A Bicycle-Travel-Friendly World
The more miles we log on our bikes, the more corners of this country we get to stop and explore, the more we want to tell everyone we know about the joy of traveling by bicycle.
We’re thrilled whenever we hear about anyone heading off to travel or explore in any manner, but bicycling happens to be near and dear to our hearts. On a bicycle, the world slows down around you and, as you become more aware of your surroundings, you experience everything on a deeper level. If you haven’t tried it yet, even for just a day, you really should. We promise it’s a high like nothing else!
The more we travel and get excited about getting other folks out on their own bicycles, the more we want to support and help create a world which is friendly and encouraging and supportive to bicycle travelers. And the more communities that we roll through and find folks who are working to create a bicycle-friendly environment, the more we know it’s possible to see a world of bicycle travelers.
So, we thought we’d share some ideas about creating a world that’s friendly to bicyclists and bicycle travelers. If you feel inspired to join us in making this happen, we’ll also share some ways you can do so.
1. Texas State Parks and their relationship with bicycles
We’re pinpointing the Texas State Park system for a couple reasons… (a) because we’ve spent the past three months exploring many of their parks (and think they’re some of the best we’ve seen so far), (b) because we have a lot of readers from Texas, (c) because we know that the Texas State Parks folks are paying attention to their constituents (and are eager to create a great system that’s well-used), and (d) because, for a very large state bureaucracy, they’re really pretty innovative and well-managed.
Way back in March, when we were first rolling in to Austin, we had planned to camp at McKinney Falls State Park. We were turned away because the park was full, and we were told to go to another facility as far away as 20 miles. We were stunned. In all of our travels and time on the road, we have never been turned away from a full state park. Even in Southern California, where you get all sorts of funny looks when you roll up on bike. In Washington, we discovered, it’s actually state park policy to make space for folks who arrive on foot or on bike, because they recognize that there’s a limit to the distance you can travel in this manner.
Originally we fumed about the McKinney incident. Then, we calmed down and all but forgot about it, tailoring our trip as needed so that we wouldn’t arrive at a state park on a weekend (which is when they’re full during the spring). And then a funny thing happened at Caddo Lake. A small Facebook status update caught the attention of someone at the State Parks HQ office in Austin. And we realized how much they’re paying attention and eager to please their visitors.
So, yesterday, we put a letter in the mail to the folks at the Texas State Parks HQ, challenging them to be more welcoming of bicycle travelers. If you’d like to read the text of the letter, head over to our Facebook Fan Page and read this note.
We’ll keep everyone updated about what happens. If you’re interested in helping Texas State Parks create a policy that’s more inviting of bicycle travelers, consider sending them your own letter or email. You can also find them on Facebook, but it appears as if each individual park has its own separate fan page. You can blog about it and tell your friends. And if you hear back, please let us know!
2. Adventure Cycling Association’s US Bicycle Route System
We love Adventure Cycling Association. A great group of folks (who we hope to meet in person one day) are actively working to make the US a great place to ride a bike!
If you’re not familiar with them, head over to their website.
Since 1974, ACA has been promoting bicycling as a form of travel. And now they’re pushing full-steam ahead (in partnership with the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials) to create an inter-state bicycle route system. Says ACA: “the U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS) [is] a visionary project that will be similar to the national and international systems blossoming across the globe, such as Euro Vélo. The routes will connect cyclists across the U.S. with cities, transportation hubs, scenic and historic destinations through existing (and new) infrastructure; routes will be numbered and officially recognized by state and federal government agencies.”
We’re fans of this idea ourselves and are doing what we can to support its creation. If you’d like to become involved as well, follow this link to learn more and make a tax-deductible donation. (You can also follow the banner ad on the left side of our site.)
We hope you’ll join us in creating a bicycle-travel-friendly world. Speak up about exploring the world on bike and what it means to you. Show your support for systems nation-wide that enable more people to travel by bicycle. And if the above-listed advocacy opportunities don’t speak to you, just get out on your bike and ride around your area and share your love of experiencing life on two wheels.
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