Vis­i­tor’s take on pro­posed bike path

Rappahannock News - - COMMENT - DEB ROHE Pitts­burgh

Hav­ing re­cently vis­ited the county as a vis­i­tor, it was im­pos­si­ble to not no­tice the No Bike Path signs. For this bi­cy­cle en­thu­si­ast, the signs pro­voked fur­ther re­search.

Bike trails pro­mote re­cre­ation and health along­side scenic ameni­ties. They rep­re­sent a civic re­source. Who could be op­posed?

Some­times, bi­cy­clists. That’s who. A bike path ad­join­ing four-lane Route 211 will ex­pose bi­cy­clists to tailpipe emis­sions of cars and trucks. Con­cen­trated tox­ins off­set the health ben­e­fits for heavy breath­ing ped­alers, par­tic­u­larly when cars are strain­ing on a hill. There is no po­lite way to say this. Ped­al­ing next to a car go­ing up­hill stinks.

There’s a bet­ter route. Sea­soned bi­cy­clists like my­self un­der­stand the ben­e­fits of crushed lime­stone paths along for­mer rail­road beds, tow paths, and two-lane coun­try roads with lit­tle traf­fic.

Does your aes­thetic county re­ally need more pave­ment? Crushed lime­stone is a nat­u­ral ma­te­rial, in­ex­pen­sively main­tained, and eas­ily lev­eled. When black­top or ce­ment buck­les by weather, tree roots, or time, it ren­ders the bi­cy­clist vul­ner­a­ble to tumbles on an un­for­giv­ing sur­face. Resur­fac­ing costs cre­ate a con­tin­ued tax bur­den. Ex­pe­ri­enced bi­cy­clists know the haz­ard will per­sist as tight mu­nic­i­pal bud­gets search for the funds.

While fa­vor­ing bike paths, make a wise de­ci­sion. Your re­gion has no short­age of safe and scenic of­froad trails sur­rounded by fresh air. En­hanced nat­u­ral sur­faces, like crushed lime­stone, will af­ford­ably serve the health and safety of hik­ers, bik­ers, and na­ture lik­ers.

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