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New Coverage: All of North America

Continuing our slow rollout, the Wireless Bike Map now covers all of North America.  Want to ride from Fairbanks down to Montreal?  You're covered.  How about from Boston to Mexico City?  No problem.  From Honolulu to Miami?  Well, you'll have problems, but it won't be because of the maps.

The Wireless Bike Map will continue to grow over the coming months.  Watch the map for more updates!

Ride: North Diversion Channel

Albuquerque, New Mexico is right in the middle of the desert in the southwestern United States, so you may think that it never rains in the city.  But it is at high elevation and right next to some mountains, and it benefits from the norther New Mexico "monsoon season": during the late summer, afternoon thunderstorms roll through the city several times a week.  It's good to avoid getting caught on one of these storms when you're on a bike, as they can be very intense.  But the bright side of these storms is the great network of trails that they have indirectly created.

As Albuquerque grew throughout the first half of the 1900s, the flash floods that these regular thunderstorms could create became more and more problematic.  By the early 1960s, the Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority (AMAFCA) was founded to start creating a system of arroyos around town that could help mitigate these floods.  While natural desert arroyos are just dry streambeds tha…

Ride: Billy Wolff Trail

Lincoln, Nebraska has extensive biking infrastructure, much of which is built on old railroad right-of ways or along existing highways.  The major exception to these trends is the Billy Wolff trail, which follows Antelope Creek from its origin in southeast Lincoln to the point it empties into Salt Creek on the north end of the city.
Antelope Creek starts out as a tiny trickle in the far southeast corner of Lincoln, growing into a large stream by the time it reaches Salt Creek eleven miles later.  The creek is an important drainage path for a large portion of the city, but as the city grew, it slowly got narrowed and pushed into underground drainage pipes.  Historically, this led to a variety of flooding problems along its path, and eventually the city started doing work to fix the problem.  In the early 1960s, Holmes Lake was created when a large dam was built across the creek in southern Lincoln.  This created a buffer for storm water, but work continued long after that to keep impro…

Ride: The Field Club Trail

A short stretch of multi-use trail built on an old rail like runs through central Omaha, Nebraska.  Linking Leavenworth and Vinton Streets, the Field Club Trail was built in the same way as many of the best urban bike routes: on top of an abandoned railroad right of way.

In the 1880s, Omaha was still reaping the benefits of being the eastern terminus of the first transcontinental railroad in the United States, and it was during this time that the Belt Line Railway was built around what was then the outskirts of the city.  The history of how the line was built is colorful, and when it was done it was a 15 mile path that started in South Omaha, proceeded through downtown, looped around North Omaha, and made its way south again through what is now the center of the city.  After being built, businesses and factories grew up along it, and passengers used it to get between parts of the city and to link up with trains to other cities.

Like all of the smaller railways that were built in this …

Ride: The Burke-Gilman Trail

Winding through northern Seattle is a bike path built on an old railroad right of way.  Starting in the west on the shore of the Puget Sound, the Burke-Gilman trail works its way east along the ship canal to Lake Union before turning north and following the Lake Washington shore up toward Bothell.  It is a popular trail for walking, jogging, biking, and commuting.

In the 1880s, Seattle was a growing city that was quickly being crisscrossed with railroad lines.  One of these new lines was the Seattle, Lake Shore, and Eastern Railway, founded in 1885 by Thomas Burke, Daniel Gilman and a set of additional investors. Starting in downtown Seattle, the railway roughly followed the shores of Lake Union and Lake Washington north to Woodinville.  There it split: one half headed north toward Snoqualmie Falls, while the other headed south toward what is now Issaquah.  As was the fate of many railways that started in that timeframe, the SLS&E was eventually merged with other rail companies, a…

Ride: Cherry Creek

Denver's nickname is "The Mile High City", which, while lower than some other cities, is pretty high up.  If you're from lower lands, riding around the city can be pretty tough.  Luckily, there's a nice, generally flat trail that follows a stream from downtown all the way out into the countryside beyond the surrounding suburbs.

Cherry Creek is a stream that starts out in the hills south of Denver, flowing north toward the city.  It winds through the surrounding land, through the suburbs, and through Denver itself, eventually emptying into the South Platte River near the spot where the city of Denver was originally founded in the mid 1800s.  Today, the juncture of these two streams is marked by Confluence Park, and is the northern end of the Cherry Creek Trail.  Nearly all of its 40 miles are paved, and it generally runs below street level.  This makes the trail pleasant to ride on with few street crossings to worry about.  In the downtown section, there are plent…

Ride: The Wabash Trace

From the mid 1800s to the mid 1900s, the Wabash Railroad managed a variety of rail lines that stretched from Ohio to Nebraska, servicing cities like Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City.  A number of branch lines served smaller cities and towns along the way, including a branch that ran from Missouri up to Council Bluffs, Iowa.  Today, that rail line is the Wabash Trace Nature Trail, a bike path that runs through the rolling hills of western Iowa.

The western end of the 63-mile Wabash Trace is located in Council Bluffs, and it snakes through several small Iowa towns on its way to the Missouri border.  Perhaps the most famous of these towns in Mineola, home to the Mineola Steakhouse and the destination of the weekly Wabash Trace Taco Ride.  The twenty-mile round-trip ride from Council Bluffs to Mineola happens every Thursday during the summer, and is a regular pilgrimage for hundreds of riders each week.

Starting out on the southern edge of Council Bluffs, the ride quickly move…