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Old 12-13-08, 05:52 PM   #1
City_Smasher
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US Bicycle Route System In The Works

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/...n4662079.shtml
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Old 12-13-08, 08:50 PM   #2
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Wow!

HI,
What a neat idea, I hope it catches on, could you imagine taking a Vacation and touring some of the Local states, without living in fear of being road Kill. I would drive a long ways to bring a bike to a neat ride like that..
Doug
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Old 12-13-08, 09:35 PM   #3
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They should also consider construction of paved shouldes on sections f busy roads to create links between areas. This seems something like the Sustrans network in the UK http://www.sustrans.org.uk/default.a...=1148982959687
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Old 12-13-08, 10:14 PM   #4
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I live off of one of Pennsylvania's bike routes, and it's not all that great. I don't feel too endangered riding on it, but I don't ride on it at night.
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Old 12-13-08, 11:03 PM   #5
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I posted this earl seems these news people live in a cave.



http://www.ppolnews.com/?id=83975&ke...Route-approved

The United States is on a path to creating what could become the largest official bicycle route network in the world, thanks to the approval of a new plan by America's leading authority on national route designations. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has just approved a National Corridor Plan laying out the framework and guidelines for the development of this system.

The plan identifies corridors connecting America's urban, rural, and suburban areas. The corridors cover well over 50,000 miles, which, if transformed into routes along roads and trails, would create the largest official bicycle route network in any country or on any continent. By comparison, the planned Euro-Vélo network in Europe is projected to be 60,000 kilometers or 36,000 miles.

The U.S. plan has been under development for nearly four years under the auspices of an AASHTO task force on national bicycle routes, with representatives from federal and state transportation agencies and nonprofit organizations. The plan has gone through more than a dozen revisions—with input from hundreds of federal and state officials, cycling advocacy groups, and individuals—as well as review and approval by AASHTO's committees on traffic engineering, design, and non-motorized transportation.

John Horsley, executive director of AASHTO, praised the adoption of the national plan: "Bicycling is an increasingly popular transportation option that helps our environment and improves the quality of life for many Americans. AASHTO is pleased to be working with Adventure Cycling to foster the development of a national system of bicycle routes. State departments of transportation can now collaborate with local agencies and neighboring states to begin establishing these routes throughout the United States."

Jim Sayer, executive director of Adventure Cycling Association (ACA) added: "We are very pleased to have AASHTO's stamp of approval on this plan. Because the process of developing the plan was so collaborative, and with national interest in cycling on the rise, we are already seeing a number of states jump ahead to create official interstate routes." Adventure Cycling is the largest membership cycling group in North America and provided significant staff support in the creation of the plan. The financial contributions of the Educational Foundation of America, the Lazar Foundation, Bikes Belong, and members of Adventure Cycling made this staff support possible.

The development of a U.S. route system follows the path of many other countries and regions that are establishing bicycle networks for transportation, recreation, and tourism. The United Kingdom has rapidly grown its National Cycle Network from 4,000 miles in 2000 to more than 12,000 miles today. Other European countries with major networks include Germany (approximately 7,000 miles), Denmark (2,400 miles), the Netherlands (2,700 miles) and Switzerland (3,000 miles). Other notable networks can be found in Western Australia and the Province of Quebec, which unveiled its very popular 2,400 mile La Route Verte (the "Green Way") in August 2007.

Research is showing that well-designed cycling networks generate major increases in non-motorized trips. In the United Kingdom, for example, the national network triggered growth in these trips from 85.5 million in 2000 to 338 million in 2006. Similar gains are being seen in Quebec, which is also using the network to promote province-wide economic development and tourism.

"We have seen tremendous interest from states that want to make cycling a much more prominent part of their transportation and tourism portfolios" said Adventure Cycling's Ginny Sullivan, who has served as the lead staff coordinator for the project.

Now that the plan has been approved, states and nonprofits are free to work together and develop official interstate routes. According to Sullivan, several states are already moving forward, including Virginia, Michigan, and Florida. Numerous other states have also shown an increasing interest in creating routes that link urban, suburban, and rural destinations.

"We know this route network will not materialize overnight," said Sullivan. "But then again, neither did the Interstate Highway System. We're just thrilled to see the high level of interest right now."

For more information about the U.S. Bicycle Route System project, go to www.adventurecycling.org/usbrs. Web pages include the corridor plan and criteria, a corridor plan map, and information about other national and provincial route networks.

Adventure Cycling Association is the largest membership cycling group in North America with over 44,000 members. A nonprofit organization, Adventure Cycling's mission is to inspire people of all ages to travel by bicycle. It produces routes and maps for cycling in North America, organizes tours, and publishes Adventure Cyclist magazine. Contact Adventure Cycling at (800) 755-BIKE (2453), info@adventurecycling.org, or visit www.adventurecycling.org.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) advocates transportation-related policies and provides technical services to support states in their efforts to efficiently and safely move people and goods. Information about AASHTO is available at www.transportation.org.
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Old 12-13-08, 11:05 PM   #6
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I have not now or ever understood the bike routes. I don't see anything different in those roads than I do on most of the roads I travel. It just seems like a waste of money to me.
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Old 12-14-08, 01:13 AM   #7
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I suspect people would feel stupid telling you to get off of a bicycle route, but that's just me. I'm happy that my county/state has been lowering the speed limit on back country roads. The one that goes by my house doesn't really need a 55 mph speed limit either.
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Old 12-14-08, 04:49 AM   #8
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I hope they provide GPS coordinates of the entire route. Alot of those roads don't have signs posted so a GPS route would be a lot of help.

I still think the route will be on 65+ mph highways once you get out west.
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Old 12-14-08, 12:26 PM   #9
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Personally, I don't have any MUPs or bike paths on my daily commute and even if I did, I'd likely prefer to ride in the road. However, I'm sure there are plenty of people who would rather ride less than 15 mph and don't feel safe on the roads. Plus, I think knowing that there are 'safe' paths to ride on will encourage more people to get on bikes, and if its on a commuting route, ride to work. (I've heard plenty of horror stories of idiot cyclists/joggers/walkers/families on the paths, so safe is relative I suppose)

The thought of a car-free ride across the US, though, seems like an amazing idea to me. While I do generally prefer to ride on the roads, after an hour or so of listening to rush hour traffic I get pretty sick of all the noise and such.

http://www.greenway.org/ is the East Coast Greenway, a grassroots (I believe) movement trying to organize an all off-road path along the east coast. As far as I know, only 20% of the ride is on bike paths right now, but I find the prospect of being able to have a network of paths not only in my state but linking the entire east coast very exciting.
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Old 12-14-08, 12:37 PM   #10
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I think it's great.

There is a misconception that MUPs are for slow cyclists. Maybe in your own small slice of the world that's true .....but in mine cyclists can most times go as fast as they want.

Every place is different and broad generalizations don't help the discussion.

This is a positive move for cyclists and will encourage more folks to get off their butt and onto a bike.
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Old 12-14-08, 07:34 PM   #11
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How will placing signs on the side of the road encourage more people to ride a bike on the roads? The article says "roads and trails". Sure, they are including the MUPs but all this is, is placing "Bike Route" signs along the side of the road. Nothing is being built for this route system, they just include what is already built to be part of the system.

Ohio Route 6 is an example of such a route. I see the signs on the side of the road now saying it is a bike route. That road doesn't look any different to me than any other road that I ride on.

If anything, I am against this idea. First, I think it is a waste of money. Second, it gives people who don't know the law the idea that bikes should only ride on the "Bike Route" roads, instead of any road they choose.
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Old 12-15-08, 11:51 AM   #12
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NY State has three main bike routers. Two go East West (Rt 5 and 17) and one goes North South (Rt 9). I've ridden on parts of Bike route 5 and have to say that it is nice to know that at least bikes were kept in mind on there roads. The speed limits are largely 45 MPH or lower and at least they ensure that there is some sort of shoulder. Many of the other rural roads have just about no shoulder. 55 MPH traffic on a road without a shoulder is NOT my idea of a nice place to go for a ride. I know I have the right in most places to be on the road, but I want trucks, busses and cars to be able to pass me without much effort. That way I don't have to count on any of them coming to a quick stop because there is on coming traffic and there is no room to get around me. The bike route section I rode is certainly not perfect. Compared to just about any bike path I've experienced in Holland and the bike route might almost be considered a joke, but I'll take ANY step in the right direction. It would be nice if these types of paths connected from one state to the next. It would allow one to actually consider riding long distances more readily.

Happy riding,
André
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Old 12-15-08, 01:21 PM   #13
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Their website is poor. You should be able to see routes in whatever state you wanted to, else it will never catch on.
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Old 12-15-08, 10:33 PM   #14
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The actual routes don't all exist. Just the corridors where local officials or whoever gets their act together can designate cycle friendly roads. Isn't really any different than finding your own way. Although the transamerica books were nice. Made route finding pretty easy when very very tired. I just ran across one of mine from 1976 the other day - probably mostly still usable!

Still, a rather optimistic view of the world. Bike route signs mean little with trucks 12" from one's left elbow!
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Old 12-16-08, 11:16 AM   #15
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If you like this idea and want to support the effort, Join Adventure Cycling. For people who are members this isn't news. It's been "on the agenda" for years and in nearly every piece of material that I see from ACA. Someone above said they got allot out of their 1976 cross country map, ACA is the same organization that did that one, with 32 years more practice. $25.00 of well spent charity money IMHO.

I am in no way associated with ACA other than being a normal dues paying member.

Scot
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Old 12-16-08, 12:59 PM   #16
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The actual routes don't all exist. Just the corridors where local officials or whoever gets their act together can designate cycle friendly roads. Isn't really any different than finding your own way.
This is almost exactly what non-interstate numbered routes in the US for cars, at least in the east. You had lots of roads but no system. Then different automobile organizations started determining good routes, publishing maps, and putting up signs. Eventually this became a government role, and I can walk a block away and get on MA route 16. Numbered routes are great for medium to long distance travel in cars; I would expect similarly for bikes.

See:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auto_trail
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_...bered_Highways
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Old 12-16-08, 01:38 PM   #17
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Quote:
Isn't really any different than finding your own way.
I find it's much, much easier to know where I'm going when there are signs.
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Old 12-16-08, 04:27 PM   #18
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A few FAQ from AAHTO:

The U.S. Bicycle Route System

The U.S. Bicycle Route System is a proposed network of bicycle routes of national and regional significance. These routes are selected by the State Departments of Transportation (DOTs), and designated and cataloged by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

Background

The designation of U.S. Bicycle Routes began in the 1970s with U.S. Bicycle Route 1 through North Carolina and Virginia, and U.S. Bicycle Route 76 through Virginia, Kentucky, and Illinois. No other designations of U.S. Bicycle Routes have been made since these first two routes were established.

In 2004, to help facilitate the continued development of a coordinated system of U.S. Bicycle Routes, the AASHTO Standing Committee on Highways established the Task Force on U.S. Bicycle Routes. The members of this Task Force have developed a draft National Corridor Plan with input from State DOTs, AASHTO committees, cyclists, bicycling and trail advocacy organizations, and more. State bike plans and state suitability maps were utilized to ensure that the national corridor plan did not” re-create the wheel” – the draft plan utilizes as many existing bicycle routes and corridors as possible.

Who decides where a route will go?
As is currently the case, each State DOT will decide whether to establish a U.S. Bicycle Route through their state and where it will go by submitting an application to the AASHTO Special Committee on Route Numbering. The only difference is that states now have a draft Corridor Plan to use as a guide for coordinating routes across state lines. The corridor plan consists of 50-mile-wide corridors that suggest where a route could be developed, based on the research conducted by the Task Force. The proposed corridors link key destinations and urban centers, and also take into account the natural landscape. The corridor plan is not set in stone, but is a living document that can be modified as needed by the states as they work to designate U.S. Bicycle Routes.

How was the Corridor Plan developed?
The Corridor Plan was developed through three years of research and corridor assessment. Starting with a national route inventory and corridor criteria, the Task Force looked at feasible corridors across the country and then narrowed them down to a reasonably sized network. The draft plan was modified many times based upon recommendations from State DOTs, trail administrators, and bicycle organizations, and it will continue to evolve as states get involved in establishing U.S. Bicycle Routes.

How does the Corridor Plan work?
The Corridor Plan establishes a starting point for states to begin working together on making multi-state bike-route connections. States and localities can utilize the current plan as a starting point in coordinating with their neighbors. However, the corridor plan is a living document, so it is anticipated that routes will develop both within and outside the existing corridor plan.


How does AASHTO decide what route number a U.S. Bicycle Route will have?
AASHTO’s Special Committee on Route Numbering will use the proposed designation plan to determine what number will be assigned to a proposed route. It is up to each State DOT to determine how to manage the route through mapping and/or signing.

Can routes be designated on non-State-maintained roads?
State DOTs can work in coordination with local jurisdictions (counties, townships, and
municipalities) to establish the best feasible route. Often, roads that are very suitable for cyclingare outside State DOT jurisdiction. When designating and signing these routes, cooperation between agencies is essential. States such as Pennsylvania, Georgia and New York have coordinated efforts between multiple municipalities in their state networks with great success.

Who maintains a U.S. Bicycle Route?
Maintenance of a route can vary, depending upon what agency (state, county, or local) has responsibility for the roads or trails that the route uses. A route could use a state highway for one segment, then travel along a county road, and then use an independent pathway maintained by a park district or recreational agency. States may form agreements with agencies and organizations with regard to route maintenance and signing. There is currently no specific funding allotted to signing or maintaining U.S. Bicycle Routes, and either mapping, signing, or both are adequate along a route’s length
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Old 12-16-08, 05:23 PM   #19
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I hope they provide GPS coordinates of the entire route. Alot of those roads don't have signs posted so a GPS route would be a lot of help.

I still think the route will be on 65+ mph highways once you get out west.
Steve,

Rails to Trails Conservancy has GPS mapping on their Traillink site. Maybe this could be extended to cover the on-road routes, while an exclusive interface for that is being developed. You could always work on putting people together to come up with something.

I'm sure you're right about the 65 MPH highways out west, but most of those have wide shoulders anyway.

VBF has been working with VDOT to make sure the signage is complete in Virginia. As far as I know it pretty much is. Maybe not in other states though.

I'm not sure how much the AASHTO Bike 76 differs from the Adventure Cycling version in Virginia. We've been working to change the AASHTO version to match the AC version. This has been a slow process but AASHTO seems more committed to it now.

For those who don't think any of this matters, Bike 76 is known worldwide. The number of cyclists who ride it across the US every year is in the thousands. Many businesses along Bike 76 in Virginia depend heavily on these riders. For some it's their main focus.
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Old 12-17-08, 11:16 AM   #20
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In addition to Trail Link, ACA provides free GPS downloads for most (all?) their routes.
Here's a link to the Pacific Coast route download as an example.
https://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/gps2.cfm
It's just a route line and does not carry all the other information you find on a ACA map, like camping sites, hotels, food, bike shops....etc.

At the end of the day, much of the State DOT designated routes will likely be the already existing ACA routes, so you don't need for them to finish this to get the GPS data, ACA did it already.

Scot
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Old 12-19-08, 02:20 AM   #21
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I am a Life Member of ACA, and I have also given them a contribution this year towards the fulfillment of the cross country network. But I am a critic nonetheless.

Take a close look at their route network. It doesn't connect people with people, population centers with population centers. ACA has done a great job with 3-4 major cross country routes, and so they are saying, lets have 8-10 of them. In other words, they simply repeat what they've already done.

Wrong emphasis. Riding across the USA is a stunt. I'm not against it. I've done part of it myself. And when I did so, I didn't find ACA routes useful because I was riding mostly from city to city. Their existing routes don't even pass through Chicago.

We need routes that connect cities. Most foreign visitors come to the USA to see our cities, and most travel within the USA is between cities. We need a national network that actually connects cities, and the AASHTO/ACA route network focuses too much on criss-crossing the USA.

These guys apparently live in Montana. They provide three different routes across Montana, one for each Senator and Congressman. (Montana is one of only six states so unpopulous that they have more Senators than Representatives.) But surely the most useless line on their map is the bike route that seems to connect Williston, North Dakota, with Lubbock, Texas. Yet there's no route on this national network from Chicago to Minneapolis, or New York City to Albany.

Please join me in supporting ACA and contribute towards their cross country bicycle network. And when you do so, remind them that the route network needs to connect to places where people actually live. Tell ACA, I support you, but let's keep working on the route map and get it right.

Howard Metzenberg

PS: I've been working on my own route maps, connecting Chicago with other cities, mapping them on a GPS site called gpsies.com. It will take me several more years to map out and ride all the routes. I want to be finished a couple of years in advance of Chicago's hopefully successful bid to host the Olympics in 2016. Write to ACA and tell them, let's connect cities with cities.

Last edited by metzenberg; 12-19-08 at 02:27 AM.
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Old 12-19-08, 06:28 AM   #22
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This is great news .About time.. .The US is about to get a new Secretary of Transportation. This person seems more reasonable to the needs of alternative transportation issues, compared to present leadership.. I'd suggest there is a need for us to lobby for this cause when the new Secretary is installed come Jan 20..
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Old 12-19-08, 10:24 AM   #23
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I think this is an excellent concept and though, I am sure, will have many flaws that will overtime be constantly tweaked and modified it is well worth the time and effort.

As a veteran of 2 cross US trips by bike and 1 cross Canada and countless long distance tours in the US I can attest to the value of signed bike routes. Not only does it make planning easier but a well marked route saves a ton of time and energy stopping to check maps or GPS devices.

Not only that but a route frequented by cyclists acclimates the local population to the presence of cyclists on the road- especially slow moving cyclists loaded down with gear. It also means that more cyclist friendly accommodations- everything from bike shops, to hostels, to cheaper places to stay and even ice cream shoppes and inexpensive restaurants that cater to cyclists appear.

And then there is the cyclist comraderie that occurs. There is nothing like running into another cyclist on the road that can tell you about the dogs up ahead or the construction detour or the switchback climb or the great campground. Frequently used routes allow for those kinds of interactions.

And why keep reinventing the wheel. If there is a good route from A to B by bicycle why not put some signs up and let cyclists know? Over time that's the route cyclists will end up using anyway- why not acknowledge it and help out people less inclined, experienced or capable of planning a decent bike route to a particular destination.

Any cyclist who would oppose such a venture is either living in their own little bubble of reality or has swallowed the bitter pill of the "I'll be forced to ride on bike paths" delusional paranoia.
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Old 12-19-08, 03:54 PM   #24
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I have no delusional paranoia, I don't think I will be pushed to the MUPs (though MUPs are part of the network) but for the uninformed, they might think bikes only belong on those bike routes.

There is a bike route near me that I ride on often, but it is no different than any other road I ride on. It is not a better road to ride on. It's just a road, where I need to take the lane because it is not wide enough to share. Though, later on there is a bike lane that is filled with debris. And even farther out, it is a 55 mph road with no shoulder.

Basically, what this is doing is telling the states to put up signs where they want cyclists to ride. There is no regulations saying that the road must be x feet wide, have a bike lane or x mph speed limit. If they want, all the bike routes could be through residential neighborhoods, MUPs or busy arterials.

Please explain to me, how these signs help. I don't see how they would be better than the already named or numbered roads out there now. If I am trying to get to a place that I don't know the directions, I look at a map and decide what route to take. Something like, "take route 6 to Barrett and turn left." How is this different than "take bike route 5 to bike route 3 and take a left"?

If a group wants to make their own routes with roads that are better for bikes, that is fine. It could be very helpful for traveling by bike. But that is not what this network is.This is just putting up signs on roads.
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Old 12-19-08, 04:25 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetLou View Post
Please explain to me, how these signs help.
Signs help us stay on track without getting lost. The process of route building is one of the things that keeps cycling concerns at the transport table.

Locally, our bike route maps have been a focus for conversation, a way of seeing problem areas, and a service well received by riders. They are, of course, no grand solution, just another way to make our area better for riding.
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