Since COVID-19 began, our activities have been limited and our universe has shrunk. I know we’re not alone in this; so many people have been limited in what they can do during this time. But we found that one activity still brings us so much joy—biking as a family on our local trails.
RTC hopes these tips will help you embrace and enjoy winter riding, but, if you’re new to it, just take it slow. Start by testing your equipment and comfort level with shorter, close-to-home trips, and ride with a buddy, if you can.
Trail riding encompasses my fondest childhood memories and confirmation of my life partner. It grounds me to myself and makes the world around me my home. I lost that connection during the pandemic, and I have realized that rediscovering the trails around me—my #TrailMoments—makes me feel whole and like the world will be ok.
In October, a new slate of 30 trails in 25 states—including the five rail-trails highlighted here—were ushered into the ranks of top outdoor destinations as 2020’s National Recreation Trails by U.S. Secretary of the Interior.
Getting outside right now, especially on local trails, can provide a wealth of benefits to your body and mind—once you get in the habit. Some of the most common trail activities—biking, skating, running—can burn over a thousand calories in an hour’s time. And being out in nature—especially right now, as more people are staying home and cool weather is making people less inclined to step outside—can strengthen your resilience and mental health.
The outdoors always brings me pleasure and relaxation, but this year it means more than ever. I explored new places and identified new flora and fauna. I developed a better appreciation for the natural world in my part of the state.
John became a staunch advocate for wear-a-helmet programs after the accident that would change his life. While bicycling downhill, a car pulled in front of him—resulting in a collision in which he was propelled through a windshield at 38 miles an hour. He was not wearing a helmet. As a result of the accident, he suffered a brain injury that caused severe short-term memory loss, speech and vision problems, and partial paralysis on his left side. He walks with a cane.
Through our national Trail Moments initiative, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is inviting everyone—both new and tried-and-true trail users—to share these special moments of connection and demonstrate what trails mean to each of us right now. Here, we’ve collected a small bouquet of #TrailMoments from people across the country; we hope you are as inspired as we are!
The beauty of autumn also means cooler temperatures, earlier sunsets and sometimes less-than-ideal weather. For the many of you who picked up biking for the first time this summer or returned after a long hiatus, the thought of braving colder weather while riding might feel intimidating.
Moving across the country during the pandemic was one of the scariest—but also most exciting—things we've ever done. Along the way, we stopped at several rail-trails. Running on trails was one of the best and most enjoyable ways to see the country safely.
Across the country, some trails spiked to levels more than 200% higher than the same time last year, according to trail count data released by RTC in July. Currently, trail use is still far exceeding previous usage; since the pandemic began, RTC’s trail count data shows that usage has been 60% higher [on average] than in 2019.