miles by elliptical bicycle
teve Curtis, a Rails-to-Trails
Conservancy member from Florida,
was busy etching his name into the
record books, becoming
only the 74th person to
complete a sanctioned
century ride on an ellipti-
cal bicycle. Along with his
good friend Sid Scheck,
Steve accomplished that
impressive feat during the
Clean Air Ride on the
Withlacoochee State Trail
in March.
The Withlacoochee
Trail is truly one of the
most scenic trails I’ve rid-
den on,” Steve writes. But
it wasn’t all pleasant sight-
seeing. “The Elliptigo is
a little tougher than my Trek 7.5 FX.
The 20-inch wheels and the weight (45
pounds) make for a tougher workout. I
have found that 12–14 mph is about all
I can muster over a long distance. We
were in the foot platforms for 8 hours
and 6 minutes to complete the ride.”
A journey Down Under
effrey Bludeau sent us some
terrific photos from a recent
trip to New Zealand to ride
the Otago Central Rail Trail.
This 150-km (93-mile) rail-trail
through New Zealand’s South
Island has fast become one of the
world’s most popular trail destinations.
According to Jeff, it is easy to see why.
I can’t recommend this trail strongly
enough,” he says. “You should send your
entire staff over to check it out!”
Jeff, I think you’re on to something
there. Sounds like a great idea to us!
on the tracks—will now be used to
bring them together. In the late 1990s,
Chicago ranked its 77 communities in
terms of open space; the four neighbor-
hoods that the rail-trail will serve—
Wicker Park, Bucktown, Humboldt
Park and Logan Square—were at the
bottom of the list. To help remedy this,
the Bloomingdale will connect a series
of new and refurbished parks in what
Helphand describes as an “archipelago of
green space.”
Julia de Burgos Park, the first of the
project’s three new pocket parks to be
completed, already is well used and well
loved by the children of Logan Square,
says Helphand, a resident of the neigh-
borhood. There are five schools imme-
diately adjacent to the trail, and The
Trust for Public Land will be working
with them to determine if there are ways
the trail could be used as an outdoor
classroom. Eight access points along the
route will allow people to reach the trail
from these parks and other gathering
points below.
Construction of the trail began in
summer 2013. The Trust for Public
Land hopes to have the trail useable,
end to end, by the fall of 2014.
The Bloomingdale Trail is really
going to transform lives,” says White.
It’s a part of our industrial past that’s
being turned into an amenity for today
and the next hundred years.”
A photography exhibit, “Reframing
Ruin,” captures the life of the
Bloomingdale before its transformation.
The show, presented at the Center for
Neighborhood Technology (1741 N.
Western Ave., Chicago) by Friends of
the Bloomingdale Trail and The Trust
for Public Land, ends August 22. It’s
telling that the images on display come
not from professionals but from dozens
of citizens. Says Helphand, “There is
something about this monolith that has
fascinated people for years.”
For more information on the project,
A designer’s rendering of the proposed
trail access point and arts plaza at Damen
Stunning sunsets were a
feature of Jeffrey Bludeau’s
rail-trail ride in New Zealand.
Steve Curtis (right) and
his friend Sid Scheck
above) completed
a century ride on
elliptical bicycles in
Florida recently.
It’s always terrific to see what our members
have been up to, when they’re not taking it
easy reading
Rails to Trails