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Two Epic Rides to the National Bike Summit #NBS12

When I spotted Karen Brooks after the National Women Cycling Forum on Tuesday afternoon, she was still wearing her wool jersey — and a tousled look of accomplishment. As the more than 800 attendees arrived in Washington for the National Bike Summit, many looked harried, retelling nightmare stories of airport delays and travel mishaps. Not Karen. She pedaled her way to the Summit — a full 350 miles from her home in Pittsburgh, PA. The Editor of Bicycle Times magazine wasn’t the only one who arrived, self-propelled, to the nation’s capitol.

Last year, cyclocross racer Tim Johnson started the Ride on Washington, an invitational event for 20 riders who pedaled 500 miles from Boston to D.C. for the National Bike Summit. This year, they did it again and, according to the organizers…

Ride on Washington (pictured right): Over 100 riders joined the official participants to pedal the last miles to the Capitol. Participants — including President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, Jonathan Browning; Tim Johnson, six-time cyclocross champion; and Bruno Maier, vice president of Bikes Belong — pedaled through Hartford, New York City, Philadelphia and Baltimore before reaching the National Bike Summit, raising $90,000 for the Bikes Belong Foundation. At the conclusion of the ride, participants signed the pledge, aiming to collect one million signatures to improve the future of bicycling.

Bicycle Times: Carrying all their own gear and receiving no outside support, Editor Karen Brooks and Online Editor Adam Newman made their journey along the Great Allegheny Passage trail from Pittsburgh, then connected to the 184-mile Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park trail to Washington. Nearly complete, the GAP trail traces 150-miles of former railroad right-of-way that is maintained by seven different trail groups and will eventually reach Pittsburgh and further west. At the southeastern end it connects to the C&O Canal towpath in Cumberland, Md. For nearly a century the canal was a lifeline for communities along the Potomac River, but since 1971 it has been an invaluable protected recreation area for walkers, hikers, and cyclists. As a national park, the C&O Canal is an excellent example of a resource that was made possible by federal funding and is a worthy investment for all Americans. “Even so early in the season, we met plenty of people, both trail users and business owners, who welcomed us and gave us encouragement along the way,” said Brooks. “The scenery was great, but it was the people who made the trip special. I’m looking forward to riding back again at a more leisurely pace, so that we can stop and explore even more. And eat more pastries!”

Click here to see dozens of pictures from the Bicycle Times adventure.  

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