Over 40 bicyclists will pedal 325-miles during a weeklong ride (Oct. 5th-11th) from Philadelphia to Fredericksburg, Va. on the East Coast Greenway, the urban version of the Appalachian Trail. This amazing 2,900-mile route stretches from the Canadian border in Maine and through 15 states and the District of Columbia to Key West, Florida.
This year’s riders will celebrate improvements along the route, such as the stunning Schuylkill River Boardwalk that opened Oct. 2 in Philadelphia, advocate for a safe crossing across the Susquehanna River in Maryland for bicyclists, walkers, joggers and other non-motorized users as well as meet with local, state and national officials along the way.
“Every year we get to know our communities and landmarks better, exploring the Eastern Seaboard at a pace that allows us to connect with the rich history, culture and nature of the region. We bring tens of thousands of tourism dollars to the communities we visit and aim to spur further greenway development toward a healthy and sustainable future transportation system,” said Dennis Markatos-Soriano, the East Coast Greenway Alliance’s executive director.
More than 60 million people live within 25 miles of the Greenway, which receives an estimated 10 million visits each year, and users can follow the route to commute to work and school, or to run errands, or to head out on longer adventures.
The creation of the East Coast Greenway has spurred officials at the state, county and local levels to create safer routes for pedestrians and bicyclists along the route as well as to connect to other trails, leveraging their value. Many cities along the trail have a bike-friendly designation from the League of American Bicyclists.
Currently, about 30% of the East Coast Greenway route is off-road, using trails such as the B&A Trail in Maryland and the Mount Vernon Trail in Virginia.
The East Coast Greenway Alliance, a non-profit organization based in Durham, N.C. that is coordinating the development of this greenway, has been organizing week-long rides along the route since 2011. The first Week-a-Year ride was from Calais, Maine to Portland, Maine, and the goal is to finish in Key West in 2019.
Key events on this year’s ride include:
- Monday, Oct. 6: A press conference and photo event with Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, a big supporter of trails. The state has just budgeted for the final phase of a 7-mile trail from Wilmington to New Castle and is doing planning work on a Wilmington-to-Newark trail.
- Monday, Oct. 6: A rally in Perryville, Maryland, in support of a bike-friendly crossing over the Susquehanna River.
- Wednesday, Oct. 8: Happy Hour with Annapolis, Anne Arundel county and state officials.
- Friday, Oct. 10: Morning photo with tour riders and staff from the City of Alexandria.