This is the fourth annual ride, and over a dozen people have been part of it since the first group left Calais, Maine in 2011. This year, four of the riders are from the Philadelphia area.
The first day’s ride, 49 miles to Wilmington, Del., includes part of the Circuit. The group will be among the first to ride along the new Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk, just ahead of the community celebration in the afternoon, and later in the day ride through the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge.
Key events during the week include a Monday morning press conference and photo event with Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, a big supporter of trails, a Monday afternoon rally in Perryville, Md., in support of a bike-friendly crossing over the Susquehanna River, and a Wednesday Happy Hour with Annapolis, Anne Arundel county and state officials.
“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.
About 60 million people live within 25 miles of the East Coast Greenway, which receives an estimated 10 million visits each year. Many cities along the trail have a bike-friendly designation from the League of American Bicyclists – Philadelphia is one! -- 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.
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 the Canadian border to Portland, Maine, and the goal is to finish in Key West in 2019.
Anyone interested in the 2015 ride can email the East Coast Greenway Alliance at [email protected]. More information about the East Coast Greenway is at www.greenway.org.