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tour 2 par canet by Serge Postis
go west ride 1 by Richard I H
tour1 by Serge Postis
Epic by martinrees
MARSH FARM-SUNDON-LIMBURY by Callum
Coast 11 by John McGloin
Coast 10 by John McGloin
Coast 9 by John McGloin
Coast 8 by John McGloin
Coast 7 by John McGloin

Why cities love bike hire schemes

Researcher Alexandros Nikitas, from the University of Huddersfield, makes a convincing case for the growth of urban bike hire schemes across the world – saying “they are seen to complement the city’s public transport services, and give the city a more human-friendly feel”. His research also suggests that such schemes are effective in promoting cycling to motorists.

Coast-to-coast across America... on a hire bike

Cycling forums are forever full of “what bike should I choose for my epic trip?” questions. It’s a fair bet that no-one has ever answered “a New York hire Citibike”. But that’s what Jeffrey Tanenhaus chose for his trans-American. Yes, he could have got a better bike for the $1,200 fine levied for late return. That’s kinda not the point…

America’s longest rail trail escapes the axe

The John Wayne Pioneer Trail, the longest rail-trail in the US at 300 miles, has escaped closure at the hands of hostile Washington state lawmakers.

Two Republican members of the Washington House of Representatives, Mary Dye and Joe Schmick, had proposed to close 130 miles of the state-owned trail, and give the land to adjacent landowners. They claimed the trail was under-maintained – an assertion which most cyclists agree with – but that the best way to deal with the problems was simply to get rid of it. Unsurprisingly, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy disagreed, saying:

“Time and time again, we’ve seen trails around the country provide jobs, support small businesses, and reinvigorate local communities. Rather than close the trail, a smart investment in maintenance and improvements for the John Wayne Pioneer Trail could provide big wins for Washington’s economy.”

Now, RTC says that Schmick has agreed to withdraw his closure request, and will instead abide by whatever the State Parks Advisory Committee decides. No fewer than 14 cities en route signed resolutions asking the trail to be improved, not closed. The result – at least for now – is a reprieve for this epic wild trail.

The John Wayne Pioneer Trail is among the most rugged of America’s rail-trails, and a ‘fat bike’ is almost de rigeur. It crosses two-thirds of Washington, from the western slopes of the Cascade Mountains to the Idaho border. Traillink.com says “much of it is so remote and desolate that weeks will pass in some sections where the only visitors are coyotes, black-tailed jackrabbits, or gopher snakes”.

The rough, little-maintained surface, and a couple of gaps in the route – notably the closed Beverly Bridge over the Columbia River – have conspired to limit its appeal. But trail supporters believe that the route could have a much better future if maintenance was improved, and the requirement for a trail-riding permit removed.

Read a six-part account of a journey along the John Wayne Pioneer Trail.

Support the trail via the Tekoa Trail & Trestle Association.

Community bike station in Washington

Here’s a lovely little idea: a free-for-all bike repair station and information centre in Bellingham, WA. It’s been erected by a local building company on a busy street simply because “we want to support bike riders and pedestrians”. More please!

Taiwan aims to be “paradise” for bike tourists

A new 750-mile round-the-island cycle route is spearheading Taiwan’s efforts to become a “cycling paradise”.

The ambition is that of no less than Prime Minister Mao Chi-kuo. Taiwan is already a leading country in bike manufacturing: now it wants to attract more touring cyclists to its shores.

Cycling Route No 1, as it’s called, is a signposted route running around the Far Eastern island. Part is on-road, but almost 400 miles on the east coast runs along scenic bike paths. Along the way, 122 rest stops provide cyclists with supplies and a place to take a breather – with some even set up in local police stations. The full route typically takes nine days to complete, but the Taiwan railways have set up ‘transit depots’ so cyclists can travel part of the route then conclude their journey by train.

As the name suggests, this is just the first in several routes planned for the island. According to Mao:

“We expect to flesh out Taiwan’s future cycling network construction by setting up the second and third round-island routes. With an extended drive continuing into 2018, we have every reason to believe that Taiwan will become an even friendlier environment for cyclists while spurring growth in the local bicycle and tourism sectors.”

Mao is far from the country’s only bike-friendly politician. The Mayor of Taipei, Dr Ko Wen-je, recently cycled 240 miles in under 21 hours, and is widely touted as a future President of the nation. The country hosts an annual Taiwan Cycling Festival, established in 2011.

Full details of the round-the-island route are available on the iTaiwanBike website. bicycletouringpro.com has a good guide to cycling in Taiwan.

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