Ride Your Bicycle

Good news. Google Maps now has bicycling directions available. They’ve been cooperating with our friends at the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy to add their info, too:

“We’re thrilled to be working with Rails-to-Trails Conservancy to make RTC’s extensive bike trail data available through Google Maps and Google Earth,” says Shannon Guymon, Product Manager for Google Maps. “Bikers all over the country now will be able to explore new trails or find specific directions in their local community with just a few clicks of their mouse.”

The inclusion of RTC’s trail information in Google Maps comes at a time when people are clamoring for biking opportunities. In the last year, RTC has seen an unprecedented surge in its TrailLink.com users. TrailLink.com is the most robust, national resource for rail-trail maps, pictures, descriptions, listings and directions to more than 30,000 miles of trails.

“The demand for trail maps and information has never been higher, especially as more people recognize biking as a viable, inexpensive and healthy alternative to driving,” says Rails-to-Trails President Keith Laughlin. “Sharing our trail data is an exceptional way to introduce the world to what 150,000 RTC members and supporters already know—biking is the ideal way to get where you’re going. The addition of biking directions to Google Maps makes life easier for bikers, whether they are commuting to work or biking for fun, and it can introduce our network of trails to a whole new audience of cyclists-to-be.”

I think its a great idea and can’t wait until it becomes widely available (only in beta now).

UPDATE: I was so inspired by this, the CartoonGoddess and I rode the Greenway the next day — fromPierson Avenue all the way to the Garden State Parkway. The railroad bridge over the Parkway remains…

The rail, to trail…

I can wait for completion — I like the mud. Paved, ADA-compliant paths are OK, but it doesn’t make you feel like you’re in the pre-historic New Jersey.

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Greenway Developments

Run your in-town errands via bicycle? Good idea! Almost get run-over by a car, truck or bus? Scary, isn’t it? In my little town,  not all the streets are bike-friendly, so I tend to ride up on the sidewalks — especially with the kids. We’ll ride through parks and along bike paths, but we like to explore from time to time. The New Jersey Department of Transportation publishes biking guides, so we plan to ride some of those, too. But you’ve got to load the bikes and take a drive.

For convenience, we’ve been riding the old Lehigh Valley Railroad’s Perth Amboy-South Plainfield line, which was abandoned many years ago. It will soon become part of the Edison Greenway, which includes a new bridge over U.S. Route 1. Eventually, you’ll be able to ride or walk it from South Plainfield, past the Triple C Ranch, all the way to the Woodbridge Center mall.

Like the idea of converting old railroad rights-of-way to greenways? I do, and I plan to get involved with Rail to Trails.