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Cumberland Valley Embraces Trend in Options & Amenities for Cyclists

Cumberland Valley Rail Trail

Cumberland Valley Rail Trail

CUMBERLAND VALLEY, PA (August 24, 2015) – Money Magazine recently named Carlisle as number 5 in the Best Places for Walking and Biking compared to their database of 1,900 U.S. towns. According to the article, “The Alliance for Biking and Walking found in its 2014 Benchmark Report that increasing these activities has a positive impact on job growth, individual transportation costs, retail sales, traffic congestion, air quality, property values and stability, health and worker productivity, and events and tourism.”

Cumberland Area Economic Development Corporation (CAEDC) has learned through studies and interactions with travel writers that visitors traveling from urban areas expect destinations to be bike-friendly. As CAEDC continues to market to visitors from areas like Philadelphia and New York City, an emphasis has been placed on pulling together all the amenities this area offers for cyclists.

Carlisle, and the surrounding Cumberland Valley, has developed into a cycling mecca over the past few years with the community placing importance on projects like the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail and making the town of Carlisle bike and pedestrian friendly. Both of these popular projects continue to grow and plan for the future.

Jim Mader from the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail shares, “The Cumberland Valley Rail Trail, Inc. is delighted to note the recent recognition by Money Magazine of active outdoor recreation in our region. The Rail Trail meets the cycling, walking and equestrian needs of many of our citizens and visitors. Trail connections will become even more important in years to come.”

The Carlisle Borough Bicycle and Pedestrian Trail was completed in 2013 and has a long-term vision to promote an active lifestyle for residents, provide safe connections to trails and attractions, and provide a safe alternative to motorized transportation.

Andrea C. Crouse, Director of Parks and Recreation for the Carlisle Borough continues, “The 13.8 mile bicycle and pedestrian route also connects to the downtown bike lanes providing easy access for bicyclists and pedestrians to visit local shops and restaurants. Carlisle Parks and Recreation’s plan for the near future includes completing the West End Trail Connection, a 1.4-mile trail to connect Valley Meadows Park to the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail along Allen Road.”

Local cyclist Marilyn Chastek adds, “I think Carlisle is poised to become one of the most bike-centric communities in central PA. The downtown area invites bicyclists to come there by the use of bike lanes and shared lane markings. It’s also just the type of town bike riders like to visit: big enough to have lots of good local restaurants and unique shops, but small enough to make getting around by bike easy and safe.”

The Rail Trail and downtown Carlisle aren’t the only spots for cyclists in the Valley. The collection of rail trails, mountain trails, scenic back roads and bike-friendly downtowns allow visitors and residents to explore the unique combination of urban and rural that Cumberland Valley offers. “Carlisle is perfectly situated to be an easy and enjoyable ride away from other wonderful small towns like Mechanicsburg, Newville, Boiling Springs and Mount Holly Springs. Low traffic back roads connect these communities and offer enough variety of distances and terrain to suit riders of all abilities. Bicyclists can choose routes that traverse the gentle terrain of the Cumberland Valley or head for the challenge of the hills to the north and south,” said Chastek.

VisitCumberlandValley.com also features a variety of bike routes developed by Chastek and others in the cycling community. These routes were created for residents and visitors to explore the charming downtowns, beautiful scenery and back roads of the destination.

In conjunction with these routes, the tourism arm of CAEDC also developed an online trip idea focused on rail trails, scenic biking in state forests and parks, and the routes that lead you through the communities that make up the Valley. A complementary rack card is also in the works and will be placed at the Cumberland Valley Visitors Center and other strategic locations for residents and visitors to be inspired to learn more about all the biking options in the area.

With all these options and amenities, cycling in the Valley is becoming a bigger option for those that wouldn’t even consider themselves cyclists. Residents and visitors looking to give it a shot can rent bikes at Holmes Cycling and Fitness in Camp Hill and Merv’s Bike Shop in Shippensburg to become comfortable with the sport before investing in a bike themselves.

Cycling obviously has its health benefits as well and this area has been embracing those too, something that the Partnership for Better Health in Carlisle takes very seriously. “It’s incredibly exciting to see the momentum, energy and attention that Carlisle is gaining as a vibrant healthy community. Many years of hard work to develop our local parks, trails, bike lanes and healthy community design have led to this kind of recognition. Carlisle is well-deserving of its place on the nation’s map as an optimal place to live,” said Becca Raley, Executive Director of Partnership for Better Health.

It’s not just a motion happening in this area either. According to an article titled The Growing Importance of Bicycle Infrastructure in Mother Earth News, “More than simply a piece of recreational equipment, the bicycle is increasingly viewed as a viable mode of transportation for work trips and non-work trips alike. With the increase of cyclists on the road it is becoming clearer that they are having an economic impact in regards to the consumer choices and even location choices for businesses catering to the bicycling passersby or for their own bike-oriented employees.”

Chastek sums it up by stating, “With bike touring becoming more popular, I see Carlisle becoming an ideal stopping point for individuals and groups seeking an interesting and convenient place to stay. I love to get away and explore other states and countries by bike, but these trips always confirm my belief that Cumberland Valley offers some of the best riding to be found anywhere.”

CAEDC is Cumberland County’s authorized agency charged with leveraging and promoting Cumberland Valley’s economic development and tourism assets to drive growth, create jobs and improve the quality of life. Offices are located at 53 W. South Street, Carlisle PA. For more information, visit www.cumberlandbusiness.com and www.visitcumberlandvalley.com.

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