Biking the East Coast

Now this sounds like something I might have to check out:

The East Coast Greenway Alliance has been working since 1991 to connect the whole geography of the Atlantic seaboard with protected bike paths. So far, 850 miles of trail have been designated as Greenway. The project is about 31 percent complete, says Dennis Markatos-Soriano, the executive director of ECGA. By 2020, the ECGA hopes to add another 200 miles.

This “linear community,” as Markatos-Soriano calls the Greenway, attracts two groups of users. There are those who might touch on a section of the trail on their daily route through their city: kids biking to school, joggers out for their regular run. And then there are those like Bob Spiegelman, the chair of the ECGA Board of Trustees, who approach the trail as a whole. In 2012, Spiegelman biked the entire length of the Greenway, from Calais, Maine, to Key West, Florida. Logging around 50 miles a day, his trip took eight weeks. It’s possible to shave down that time, but that defeats the purpose, Weis says. With your head down and the ground zipping beneath you, “you’re going right through Boston without stopping to visit any historic sites. You’re going through Washington, D.C., without seeing any monuments or museums. You’re going through Charleston without stopping to sit under a tree and admire the architecture,” Weis adds. “If you do 100 miles a day for a month, you can ride the whole East Coast Greenway, but you’ve robbed yourself of the heart of the experience.”

I’m no cycling enthusiast, but I’ve loved riding the Mississippi River Trail (MRT) from work the past two summers. Someday I would love to bike the full length of the trail from Itasca State Park to Venice, Louisiana. Maybe by the time I do that, they’ll have the East Coast Greenway completed.

P.S. Here’s one of my favorite views from the MRT coming into St. Paul from Bloomington:

Timothy Pate MRT St. Paul

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