• Fri September 12 2008
  • Posted Sep 12, 2008
By Jeff Lundquist A group of Cass County residents are taking their cause on the road, or trail, by organizing a weekly bike ride along the T-Bone trail near Brayton to promote the completion of the trail in Cass County. The loose-knit group of bike enthusiasts have been riding the trail every Thursday evening, usually ending with a meal in Brayton following the ride. The idea came after several members took park in the "Taco Ride," from Council Bluffs to Mineola and back. According to participant Sandy Landsness, that ride routinely draws nearly 100 riders and includes a stop in at a restaurant in Mineola. After witnessing the popularity of that ride, and fighting the crowds and washouts along the gravel trail, the idea to do a similar ride along the paved T-bone trail came up. Word spread and now it's not uncommon for a dozen or so riders of all ages to meet every Thursday in the city park in Brayton for some fun and little exercise. Now the group is hoping to expand the number and draw attention to the completion of the trail in Cass County at the same time. On Thursday, Sept. 11, the ride will include representatives from the engineering firm, Snyder and Associates, who will provide information and free gifts to riders along with information regarding the local trail system the impact of trails on communities. The T-bone trail runs along abandoned railroad right-of-way from Audubon to just north of Atlantic. Once completed, the approximately 21-mile recreational trail will become part of the American Discovery Trail, a national network of trails and country roads running about 6,300 miles from Delaware to California. The trail is completed from Audubon to just south of Hamlin and from Interstate 80 north to Brayton. There is also a three mile section in Cass County from the interstate south. Work is being done this fall to make the connection north from Exira to Hamlin and the trail is expected to extended under the interstate once bridge work there has been completed. The hope of Cass County cyclists is that the trail will eventually connect with the city Atlantic, including the planned trails at the Schildberg Quarry park. That project has been delayed several times, most recently due to a rupture in a levy separating two of the lakes. Last month the council voted to repair the breach, but only if the money came from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The city's Parks and Recreation Commission had planned for the construction of 1.09 miles of asphalt trail, around the perimeter of "Lake 3." But due to the levy breach that plan was changed and the trail will run along the south side of Lake 3, then along the north shore and eventually looping back on itself. That work should begin sometime this fall. Once that trail is completed, the question of how best to bring the T-bone trail into Atlantic will have be tackled. That trail currently ends approximately three miles from Atlantic along a gravel road. Supporters are looking for a way to continue the paved trail into the community. Officials say several possibilities are being looked at but no decisions have been made. Anyone who is interested in supporting trails, or just wants to go for a bike ride, is welcome to attend the Thursday evening rides in Brayton. There is no age limit and riders from six to 60 and older have already taken part. There is no charge or membership requirements. For more information, or to sign up for to be on the groups email list contact Rosie Jones at the Nishna Valley YMCA.

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