This 84-mile multi-use trail starts at New Haven, Connecticut and stretches all the way to Northampton, Massachusetts. It is made up of three sections: the southern section between New Haven and Plainville, the middle section between Farmington and Suffield, and the northern section between Southwick and Northampton.
The development of the trail is not yet finished. Only 72% of the parts in Connecticut are done and 47% in Massachusetts.
The trail used to be a canal. It was constructed in 1825 when a group of businessmen from New Haven decided to push for a project similar to New York’s newly opened Erie Canal. It took a decade to complete and was in operation for twelve years. A rail bed was eventually laid out along its path in response to the growing popularity of railroads as a cost-efficient mode of transportation. The railroad operated for over a century. Unfortunately, it was destroyed by floods during the 1980s. It was never restored partly because of the increasing popularity of trucks and other vehicles as alternative means of transportation at the time.
In response to the dramatic decline in railroad use, people began exploring the idea of transforming old railroads and canal towpaths into multi-use trails. This eventually led to the formation of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy in 1984.
In 1987, a group of Hamden and Chershire residents successfully convinced the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) stop the sale of the old canal to private developers and instead rebuild it as a multi-use trail. This group of volunteers later on formed the Farmington Canal Rail-to-Trail Association (FCRTTA), which, to this day, is still actively pushing for the continued development and maintenance of the trail.
The trail’s first six miles officially opened in 1996, with parts of the old canal left intact. In Chershire, only a single canal lock was restored, but it was later on made part of the Lock 12 Historical Park. The park features a museum, several carpenter and blacksmith shops, a picnic area and a lockkeeper’s house.
The Farmington Valley Trails Council (FVTC) was established in 1992. Its main objective is to increase public awareness and support of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy projects and facilitate the completion of these projects by coordinating with respective town governments.
The trail today
Thousands of bikers, hikers, runners and skaters visit the completed sections of the trail each day. The picturesque and historic views it provides are among the most loved in the entire New England area.
REV3 Finale: Venice Beach
Sunrise and wind. Photo by Eric Wynn.
It was really fun starting off with a quick little run first—with the exception of short-course ITU racing you don’t often find yourself in that large of a pack on the run in a triathlon. It felt like a real horse-race! I think the purpose of doing a 1.5 mile run first for the pros was to attempt to break up the field somewhat but most of the ladies ended up coming into T1 together anyway. It was a bit frantic with everyone trying to kick off their shoes and grab their bikes at the same time, not to mention that it was a really narrow space to begin with, but I had a good spot and was able to get through without any issues.
The 1.5 mile horse-race. Photo by Eric Wynn.
My strategy on the bike was to ride conservatively for the first half and let the tailwind do a lot of the work for me before pushing the pace and trying to make a move once we made the turn into the wind. Alicia Kaye and Becky Lavelle took it out REALLY hard and established a gap right away, but I hung back in a group that included Nicole Kelleher and Lauren Goss. I felt that I could afford to let Alicia go because she was not competing for the overall series, and while Becky was in the running for the series it was a tighter battle points-wise going into the race between Nicole, Lauren, and myself so I wanted to mark them for a while instead of risking a major blow-up by pushing too hard too early. This plan unfolded exactly the way I envisioned and I was able to bridge up to the leaders while building a gap on Nicole and Lauren in the second half of the ride. There was a short out-and-back section with about 10 miles to go where you could get a good look at everyone—and I liked what I saw! Rolling into T2 in 2nd place just steps behind Becky, I knew I was positioned about as perfectly as I could hope for going into the half-marathon.
I made quick work of T2 and actually got out onto the run course in first place. My lead was short-lived, however, as Becky came storming by within the first half-mile. I didn’t panic because I had done the math and knew that I still had some wiggle room in the overall series in relation to Becky. I’ve been guilty of taking the run out too fast on more than one occasion this season and my plan was to start off more conservatively and then build the pace. However, when I tried to tighten the screws down a bit there was nothing there. My legs felt really heavy, I could tell my form was not pretty and no matter how I tried I could not seem to get my feet to turn over any faster. Nicole passed me somewhere late in the first lap, then I began a steady slide backwards through the field. The second lap of the run was something of a death march and I’m pretty sure that Mile 9 was the longest mile of my life. By the time I crossed the finish line I had slipped to 8th place, which was exactly where I did NOT want to be: in a position that did absolutely nothing to improve my overall series score and would in fact drop me down to 5th place in the final series standings.
Post-race with Trish, my high school swim coach’s wife. She’s a stud! Photo by Matt Rydson.
I’d like to express my gratitude to the following for their support over the weekend: to Ray & Lynn for theirincredible hospitality; to Brittany for the good company and introducing me to Ray & Lynn in the first place; to Chris Jarc for the much-need post-race piggyback ride; to Charlie, Eric, Sean, Stu, Ashley, Alex…oh gosh, there are too many to name! To the entire REV3 staff for being the most wonderful, friendly, fun, supportive, and professional event staff around; to the media crew for the great work (can’t wait to see the TV coverage!); to the city of Venice Beach for the venue and to all the volunteers who donated their time to make this event a success; and of course to my sponsors who help make it possible for me to get to the starting line in the first place (REV3, Recovery Pump, Powerbar, Pearl Izumi, Rudy Project, Blueseventy, Fezzari, Maxxis, and The Bike Shoppe).
Special congratulations to Brittany Banker for capping off a stellar season and celebrating 8 years of kicking cancer in the butt, to Trish Rydson on her age group win (great to see you Trish & Matt!), to Becky Lavelle & Jesse Thomas on their impressive victories, to Nicole Kelleher and Richie Cunningham for their spectacular seasons and the well-deserved series titles, and to my teammate Jessica Meyers for a great performance and clawing her way up to third place on the day. One day I will be tough as nails like that!
Any excuse to play dress-up! Any guesses as to what I am? Photo by Ray Pecharich.
This 13-mile Oklahoma River Trail system, as the name implies, runs along the Oklahoma River (which is technically the North Canadian River). It starts east of downtown Oklahoma City on I-35 and goes all the way to either Meridian Ave. along the south part of the river or Portland Ave. on the north. This trail is perfect for a hybrid bike.
The official trail map shows all the parking areas along the length of the course. Each one provides direct access to the trail but some of them are via dirt/gravel roads. Below is a list of the ones that provide paved access:
• North Side
• South Side
o East of Shields
o Skate Park at Robinson
o SW 15th (east of Portland)
o SW 15th (east of Meridian)
Of course, all of the parking areas provide street access as well.
If you want to do a loop from Bricktown, head on over to the river’s north side (found just east of Byers close to the rowing club boathouse) and start your ride there. Once at Robinson, cross the bridge and make your way to Portland along the south side trail. As soon as you reach the parking lot, exit the trail and make your way to 15th Street. Portland is just a quarter of a mile from there. Take the pedestrian walkway to cross over the river and ride for another 50 yards from the end of the bridge. This will bring you to a paved road that leads back to the north side trail. The north side trail will take you back to the rowing club boathouse. This route aims to keep bikers on the Portland bridge’s north-bound side, ultimately keeping them from crossing the busy four-lane Portland road.
On the other hand, if you want to start a loop from the west, then head on over to either the Portland or Meridian parking lot and make your way to the Portland bridge. As soon as you get to the bridge, cross over to the north side, bike the entire length of the trail and make your way to Robinson. Once at Robinson, cross over to the south side. You can head back to your starting point from here.
Now, if you prefer to start your ride from Meridian, then just make you way to the trails’ east end and then ride back to Meridian. This provides a good 20-mile ride.
Despite the length of the loops, the entire trail system is still very easy because it consists of paved roads throughout.
We are often asked, “How can I know my bike will fit properly when It arrives? How can I get a good fit on my new bike when I’m not even there?” This video takes a couple of minutes to show the unique 23-point custom setup we include on each of our bikes. Whether it’s a road bike or mountain bike Fezzari can custom fit a bike just for you. We do this by getting a few specific measurements, from each rider, that you can find on our Fit Guide. Find the Fezzari bike that is perfect for you.
“As a manufacturer we have the unique opportunity to deal directly with the customer. People ask us how they will know that their bike will fit them when it arrives. How can they get a good fit when they aren’t even there? We get some detailed measurements from each person that helps us lock in the exact fit.
If it fits better it’s going to ride better, and you’ll ride more because of it.
Your riding preference is going to determine a large part of what we do here at Fezzari in preparation in delivering your bike to you. If you ride triathlons or if you ride road or all mountain and cross country, we’re going to set up your bike accordingly.
We custom fit and build each bike for each person.
We are looking at your measurements and then setting up the bike making sure the reach is just right and that the saddle positioning is set, the seat height, and crank length are specifically for you.
We ask for your height, weight, inseam, arm, and torso length, shoulder width and age. We use these measurements to get you on the right frame with the right stem, crank, and seat post. We then make adjustments to saddle and stem positioning depending on how you ride. We even set the tire pressure and suspension settings to match your weight and riding style. Your comments also help us to make sure that the bike is set up just right.
Having purchased a bike, I’ve experienced the process myself. I’ve had a bike fit for me and I can tell you that riding a bike that has been fit specifically for me feels a hundred times better than picking up a stock bike that is a general fit.
We often get asked if we make women’s specific bikes. We go way beyond the generic women’s fit to a person specific fit. Each person is proportioned differently that’s why we fit the bike specifically to you.
Having grown up on bikes I’ve spent a lot of time riding all sorts of disciplines road, mountain, all mountain, skate park, and urban riding. I think that that love really translates to an attention to detail. Ever bike that we send out of here I know that I would personally ride that bike and I know that it is going to perform for which ever customer gets it.
If I’m going to take the responsibility to look over a bike I want it to be my best work and I want the rider to be happy on it. I want them to ride with a smile, and to know that the bike was custom fit specifically for them.
We really take pride in our work. We test ride every bike that goes out of here. We often think about the person that is getting the bike, and we hope that they are riding it and it is not just hung up in a garage, but that they really appreciate it for the work of art that I believe it is.
We ship most of our bike and they go all over the world. We simply remove the front wheel, handle bars, seat, and peddles. It takes just a couple minutes to put back together and it’s ready to ride.
I’m making a product specifically for somebody instead of just getting it out of the door. It brings the biking a little more to life.
Would you get a pair of running shoes that are a half size off even though it is a good deal? Would you buy a suit that doesn’t fit right? Our bikes are custom tailored specifically for each customer. They are person specific bikes.”
This 21-mile trail is fairly new. It originally formed part of the abandoned Laramie, Hans and Pacific Railroad until it was converted into a multi-use rail trail in 2007. The trail now features five sections.
Pelton Creek Trailhead to Vienna Trailhead
This first section is six miles long. The Pelton Creek Trailhead is located at the southern end of the trail. It features pay parking, a picnic table and a restroom. The Vienna Trailhead, on the other hand, does not have the same amenities but is the perfect spot for loading and unloading horses.
The path between the two trailheads consists primarily of small gravel, which provides a relatively easy ride, save for the slight incline and a couple of divots.
Vienna Trailhead to Woods Creek Trailhead
The Woods Creek Trailhead features the exact same amenities as Pelton Creek. It is located five miles from the Vienna Trailhead. The path takes you through a section of the Gramm forest that was destroyed by a forest fire in 2003 but is now slowly recovering.
Woods Creek Trailhead to Lincoln Guch Trailhead
This three-mile section crosses Highway 230. The path between the highway and Fox Park is quite rough but still provides an easy ride. The trailhead features a restroom and gravel parking.
Lincoln Guch Trailhead to Lake Owen Trailhead
The five-mile path between these two trailheads feature a relatively more compacted surface, which makes it the most bike-friendly section of the entire trail. The Lake Owen Trailhead features picnic tables, a restroom, potable water supply and two parking areas. It also has a caboose, an information board, a handicap-accessible hiking trail and campgrounds.
Lake Owen to Dry Park Trailheads
The three-mile ride between these two trailheads features a rather soft gravel path, which is expected to become more compact as more and more people use it. The Dry Park Trailhead has no amenities at the moment, except for a free parking area.
Things to do
Aside from the usual hike or bike ride, you can also drop by the Nici Self Museum for a trip down memory lane as it takes you through the rich history of the Centennial Valley.
The renovated 1872 prison at the Laramie-based Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site is also another good place to visit. The site takes you back to the time of the Wild West with its buildings, horse barn theater, 1800s-style baseball games and other special events.
There are only 13 USA Cycling-recognized varsity teams in the United States. Unlike cycling clubs, these teams are headed by licensed USA Cycling coaches and receive more funding from their respective schools. Not all have scholarships, but many do.
Varsity Cycling Requirements
Cycling teams that want to be recognized as varsity programs by USA Cycling must meet at least three of the following criteria:
- Awards no less than $10,000 in athlete scholarships annually
- Team shoulders entry fees of most collegiate races
- Participates in at least two USA Cycling Collegiate National Championships annually
- Recognized as a varsity program by the school
Brevard College, Brevard, North Carolina
The Brevard College cycling team meets all four of the criteria set by USA Cycling. It is headed by Coach Brian Sheedy. It participates in Division II athletics.
Colorado Mesa University, Grand Junction, Colorado
The Colorado Mesa Mavericks cycling team offers scholarships to its athletes, takes care of race entry fees and has participated in numerous national championships. It is headed by Coach Rick Crawford and participates in Division I athletics.
Cumberland University, Lebanon, Tennessee
Just like Brevard college, Cumberland University’s cycling team also meets all four of USA Cycling’s requirements. It is headed by Coach Tim Hall and competes in Division I athletics.
Fort Lewis College, Fort Lewis, Colorado
The Fort Lewis College cycling team, just like the Colorado Mesa University team, hands out scholarships, shoulders race entry fees and has competed in several national championships. It is headed by Coach Dave Hagen and participates in Division I athletics.
King College, Bristol, Tennessee
King College’s cycling team is officially recognized by the school as a varsity team. It also awards scholarships and pays for race entry fees. It is headed by Coach Dan Kreiss and competes in Division II athletics.
Lees-McRae College, Banner Elk, North Carolina
The Lees-McRae College cycling team meets all four USA Cycling requirements. It is headed by Coach Luke Winger and competes in Division I athletics.
Lindenwood University, Grover, Missouri
Lindenwood University’s cycling team also meets all the requirements to be considered an official varsity cycling team. It is headed by Coach Chris Mileski and participates in Division I athletics.
Lindsey-Wilson College, Columbia, Kentucky
The Lindsey Wilson College cycling team meets all four requirements and is headed by Coach David Grigsby. It competes in Division I athletics.
Marian University, Indianapolis, Indiana
The Marian University cycling team also meets all the USA Cycling requirements. It is headed by Coach Dean Peterson and participates in Division I athletics.
Mars Hill College, Mars Hill, North Carolina
Mars Hill College’s cycling team has participated in numerous national championships. It grants scholarships to its athletes and takes care of race entry fees. It is headed by Coach Hugh Moran and competes in Division II athletics.
Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, Texas
The Midwestern State University cycling team takes care of race entry fees and has competed in several national championships. It also awards scholarships to its athletes. The program is headed by Coach Charlie Zamastil. The team competes in Division I athletics.
Ripon College, Ripon, Wisconsin
The Ripon College cycling team is recognized by the school as an official varsity team. It takes care of race entry fees and has competed in several national championships. The program is headed by Coach Ric Damm. The team participates in Division II athletics.
Virginia Intermont College, Bristol, Virginia
Finally, Virgina Intermont College’s cycling team meets the exact same criteria as Ripon College. It is headed by Coach Dwayne Letterman and competes in Division II athletics.
We sell mountain bikes all over the world to many demographics of riders, many who are seasoned racers competing at the highest level and many are just getting into the sport. While we love all of our customers, some of our favorite people to work with are those protecting us day in and day out, our police forces. We have outfitted many police units from Chicago to Moab, UT and many in between. Most recently we were able to help the Orem, Utah police force who are right here in our own backyard. The new bike unit puts in many miles to protect and keep our communities safe. Here is a great story about the Orem, UT police force patrolling the popular Provo Canyon River Trail right in out backyard. Who knows, maybe we will see these officers in the new Pacific Blue TV series.