Years ago, Connecticut’s towns and cities were well-served by numerous passenger and freight railroads. As time went by, however, people showed a preference for the personal automobile, and the suburbs grew to accommodate the demand for new homes, offices and schools. Meanwhile, manufacturers showed a clear preference for the faster delivery times offered by trucks as compared with trains. The result, years later, was a state which was criss-crossed by dozens of rail lines which were no longer in use.
Soon it became apparent that these trails, with their straight alignments and gentle grades, would make excellent cycling trails if the rails were removed and the rail-beds smoothed over. Rails-to-trails, a non-profit trail advocate organization, emerged to serve private and public trail-building needs by providing guidance on trail construction methods and how to obtain funding for new trails. And the federal government established a Transportation Enhancement Program to provide funding for trail building and other activities through state departments of transportation to enhance the outdoor experience of cyclists and walkers.
An intense period of trail-building activity began in the 1990’s, and has been continuing for the past two decades. Now, the little state of Connecticut can boast of miles of paved rail trails, well-used and enjoyed by residents year-round. The longest trail in the state is the Farmington Canal trail. The Farmington Canal was a private canal built in the early 1800s to provide water transportation from New Haven into the interior of Connecticut and Massachusetts.
In 1825, ground was broken for the canal, and by 1828 the canal was open from New Haven to Farmington. By 1835 the complete route to Northampton was finished and operating. The canal, however, was never successful financially, and with the advent of rail transportation in the mid-1800’s, was quickly converted to a railroad.
Today, the Farmington Canal Lock in Cheshire, Connecticut, and the Farmington Canal Lock in Hamden, Connecticut are listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). These are locks 12 and 13 out of 28 original locks on the canal. The entire length of the canal in Connecticut from Suffield to New Haven is approximately 40 miles.
It’s wonderful to have access to these beautiful trails, but people facing health issues, or people forced to work at sedentary jobs, or those who are recovering from injuries or accidents, may find it a bit daunting to pedal all those miles to see the wonderful sights along the trails.
Fortunately, for folks like these, BionX electric bikes offer the promise of an enhanced riding experience. By providing a choice of four levels of assistance, BionX Electric bikes offer the rider the opportunity to see more and do more, and to enjoy a pleasant workout without experiencing the sore muscles and fatigue which can result from overexertion. While you are cruising down a beautiful rail trail and enjoying the scenic view and the wind in your face, you know your BionX electric drive motor is there to help you overcome hills and headwinds, and to get you back home safely if you get tired.
Whether you ride alone or in a group, Connecticut’s rail trails provide a safe, enjoyable experience, and the BionX electric bike kit provides the best way to enjoy it.
Connecticut Rail Trail Cyclists is a group that specializes in riding mainly along Green-ways and Rail Trails throughout CT, NY, and New England.