Making Mealtime Meaningful: Discover how we're giving back with the 12T Cares program →

Ask anyone who has ever been on a road trip and they will tell you that it is the experience of a lifetime. The only problem with one of those trips is that you watch some parts go by so quickly that you almost miss them.

That isn’t the case with bike riding enthusiasts who get to see the world a little slower while getting some great exercise in the process. If you happen to be one of those people, you will love knowing that the Great American Rail-Trail is currently being constructed.

The Great American Rail-Trail is some 3,700 miles long and passes through 12 states as it runs from Washington DC to the Pacific coast. Much of the work has already been done, as it started in 2019. Currently, it consists of 145 paths and they just need to fill in less than half as they connect the dots.

The Rail-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) has been at the forefront of this project that has been worked on for decades. That organization has raised over $4 million in both public and private funds. When the trail is ready, it is expected to serve over 50 million people who will live within 50 miles of it.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Great American Rail-Trail (@greatamericanrailtrail)

The existing rail-trails, paths constructed on old railway tracks and used for bikes have gained significant popularity during the current pandemic. Some use it as a safe route for commuting and others for exercise.

The president of the RTC, Ryan Chao, had the following to say according to EcoWatch: “This year has proven how vital projects like the Great American Rail-Trail are to the country. Millions of people have found their way outside on trails as a way to cope with the pandemic.”

He went on to talk about how the trail is already connecting towns, states, and regions and unites us in an impactful way.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Great American Rail-Trail (@greatamericanrailtrail)

Although cycling is an obvious way to use the rail trail, there are many options that can be considered. Many use it for jogging or for a nice walk and some have even taken their horses on the trail. Considering how much bike sales have gone up during the pandemic, it is easy to see why it is such a popular option.

Riding a bike is an enjoyable pastime but it also provides a great workout. It helps to keep you healthy and provides some of the additional benefits of having a fitness routine, such as the release of “feel-good” endorphins.

The popularity of bike riding is not only found in the United States, countries around the world have been working on ambitious projects to help bicycle enthusiasts to get more out of their preferred method of transportation. This includes the Transpennine Trail that runs 346km in North England and the Great North Trail, which runs 1,300km from the north of England to the north-eastern tip of Scotland.

Subscribe to 12 Tomatoes