To help you recognize what makes a good bike path, we have identified five features that truly make for a top-notch experience
1. Some usage, but not too busy.The ideal bike path is going to have some other traffic, but not too much.You want a place where you are not completely isolated, so that if you have mechanical problems or an injury where you really need help, you are not totally on your own.Plus, there is the extra element of safety offered by the simple presence of other people nearby.The ideal balance is where you have the ability to ride freely, but help can be found if you need it.
2. Consistent surface
A good bikepath is going to have a consistent surface.It's best if whatever material is in place as a top layer, whether pavement, or dirt, or gravel, is used throughout consistently.
You don't want to find that the paved path that you are flying along at 30 mph on your skinny-tire road bike has suddenly turned into fine-chat gravel path.Or have to listen to your knobby mountain bike tires buzzing along long streches of pavement in between patches of dirt. Also, as much as is reasonable to expect, your route should be free of surprise! potholes and washouts to keep your ride safe and comfortable.
3. Secure parking
Unfortunately the bad guys know that bike path parking lots offer easy pickings.A person who parks and then pedals off on a bike gives a thief plenty of time to get into their car and root around inside, often digging up wallets or purses.
This is why you want a parking lot that gets patrolled by local police, park rangers, etc.Or at the least, you want it to be busy enough that the comings and goings of other users will make predators uneasy. Another option is to ride from your home, or else park (legally) somewhere nearby that is more public and secure, and ride to the trail from there.
4. Options to mix it up
Variety is the spice of life.So a good trail is one that will offer you more than just an endless loop of the same scenery.It can become routine: Start at one end.Pedal.Turn around.Come back.
If you ride the same path frequently, you will come to appreciate the variations in terrain, vegetation, view that a good path will offer.Also nice is a bike trail that offers optional spurs or loops that allow you to change up your ride as your time or mood allow.
A single trail is a good thing.A trail that connects to other trails is a really good thing.
As you grow as a rider, you will perhaps want to increase your distance.Maybe even take an overnight or multi-day trip.
Looking at the trails available to you, take note of trails that connect to other trails, either through direct link-up, or perhaps through on-street connections.Having these options will allow you to vary your path and distance, plus add the variations in terrain or scenery that keeps your rides fresh.You may even discover a path that offers you a viable option as a commute to work or school.