A Rail-Trail Retirement:
Dennis Adam on his trike.
Mary Ann Radscheid with her "Ladies
Wednesday Ride" crew (Mary Ann
is sitting top left in the tree).
Neil and June Baylie on the "Yough" Trail
In April, we asked you to tell us whether your local rail-trail or trail system is ideal for retirement living. Yet your responses proved that the benefits of these community pathways are hardly age-specific: anyone with a hankering for healthy outdoors activity and convenience can get hooked.
For the trail lovers below, their pathways have been helpful in building an exercise routine and interacting with local wildlife; or shifting to recumbents for a more stable and comfortable ride; or using the corridor as an access point for other activities, like canoeing; or for more practical errands, like walking to the bank, grocery store and pharmacy.
We hope you enjoy these stories—and who knows, you may even find a few ideas for where you want to retire.
I'm a 60-year-old male, and I retired at the end of 2006. I purchased a recumbent trike August 1, 2007, and in two-and-a-half months rode 11 major rail-trails around the state of Wisconsin. I have three week-long bike trips planned for this summer and fall in Wisconsin and Minnesota, and hopefully will be able to continue to branch out to other states in years to come.
I have an issue with my balance, and I find that the recumbent trike is ideal and offers me the stability I need to enjoy biking without the concerns of an upright bike.
I love biking rail-trails for the exercise as well as the surrounding beauty and peacefulness they offer, and the fellow bikers I meet along the way to chat with are a definite plus.
Mary Ann Radscheid
I live on the Withlacoochee State Trail six months of the year. Since retiring, for the last five years each winter season I've used the trail by increasing my exercise through biking (two bike groups and solitary rides), daily running, and even running errands by attaching a cart to my bike for groceries, post office and library trips. Last year was my personal best: 3,000 miles, as I was more inclined to continue biking for errands last summer when I returned to Ohio for six months.
Already I've completed 1,000 miles, and it is only April 7. I now can identify numerous birds, enjoy the sights of owls, goats, peacocks, turkeys and snakes, and I relish viewing sandhill cranes with babies or raptors hunting their evening meal while on my daily adventures on one of Florida's best trails.
Most of the Withlacoochee Trail is tree-covered. My husband John and I are lucky enough to spend six months at Moonrise Resorts, midpoint of the trail. If one heads south, there are only three settlements, Floral City, Istachatta and Ridge Manor. The rest is forest or wooded area with an occasional home on the trail. If one heads north from the midpoint, Inverness is five miles away, followed by Hernando and more picnic tables, plus a few more roads to cross where business traffic requires one to be a bit more careful.
There is a New York trail system that runs through two Hudson River towns, Nyack and Piermont, that is ideal for seniors and everyone else. As a family, we use a combination of the trails, and quiet roads, to bike or walk to shops, schools, restaurants and parks.
At the northern end is a park known as "The Hook." It is a mile-long trail that runs along the river. Many people fish, walk, talk or hike along The Hook. Up and down Broadway from Upper Nyack down to South Nyack, one can walk the town, then to the Hader Park and Trail that ends in Grandview.
From Grandview down to Piermont, the trail is gritty but wide, easy to walk or bike, and has great views of homes and the Hudson River.
Both Nyack and Piermont have many restaurants, shops and attractions for seniors to enjoy at leisure, and to handle simple daily chores, such as trips to the post office, library, pharmacy and food markets.
After Piermont, there is a newly paved trail that runs all the way down to Tappan, N.J., in one direction, and to Orangeburg, N.Y., in the other. At the end in Orangeburg, there is a Lowe's mega-store. At the Tappan end there is an Irish Pub, a Washington Mutual bank, and a block or two from there are several strip malls.
Hope some seniors can dig up more from the above, and find the area a great place for them to retire!
Neil and June Baylie
My wife and I, at 77, ride a number of western Pennsylvania trails. A few years age we noticed boaters in the rivers that most of the trails parallel. We bought a canoe.
Now we pile our canoe and bikes on our station wagon and drive to a trail where there is water access. We lock the bikes to a tree and drive the canoe up river; lock the car and canoe down to the bikes; lock the canoe and ride back to the car; load the bikes and drive back and pick up the canoe.
We often use the Youghiogheny River Trail (or the "Yough"), where wildlife abounds (above and below the surface), seasons bring varied viewing, the water is often fun for getting wet, many places along the way provide great picknicking, friends often enjoy going with us, and it is good exercise for both upper and lower body.