By Glenmore Jones
Register Golf Columnist
Looking back on my life there is one big thing we had back when I was younger that is almost missing these days and that is bicycles.
In the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s most all children and many adults had bicycles. It was a way of life.
We rode them to school, downtown, everywhere and in the summer three or four of us would get together and ride to Valley View, Red House, Union city or some swimming hole or pond out in the country.
The greatest Christmas present I remember getting was a bicycle on my 10th birthday.
No more walking to Madison High, now I could ride my bike and get there quicker. I was a paper boy later and all of us used bicycles to deliver papers.
Thank goodness the papers were not as big then as they are now.
It goes without saying that you did not see any obese kids in those days. Of course you cannot credit it all to the exercise we got. That was before the advent of TV, video games, computers, cell phones and fast food restaurants.
One other reason for the decline of bicycles is the safety factor. In the 1930s there were very few automobiles on the road and it was safe to ride. In the 1940s it was still safe, but as more cars hit the roads toward the end of the 1940s you had to be careful.
There is now a movement afoot to create more bike trails and connecting corridors to build safer and healthier places for healthier people. The Rails for Trails Conservancy (RTC) is pushing for more old railroad beds that are no longer in use to be converted to bicycle trails.
Last year, Governor Beshear authorized a bill that would build a 36-mile bike trail on the Old Dawkins Rail Line. This would be the longest bicycle trail in Kentucky.
I lived in Madison, Wis., for 16 years and there were more bicycle trails there than any place I have ever lived.
The University of Wisconsin had more bicycle commuters than any school I have been around. Most all the little towns in northern Wisconsin were connected by trails that were used for biking in the summer and snowmobiling in the winter.
It is a biker’s paradise.
The most ambitious project of them all is the East Coast Greenway which will span a distance of 3,000 miles from Calais, Maine to Key West, Fla. It will link all the major cities on the east coast. It is 25 percent built now and construction is ongoing.
Last year I was in Florida and just north of Jacksonville on Little Talbot Island they had completed two miles of it. It was a nice concrete trail and looked to be about six feet wide. Just south of Little Talbot the bike trail will cross a ferry to continue down the coastline of Florida.
The motels and bed and breakfast businesses are already advertising on the Internet for places to stop on the Greenway. What an adventure for a biker to under take.
I wish I were younger, had a pocketfull of cash and plenty of time to do it.
Here in the Bluegrass, the best bicycle trail is in Lexington and is called the Legacy Trail. It is a 12-mile asphalt bike trail that connects the Horse Park with the Lexington YMCA. Plans are underway to extend it to Memorial Gardens.
Hats off to you planners!
Here in Richmond I do not see a lot of bicycles or trails. Most of the subdivisions do not have sidewalks and roads leading into town do not have wide shoulders.
Goggins Lane is a ray of sunshine to bikers in Richmond and I see a lot of people walking there.
I live in Hillcrest and it is sad to say that we have no sidewalks or bike trails that connect us to Madison Central and Second Street. The Wilderness Road (Third Street Lane) is especially hazardous to walkers.
The City of Berea is a bike-friendly community with sidewalks and wider streets especially from the interstate to downtown.
I see more bicycles there than in Richmond.
A couple of weeks ago I was talking with Jason Brandenburg, who is NAF Manager and Course Superintendent at the Blue Grass Army Depot. I mentioned to Jason that after the destruction of all the ammunition at the Depot that I would like to see the government authorize building a bicycle path around the perimeter of BGAD for recreational purposes. Jason agreed but said he would also like to see a horse trail.
With those two things and all the beautiful lakes for fishing and other amenities at BGAD what a recreational paradise that could be.
The present administration in Washington had promised to put more people to work by building roads all over the country. I think it would be wonderful to see more bikers and bike trails in the country instead of more roads and gas-guzzling cars.
It would be a dream come true to drive by a school and see racks full of bikes, skinnier kids and fewer school buses, just like the old days.
Dream on … live, love, laugh and learn, Glenmore.