Trail Ramblings: Extending Your Reach

murdoch trail
photo credit Janine Copple

The trail report for the week- trails are fast, dry, and relatively clean for the most part. The extension of the Salt Creek Levee Trail from Haymarket Park north to Devaney is no longer blocked off (14th to 27th now, please?) and while the Old Cheney trail from 70th to 84th might not be officially open, it’s getting a lot of use.

gravel girls071415
photo credit Gina Kovanda

I know that it’s easy to put your brain on auto pilot and always take the same route when commuting, or even for a recreational ride. The closure of part of the Rock Island trail for bridge repair and the Jamaica North and Homestead trails as well has forced many of us to find alternate routes. Earlier this spring when the Tierra Williamsburg trail was closed in one section for a repair that took longer than expected, commuters where left wandering the neighborhood for a way to reconnect to the trail, as no detour was posted. While it may be annoying, it is also a way of discovering fresh territory to explore. For some, the thought of riding in the street takes them out of their comfort zone. I don’t advocate using major arterials when there are better, less traveled routes available, but it’s good to be confident when riding in the street and the only way to get to that point is by doing it and knowing the rules of the road. Did you know that it’s technically illegal to ride a bicycle on a sidewalk not only downtown, but in the state of Nebraska? (We are all lawbreakers)

Some of us like extending our reach a little more, and connect trails via gravel roads to make a loop. I like to take the Billy Wolfe to it’s eastern end north of highway 2 and pick up 98th St. to the Mopac. It changes from pavement to gravel and isn’t too busy. I also like to take the Murdock to it’s end at 112th St. just south of Havelock Ave. to connect with the Mopac on the west edge of Walton. Sometimes I combine the two for a bigger loop. If you’re mourning the loss of the Jamaica and Homestead for your quick trip to Roca, know that there are other ways to get there. 25th St. isn’t too busy and provides some fun south of Saltillo to Roca Road, (though you might not get beyond the winery) along with some washboard practice. Southwest 1st (gravel), Folsom and Coddington (both paved, no shoulder) and Denton (paved, nice shoulder to SW 56th) can take you out of the city further to the Southwest. Riding out of Fallbrook to the northwest offers a good mix of paved trail, gravel, and even some dirt roads for the adventurous. So shake up your routine a little and get out of your comfort zone. A new favorite ride may be awaiting your discovery.