HomeOutdoorDiscovering Nature on a Bike Commute

Discovering Nature on a Bike Commute

Discovering Nature on a Bike Commute


Summer time mornings are superb in North Lake Tahoe. The solar shines, the winds are calm, the temperatures are delicate, and the streets and sidewalks are almost desolate. All that is a part of why I started commuting to work on a cargo e-bike alongside the North Tahoe multiuse path system. On the time, I wished an alternative choice to driving to work daily. I toyed with the thought of buying a moped or bike. However sustaining a motorbike and discovering a spot to retailer it in the course of the winter appeared like a stretch. As of late, I’m fiercely decided to name myself a spring-fall bike commuter.  

It simply takes a couple of minutes to electronic mail your representatives and make a distinction with the REI Cooperative Motion Community.

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The pedal to work is on no account boring. At 8.6 miles in every course with a mellow 400-foot achieve and loss, it takes me about half-hour every manner. Some days I load the bike up with climbing gear, skis or a splitboard. In the summertime, I work as a information at the through ferrata, a protected climbing route, on the famed rock face referred to as Tram Face in Olympic Valley. I really like the prospect to get my blood flowing earlier than a day on the rock.  

Regardless of the sweeping views that encompass me, my favourite a part of my commute is the bike path itself. It runs by the woods alongside the glittering Truckee River earlier than reducing up into Olympic Valley. Reduction washes over me the second I nostril my bike onto the paved path, tucked away from automobiles and site visitors. I used to be hit by a automotive whereas driving my bike almost 10 years in the past. Now, I really feel much less comfy biking on the street flanked by distracted drivers.   

The creator driving his bike on a phase of the North Lake Tahoe Multi-Use Path System alongside the Truckee River.

The trail—a rail path, or multipurpose path created from a former railroad hall—has not at all times been right here. That is the ancestral territory of members of the Washoe Tribe, Lake Tahoe’s authentic inhabitants. White settlers flocked to the Lake Tahoe area when, in 1848, immigrants found gold in California. The settlers depleted the realm’s pure sources and displaced members of the Washoe Tribe from their land. The route I now pedal was first a toll street for stagecoaches and, later, a narrow-gauge railroad hall that transported guests from Truckee to Tahoe Metropolis.  

It’s one phase of a community of multiuse trails that may finally join the city of Truckee, California, to the cities and resorts of North Lake Tahoe with 62 miles of steady trails for biking, operating, strolling and different actions. The path I journey each day will finally hyperlink up with the Truckee River Legacy Path and the longer Tahoe-Pyramid Path, which is able to observe the Truckee River from its begin at Lake Tahoe to its terminus at Pyramid Lake, Nevada. When full, it’s going to descend 2,500 toes and lengthen 114 miles. 

A 1983 modification to the Nationwide Trails System Act helped create voluntary agreements between railway firms and path sponsors so out-of-service rail corridors might be developed into trails. It’s a part of the rationale trails just like the one I journey every day have gotten more and more frequent throughout the U.S. Because the modification, organizations like Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) started growing and redefining path networks to deliver communities collectively.  

“Our focus is on creating protected areas for individuals to have the ability to stroll, bike and be lively exterior,” mentioned Brandi Horton, vice chairman of communications for RTC. The group has supported the creation of about 41,000 miles of multiuse trails throughout the U.S. “In lots of locations throughout the nation, we will make utilizing trails a part of our on a regular basis lives. We will, say, take our youngsters, pop them on their bikes and go to highschool, and know that we’re going to be protected. … That didn’t exist earlier than and it’s occurring for increasingly more communities in actual time.”   

Image of a person on bike on a paved trail in Cleveland.
The Cleveland Basis Centennial Lake Hyperlink Path in Ohio. Picture: Jason Cohn; courtesy Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

The objective is to attach these trails to maximise the profit to individuals of their on a regular basis lives, Horton mentioned. The group is pursuing this in a couple of alternative ways. Its TrailNation initiative goals to construct and join 150-plus path networks nationwide. In the meantime, TrailLink, a free web site and app, helps outdoorists and commuters uncover trails across the nation with maps that embody route particulars and specs.

One in every of RTC’s greatest tasks is The Nice American Rail-Path, the nation’s first cross-country multiuse path, extending from Washington D.C. to Washington state. The path is at the moment 55% p.c full; when completed it’s going to stretch 3,700 miles. These tasks are simply the tip of the iceberg for the event of trails nationwide, Horton mentioned.  

Demand for trails for strolling, operating and biking is rising. Path use on common elevated 9.5% between 2021 and 2022, in accordance with information RTC collected from 26 Eco-Counters positioned on multiuse trails throughout the nation. Path use in 2022 was up 45% from 2019.

Like others, I get pleasure from connecting with nature after I’m on the path. I take consolation in realizing I’ve a spot to journey away from transferring automobiles. I get to breathe the mountain air and know that by driving to work I’ll reduce my influence on the planet in some slight manner.  


Each time I hop on my bike it’s an journey. In the future, I cruised by a person on a Penny Farthing (also referred to as a high-wheel bicycle). He was trying to find a multi-tool to repair a element on his bike. I slowed down, and we began chatting. In a matter of minutes, I used to be enamored along with his bike. He answered all my questions on this particular duplicate earlier than finding a multi-tool station, after which we parted methods. It was an excellent reminder of our connection to nature and the paths that assist to maneuver us round. 


Editors’ Observe: REI Cooperative Motion Fund, a 501(c)(3) public charity, offered $100,000 in 2023 to Rails-to-Trails Conservancy in help of the Nice American Rail-Path.


Fund Higher Trails to Run, Bike and Roll

Connecting pedestrian and bike trails would assist make it simpler, safer, cleaner, and extra environment friendly for individuals of all ages and talents to get the place they should go—with out a automotive. Take motion by the REI Cooperative Motion Community to help extra such paths.