By: Jenn Schanz
Just inside the Lincoln city limit are 80 miles of bike trails, with another 50 more on the outskirts.
For many, biking around the capital city seems like the perfect way to stay fit and enjoy the summer.
It is for Denise Drake.
"We did the 20 mile ride today with my son and husband. I've ran most of these trails so it was kind of fun to get out on my bike and ride them," Drake says.
To promote the city's expanding trail system and to raise money for future projects, the Great Plains Trails Network hosted Trail Trek, a group bike ride to explore what Lincoln has to offer.
Cyclists had the choice of a 10, 20 or 45–mile ride through the twists and turns of Lincoln's trails.
"Almost every year I get people that [say] I've never been on that trail, I didn't know the stuff on the north side of town or south side. Because they tend to stay in their neighborhoods," says event organizer Don Dingman.
The start and finish line was at Haymarket Park, where riders also enjoyed lunch, games, and free giveaways, even bikes.
Lancaster County Sheriff's bike unit took part in the Trek for the fourth year. They say it's a good chance to get to know the community.
"It breaks down the barriers where, driving around with the windows up, air conditioning on, seems to put a barrier between you and the public. So this is a good way to break down those barriers. You talk to people when you're riding next to them," says the Department's Scott Gaston.
Even Mayor Chris Beutler stopped by the Trail Trek to wish riders well. He says promoting the city's trail systems is just another way to keep Lincoln healthy.
"One of the things we're trying to do is to establish multiple fun ways to get out and exercise," he says.
Organizers say the event brought in about $10,000 for future trail projects, like the Bikeway Trail Project, which would give bikers access to the downtown area. It would connect on the east with the Billy Wolff Train in Antelope Valley, and on the west with the Jamaica North Trail in the West Haymarket.
There's an open house with more information on the project coming up. It'll be held at St. Paul United Methodist Church on June 25 from 5 to 7:30 p.m.