable to the trail (from $32.6 million in 2007 to $40.6 million in 2008) and paid nearly 20% more wages as a result.

Lon Haldeman, an experienced Route 66 bike tour leader said, “This route can be done as a camping tour in roadside campgrounds, however there are many unique motels along the route which make this a good credit card tour type route. Eating in the old cafes and diners is part of the charm.”
“The vision for Bicycle Route 66 is the same as the original vision for Route 66, which was to connect the main streets of rural and urban communities,” said Ginny Sullivan, special projects director for Adventure Cycling. “Bicycle Route 66 will be a perfect choice for traveling cyclists looking to explore the American heartland’s natural beauty, history, and funky out-of-the-way places.”
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Senator Brochin and Save the Raven

Bike Pathsimage

I know everyone has been anxiously awaiting new information pertaining to single-track trail usage at Loch Raven Reservoir. As everyone knows, it was stated by DPW at the last public meeting that they would have a review of our plan by the end of November. This however did not happen. Due to the overwhelming support from the public in their reach out to Senator Brochin, the Senator called a meeting to talk about the issue at hand.

Today January 11th 2011 I was afforded the chance to sit down with the Senator. The meeting consisted of Gary Nusinov (STR) and Bob Compton (MORE) in the role of “constituents and recreational advocates”, Senator Brochin, representatives from DPW including Director Foxx, Clark Howells, Marcia Collins, Ralph Cullison, Celeste Amato, Frank Boston III (representing UNDER AMOUR), and two gentlemen that I can not remember their names, one from DPW and the other with Mr. Boston.

First let me say what a pleasure it was to meet Senator Brochin. He is very passionate about Loch Raven. He has been on the forefront of issues effecting the watershed for more than twenty years. Mr Brochin clearly stated that the number one threat to Loch Raven is Deer. That statement is backed up by twenty years of DPW science. He lobbied for deer management through three Mayors.

Without going into the whole word for word analysis of the meeting, I will layout the general theme.

DPW presented their view of the history and current state of Loch Raven Reservoir. It was stated that we would not be told what the evaluation of our plan is UNTIL the mayor is informed. A couple of facts were out of place but with so much time between meetings, that is almost expected. However if you would like to see what DPW and John Markley from Baltimore County DEPRM have to say, you can visit (Baltimore Metropolitan Council) and search for articles Titled “Reservoir bike trails RTG brief” by Clark Howells [I think that's the right link] and “Comments on Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts, Inc. Recreational Trail Use Plan Proposal” by John D. Markley. The comments will astonish you.

Senator Brochin Shortened the DPW presentation in order to let Bob and Gary speak

Bob Compton, Timonium resident and MORE's Co-Chair of the MTB task Force reorganized the history of our plight while placing on the table a stack of support that has come from citizens and businesses in and around Maryland. This included petitions, letters of recommendation, letters of support and some incriminating pictures of some damage done to the reservoir by a local utility company. . Everyone in the room could not believe that the utility company was clearing their easement in the reservoir buffer lands and DPW was not aware. He also stated that DPW plans on hiring a local tree company to widen the woods roads so that two vehicles may pass. Bob mentioned that the Trail plan was handed in to the DPW for review. The reviewing group (Reservoir Technical Group) contained members were that already opposed to bikes in the original meetings so why would they choose any differently now.

Senator Brochin repeated that recreational activity at Loch Raven is something that his constituents are die-hard about. He repeated that the deer are the number one cause of destruction. He requested that before the Mayor is informed from DPW that we all sit in a room and try and work this out and do not leave the room until it is done. He clearly stated that this can be worked out. He offered time at his office in Annapolis for us to meet again in order to solve this mess. Director Foxx said he would still consult with the Mayor first, but agreed that he work tell her that any decision they have come to is not final.

Mr. Boston informed the group of UNDER AMOUR's continued support of proper recreational access at Loch Raven. He stated that he liked the direction that the Senator was moving the conversation.

The DPW theme is that access is not an issue and that the plan that we submitted is only going to be turned down because of the laws that they have to follow, the Buffer Protection Management Ordinance.

Gary Nusinov was then given a chance to speak. Gary presented a pile of DPW's scientific studies and stated that within all of the studies, mountain bikes are not mentioned and that if the problem was that bad, then the bikes would be mentioned separately from recreation. He corrected the assertion that impact is directly correlated to bikes since many trails were in existence well before mountain bikes were invented. He re-stated that the plan that MORE submitted was a trail use plan for all recreation and that DPW had no intention of creating a recreational plan that properly met the needs of all users. Gary then referred to the Buffer Protection and Management Ordinance and read out loud. In a word, trails are allowed in the area and much of the damage we see from DPW in the bufferland is strictly prohibited. An example brought up was the recent dumping of fresh un-compacted asphalt at the head of the trail next to a stream. There was a lot of back and forth talk about some things that came to light such as our impact being equal to only 6 acres, other grandfathered uses, storm-water issues, and the fact that absolutely nobody in the room could disagree with the statement that Loch Raven will be better than it is now if our trail plan is accepted.

The Senator reinforced the fact that he wants to sit down in the next few weeks to hatch this out. It was brought up that the rangers could be doing much more useful things with their time then harassing the citizens and criminalizing them. The Senator read a letter from a doctor who talked about losing weight because of Mountain Biking at Loch Raven and the direct impact that the newly enforced rules would have on him. He continually expressed his opinion that we are all neighbors and that we enjoy Loch Raven and that the DPW is using too much government and it is unnecessary and unreasonable.

The meeting ended with a promise to all get back in the room and work this out, ASAP.

Please everyone show your support for Senator Brochin. His address is 705 York Road, Towson. His email is Please send him a letter of gratitude! Also, there is a town hall meeting tomorrow night Jan 12th (we just heard) about loch raven with Senator Brochin. For questions call 410-823-7087

Small Lecture : The worst thing you can do is create new trails, or use newly created trails! This is the number one argument against all recreation in the bufferland! STOP IT.

Thanks and please show your support for the Senator. I've got feeling...


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College Park - Ongoing Plans to Complete Trolley Trail, but Barriers Stand in the Way

Bike PathsProgress on the incomplete sections of the Trolley Trail are slowly moving forward, but some major roadblocks could significantly delay the day that we see a complete trail extending from the Berwyn neighborhood to the Northwest Branch Trail near Route 1 in Hyattsville. Because the trail runs through portions of College Park, Riverdale Park, and Hyattsville, there are a number of entities fumbling through the funding, design, and construction process. Following is an update on each of the incomplete sections.
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East Coast Greenway Committee Chairs in Maryland

Bike PathsMaryland – Greg Hinchliffe
Greenways advocate, chair for the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Committee (MBAC) in Baltimore also serves on the Maryland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

Greg, a long-time member of the Maryland Committee for the ECG, stepped up as committee chair in 2004. He’s also a member of our Trail Council and has been a resource for ECG long-distance travelers coming through Baltimore. In the rest of his spare time, Greg chairs the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Committee in Baltimore, helps coordinate local cycling events, serves on the Gwynn’s Falls Trail Council, and is a member of the Baltimore Bicycling Club, Washington Area Bicycling Association, and the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

District of Columbia – Bob Patten
Bob Patten is a Transportation Planner with Toole Design Group and also serves on the ECGA Trail Council. Bob has over 15 years of experience transportation planning, including national policy work with the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) and local trail planning both as a professional with DC government, and as a volunteer with the Washington Area Bicyclists Association and the Coalition for the Metropolitan Branch Trail.

Over the course of his career, Patten founded the National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse at RTC, organized a successful campaign to secure $2.5 million in ISTEA funding to complete 13 miles of the 24-mile Anacostia Tributary Trail System in Prince George's County, and became the first full-time trail planner hired by the District of Columbia. Bob is a frequent bike commuter and enjoys coaching his daughter’s soccer team.
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WMRT westward Expansion in EA process

Bike Pathsfrom TheWashCycle by washcycle
The National Park Service has begun the Planning, Environment and Public Comment period on the proposed extension of the Western Maryland Rail Trail approximately 15 miles from its present western terminus at Pearre Station to a point near Paw Paw, WV.  This extension will be under the management of the C&O Canal National Historical Park.  Project information is available here.  The Public Comment period is from Nov 16 - Dec 23.  The project needs all the favorable comments it can get.
Note the Topic Questions Instructions here. Those submitting comments are encouraged to answer all, or part of, the six Topic Questions.  Since the Indigo Tunnel detour will use the towpath, it is important that the towpath have a surface that will accommodate road bikes.
There were two public meetings earlier this week which kicked off the comment period. NPS will make its decision next year. If you've never been on the WMRT it's really nice. And this next section will have several bridges - including six over the Potomac river, and two tunnels through the Paw Paw bends. It will also take the trail into West Virginia (and back).
WMRT extension
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Bicycle path on Route 50

Bike Paths...
County Councilman David MacLeod applauded the enhancement of a bicycle path on Route 50 at Route 346, which is slated to be completed by March 2011.

&quot;We recently had the Sea Gull Century, in which 8,000 bikers came to Salisbury, and the new bike path was extremely popular,&quot; he said.
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Word is Spreading about the Trail Summit!

Bike Paths

Please help us make this the best event possible by passing on the information to others who may be interested.  You can cut and paste text below or draft your own copy. This is a great opportunity to collaborate on our shared vision to create a Trail System in Maryland, “second to none.” We are almost half-full!

Again, thanks for registering.

We look forward to seeing you at the Summit.

The Md Trails Summit Team 

Greetings Trail Enthusiast! 



The Maryland Trails Summit:

Sharing the Vision-Making the Connections

October 19, 2010


The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is proud to announce that the Maryland Trail Summit will be held on Tuesday, October 19th at the Holiday Inn BWI Airport in Linthicum Heights, Maryland. The Summit will bring together trail users from all over the State to discuss the future of trails in Maryland, preview an interactive map and Website, work on regional projects, network with other trail users and planners, learn about trails in neighboring states and much more!

This opportunity is not to be missed. This 1-day event is the culmination of ideas and input from the four Regional Roundtables that DNR hosted this past summer. If you are a commuter, boater, bicyclist, roller-blader, hiker, walker, skier, jogger, pet lover, paddler, camper, birder, off-road vehicle rider, equestrian, or anyone else that has an interest in trails in Maryland this is the event for you!

Maryland’s very first trail summit is just around the bend, so complete your online registration and come prepared to learn and discuss the future of trails in Maryland. We hope to see you there! 

Limited Space – Register online today to assure your seat!

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Hiking, biking and tubing in your backyard

Bike PathsBy Jaclyn Jones - Examiner

My much anticipated graduation from high school and a deservedly exciting June, July and August made the adjustment to college seem ever so slightly tedious. In just the first week of the semester, it became difficult to apply myself to my studies. So over the extended Labor Day weekend I made an escape…I dusted off my old bicycle and rode it on one of Maryland’s outdoor gems—the Torrey C. Brown Trail, formerly known as the Northern Central Railroad Trail (NCRT).

If you don’t already know about this trail, it’s nearly 20 miles of flat, stone and dirt-covered pathway, highly navigable by bicycle or by foot. The trail is within an easy driving distance from Goucher, Johns Hopkins University, College of Notre Dame, Loyola University, Stevenson University, Towson State University, UMBC and many other local college campuses. It extends from Ashland, which is just off York Rd. in Cockeysville, Md. to the Md.–Pa. line. The trail is part of the rails to trails conversion and follows the path of the now defunct North Central Railway.

Besides biking or hiking, you can tube down the Gunpowder River which runs parallel to the trail. Monkton Bike, Inc. rents tubes and operates the Tube Shuttle between Monkton and Bluemount Rd.

If you work up an appetite, ‘Natural Brothers’ run a deli and café at about the 7-mile marker in Monkton. They offer largely vegan fare and some of the most delicious ice cream—organic, of course!—that I have ever tasted. (Try the Coconut Almond Chip!)

If the great outdoors doesn’t provide enough escapist enjoyment (or food), nearby at York and Shawan Roads is the Hunt Valley Towne Centre with California Pizza Kitchen, Chipotle, Noodles & Company, and Panera Bread.

As a recommendation…If you venture to the trail, pick it up at Monkton or slightly north of there as the more southern points can get crowded.

For more information on the Torrey C. Brown Trail, contact the Department of Natural Resources about Gunpowder State Park.

Before returning to my studies, let me mention that in the coming weeks, I’ll be catching up with several local bands that have performances coming up at the Recher Theater in Towson and I’ll be highlighting some rising stars of the local theater scene as well as other interesting collegians in the Baltimore area!

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Cycling Baltimore, Gwynns Falls Trail

Bike PathsBy Donald Crowson, Jacksonville Bicycle Travel Examiner A ride on the Gwynns Falls Trail is a must for bicycle travelers exploring Baltimore. This wonderful trail provides cyclists a great way to enjoy and learn about the Chesapeake Bay watershed, its history and the interesting parks and neighborhoods it travels through.

Refer to the separate article, Cycling Baltimore, cycle rental shops near downtown and Inner Harbor for maps, information and featured cycle rental shops near Inner Harbor and downtown.

The ride starts at the Visitor Center, at Inner Harbor (see Google Map for route) continues along Light St, through the Federal Hill district, under I395 on Hamburg St and past the Camden MARC railway station M&T Stadium and until crossing the railroad tracks on Ridgely St. On Bavard St. the ride passes the first of a series of creative Gwynns Falls Trail murals (see slide show below).

After a left on Washington and past Carroll Park, a former plantation, the ride embarks on its first off road section and portion of the trail along Gwynns Falls. Past Carroll Park Golf Course and a neat ‘Love’ mural, the ride crosses, via several trail bridges, the former site of the Carrollton Viaduct. Disembarking your cycle at Wilkens Ave, cross the street and the bridge and continue off road again through a small high hilled park where basketball courts and a public pool once stood (the pool was built in 1910 after Gwynns Falls became too polluted for swimming - see informative signboard, one of many along route). Off and back on the off-road trail at Frederick Ave, the ride travels along the Ellicott Driveway. It once carried water for the Ellicott flower-milling complex, thus lending to the districts name, Mill Hill. After another on-off road segment, the ride passes under the Baltimore Street Bridge and past several dramatic waterfalls before arriving at Leon Day Park, where a water fountain and restrooms are.

After traveling on Franklin Rd, the ride starts its Gwynns Falls / Leakin Park portion where the path becomes a dirt road where samples of wildlife and fauna can be experienced. This ride’s turn around point, a high hilltop and former retreat of some sort offers a quiet resting place before your return. There are many other paths to enjoy in the park and if you have the time, explore.

For a yummy meal after your ride check out Kiku Sushi on light street for some expertly prepared miso and sashimi.

As always, read the safety article [or better yet, look over our links for safety] and be prepared to lose yourself in the splendor of Gwynns Falls Trail.

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Encouraging community involvement and best practices with the Maryland Trails Summit

Bike Paths[B' Spokes: Everyone loves off-road trails right? Well let's look at the best and worst of off-road facilities:


Maryland's over stress on off-road encourages the worst of off-road facilities (bottom half) over and above more appropriate on-road facilities. And even with the best of paths (top half) most MD paths do not allow for comfortable biking from home to the trail (Per NHTSA survey 89% of bike trips begin at a residence and only 7% at a recreational site), nor do paths generally allow comfortable biking from the trail to work or grocery stories, such an idea is not even in the works. We need a more workable solution then what's being offered and more verity in the offering of bike facilities at not only the state level but the local level as well.

Public participation is the key to remedying this and the following letter was put forth on one of the advocacy lists, I encourage everyone to write their own letter in support of greater public participation. ]

IC wrote this letter to


I was just informed of the Maryland Trails Summit. Since moving to Maryland last December, and as I'm a keen cyclist who enjoys riding on multi-use trails, I've been eager to get involved in related issues, so something like this, which relates directly to cycling, seems like it would be something I'd like to get involved with. Unfortunately the Maryland Trails Summit seems to have been specifically designed to exclude people like me (i.e. a keen cyclist who has a limited budget, a job and a family) from the event.

Even if concerned people can afford the $50 admission fee (which seems especially steep in these harsh economic times), the event is scheduled for a Tuesday during school and working hours. I wonder, could it have been scheduled for a LESS convenient time? Maybe holding it on Thanksgiving Day would have kept more people away, but that's debatable. How is Maryland's Department of Natural Resources hoping to get useful feedback on its programs from concerned citizens when virtually the only people able to attend are likely to be well-off seniors or wealthy business tycoons with time on their hands?

Then there's the venue. Does it really need to take place next to one of the busiest airports in the country? If anyone wanted to cycle to the event, they would have to negotiate the numerous freeways that surround the venue. I mean, this is a summit devoted to trails. Sure, many people besides cyclists are interested in Maryland Trails, but surely most of these people live in Maryland and don't need to fly into BWI! As a cyclist, I would find it a scary prospect indeed to negotiate such a labyrinth of freeways and highways to get to the event on my bike, even if I lived within twenty miles of it.

Then there's the environmental cost of this event. It seems to me that the Department of Natural Resources should be discouraging the use of fossil fuels and encouraging more sustainable modes of transportation, yet the Department of Natural Resources seems to be going out of its way to get people to fly or drive to the Maryland Trails Summit. Honestly, with this lack of concern for the environment, what hope do Maryland residents have that the Department of Natural Resources is truly focused on safeguarding the state's natural resources.

It seems to me that this event is structured to appeal more to the travel industry than to the people the Department of Natural Resources are supposed to serve - i.e. the residents of Maryland. I'm eager to get involved when issues related to our natural resources come up, but with a limited budget and a kid in school, there's no way I can do this.

Please, when planning events like this in the future, have some thought for the people Maryland's Department of Natural Resources is supposed to serve! As for this event, I sincerely doubt anything useful can come from it, as it effectively prevents constructive input from the people who are most likely to use Maryland's network of trails.
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