Week-long bike tour launches from Philly’s Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk

Philadelphia's Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Philadelphia's Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk (Emma Lee/WHYY)

This morning the annual Week-A-Year Tour of the East Coast Greenway kicks off in Philadelphia.

Forty-one bicyclists will begin the 325 mile ride by traversing the brand new Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk. The tour will end in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Every year, the tour covers a piece of the 2,900 mile East Coast Greenway, a network of bike paths and roads, that connects Calaic, Maine to Key West, Florida. The Tour is organized by the East Coast Greenway Alliance, a non-profit organization founded in 1991 to coordinate the development and promotion of it.

“The Week-A-Year Tour is really enjoying this exploration of the Eastern Seaboard, from the moose to the manatee we call it,” said Dennis Markatos-Soriano, executive director of the East Coast Greenway Alliance. “We are getting to know these communities on our bikes and it’s just a great way to travel.”

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Markatos-Soriano calls the greenway the “urban sister to the Appalachian Trail” and believes it promotes healthy and sustainable lifestyles in cities and communities along the Eastern Seaboard.

“We encourage everyone to look at the East Coast Greenway, think about how they could experience their local community, and potentially do regional and long distance rides to explore the nature and the rich cultural history around them,” said Markatos-Soriano.

More than 60 million people live within 25 miles of the greenway and  at least 10 million people visit it every year. Yet only 30 percent, or 834 miles, of the network is separated from automobile traffic.

The 67 mile ECG route through Pennsylvania has some difficult “broken links” where it can be hard to ride through or cross multi-lane roadways. Several trail projects are in the planning stages including a North Delaware Riverfront Greenway designed by the Delaware River City Corporation. The eight mile path will link Philadelphia to the greater greenway and vastly extend the traffic-free area for bikers, runners, and pedestrians.

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