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Cycling in NEPA Has a Bright Future

Anthracite Bicycle Coalition Looks Forward to a New Wave of Cycling

If you’re a cyclist or would like to cycle more, you’re in for a welcomed change. We have already embarked on a cycling renewal here in NEPA, and many long-term efforts are finally coming to fruition. Like the pieces of a puzzle, they’re coming together to make cycling safer and more enjoyable for everyone.

 

Explore Local Trails

 

The McDonough family at the Cranksgiving ride and food drive

 

Let’s begin with the first piece of the puzzle: our local trail systems. The D&H Rail-Trail was named Pennsylvania’s 2021 Trail of the Year and offers 38 miles to explore. This trail connects to New York State’s rail trail system, as well as the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail (LRHT). The LRHT provides 25 miles of trail through Lackawanna County, with many key connecting sections being actively developed.

The long-term goal of these trails is to provide a main thoroughfare through NEPA to New York State going north and New Jersey and Delaware going south via the Luzerne County National Recreation Trail. Trails continuing to Hazleton, Jim Thorpe and down to Philadelphia will tie NEPA into the National Trail System. These efforts will allow cyclists to make their way through our communities without even getting in a car.

 

Shake Up Your Commute

 

A recipient from Anthracite Bicycle Coalition’s Earn-a-Bike program

 

The second piece of this puzzle is the introduction of the e-bike. Electric bikes make hills easy. They continue to become more affordable, with low-end conversion kits starting at $170 and full e-bikes for $750. Individuals can now have a dependable means of transportation, capable of traveling 20 miles at a clip.

Let’s be honest, most folks don’t enjoy their daily commute. Try it on a bike instead. It’s a wonderful way to start and end your day.

 

Advocate for Safe Cycling Routes

 

Donated children’s bikes outside The Greenhouse Project in Scranton

 

The next piece of the puzzle is NEPA Moves. Under the management of the Scranton Area Community Foundation and the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, this initiative was formed in 2017 with a focus on improving the quality of life for all people in NEPA through improved access to transportation. The study was completed in late 2019. One of the main goals is to provide cycling routes in the downtown areas for cyclists to safely share the roadways. Plans for Wilkes-Barre and Scranton have been provided to the cities for budgeting and planning phases.

 

Get Involved in NEPA’s Cycling Community

 

Anthracite Bicycle Coalition members work on donated bikes for kids and adults in need

 

The last piece of the puzzle is the introduction of the Anthracite Bicycle Coalition (ABC), a local 501(c)(3) based in Scranton. Our goal is to increase community awareness of the enjoyment and benefits cycling can provide while promoting and encouraging safe cycling as a healthy, fun sport and means of transportation throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania.

While the organization just recently became a 501(c)(3), we have actually been operating behind the scenes since 2012. We have worked with organizations like the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority, volunteered and chaired the Heritage Valley Bike Tour and Festival and volunteered for other local bike groups like the Lackawanna State Park Trail Crew and the Airport Glen Pedalers.

ABC is working hard to further the Share the Road program and encourage local governments to introduce new signage and street markings. We are currently working with the City of Scranton to review and update some cycling laws. We are also working to further expand the Safe Routes pathways, not only for school students but also for adults looking for a safe way to get from their neighborhood to the downtown.

 

Discover ABC’s Programs & Events

 

Inaugural Light the Night group ride

 

ABC has hosted many group rides for kids and adults, like our recent ice cream social ride, Cranskgiving (a national Thanksgiving-themed ride and food drive) and holiday rides. We also hold safety events and promote the Scranton bike share program on First Fridays. Recently, we started supporting Northeast Art Project’s monthly Light the Night group rides, where people decorate their bikes and take a safe evening ride through downtown Scranton.

ABC will also provide other cycling related programs, including:

  • Cyclist education on the correct way to ride a bicycle.
  • Motorist education on the correct way to interact with and pass a cyclist.
  • Learn to Ride programs for adults and children, including programs using adaptive bicycles.
  • A Bicycle Co-Operative where anyone can come and work on their bicycles, learn about bicycle repair and obtain used and inexpensive bicycles and parts.
  • An Earn-a-Bike program that provides people with bikes at no cost and teaches them how to work on bikes, thus providing them with a dependable means of transportation that they can fix with minimal costs.

A wave of exciting changes is coming for local cycling, and it can help boost our local economy, reduce pollution and improve our mental and physical health. There’s no better time to hop on a bike and get involved. Visit ABC’s website and Facebook page to learn more about their mission, upcoming events, volunteer opportunities and more.

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