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Cyclists celebrate new part of Macon’s expanding bike trail while enjoying nature

There’s a new trail in town and cyclists celebrated its opening this week as Bike Walk Macon promoted the benefits of biking and walking instead of using cars, when possible.

The 1.7 mile section is an extension of the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail that connects the River Trail at Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park to the Otis Redding Bridge.

More than 60 donors contributed almost $129,000 to complete the new connector, according to a press release from NewTown Macon.

Named in honor of Mike Ford, former president of NewTown Macon, the trail was busy Thursday as cyclists including Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert Reichert came out for an evening ride.

Before heading out on the trail, Reichert said he was looking forward to the exercise, enjoying the community of other riders, and getting a view of the river.

“I love Bike Walk Macon, and I appreciate those that have helped make it possible as it advocates for and educates us as to the benefits of cycling, how to cycle safely, but also advocates for improvements to cycling paths,” Reichert said.

Bike Walk Macon’s executive director, Rachel Hollar, and her team helped plan this week’s Trail-O-Bration as one of their many community events.

Their mission is to engage, advocate and educate people in Macon about benefits and safety tips for cycling and walking.

“We offer a bunch of free events that are available to people all across Macon just to get comfortable with biking and walking on our streets,” said Hollar. “We are all about creating a more bikable, walkable Macon-Bibb County.”

Hollar also said fun bike rides help start discussions about bigger transportation issues such as the limited kinds of transportation options in the county.

“We think mostly investing in improved infrastructure is important so that everyone in Macon-Bibb County has the option to get wherever they need to go in a safe way and a convenient and enjoyable way,” she said.

Jim Langstaff, who works at a Bike Tech, a Macon bike shop, joined the other cyclists on the newly opened trail. Langstaff said he supports Bike Walk Macon’s efforts.

“Macon has a lot of obstacles that not one organization can tackle on their own, so it’s going to take a community effort to get real transportation change, but the hard work is being done by Bike Walk Macon as much as they can,” Langstaff said.

Note: Until I-16 construction is completed riders and walkers may only access the trail near the Great Temple Mound at the Historical Park.