Video showcasing Phase 3 of the York County Heritage Rail Trail expansion, this section connects York City to John Rudy Park via the Northern Extension of the trail. Eventually, this section will be connected to the section that trailheads in Lafayette Plaza in downtown York, PA.
Because We Live Here Too, York Traditions Bank fully supports local, grassroots community organizations working to make York County a healthier and more vibrant place to be. One such organization is Bike York – York’s local, volunteer-run coalition working to promote safe cycling and provide free and low-cost tune-ups at community events.
May is National Bike Month. It was established in 1956 and showcases the many benefits of cycling and encourages people to ride. Locally in York, there are many efforts to get more people involved in bicycling and to do so safely. You may have seen the rentable Zagster bikes, which are available for anyone’s use. The bikes are rented out through an app on your smartphone and you pay to ride them by the hour.
To celebrate Bike York month, we asked Andrew Gobel, a co-founder of Bike York, a few questions about the initiative and their goals in supporting the local community.
- What is the mission of Bike York?
Bike York promotes bikes for fun, fitness, and transportation.
- How did you decide to start the initiative? What need did you see for it?
Bike York was born out of the teamwork of local bike riders, public health officials, and transportation planners in the City of York. What started as a campaign to increase National Bike Month awareness and participation evolved into a yearlong celebration of the many benefits of biking—for riders, and the community. Our pop-up tune-up service was inspired by Recycle Bicycle Harrisburg, a community bike center where abandoned or donated bikes are fixed by volunteers and returned to the community. We saw (and continue to see) a need for safe, affordable bikes, and education on safe riding and the rules of the road.
- What do you hope to accomplish by starting Bike York?
We’re a volunteer group, but we like to call ourselves a coalition. Simply put, we want people riding bikes more, and more people riding bikes. We celebrate every form of bike friendliness in York, from a newly installed bike rack to “sharrow” lane markings reminding motorists to share the road. We believe these amenities break down barriers for entry and make York a healthier, greener community.
- What will your organization do?
Bike York will be popping up at community events throughout the year. We offer free basic tune-ups, encouragement, and practical advice to riders of all ages and skill levels. We promote York’s new bike share, Zagster, and host group social rides and safe riding workshops. We don’t have a brick-and-mortar location currently, but hope to someday have a permanent base of operations. A community bike center would allow us to store bike donations and spare parts, while the public could access tools, trade ill-fitting bikes, and learn repair skills.
- How can people get involved? How can people get in touch with you?
The easiest way is to follow Bike York on Facebook and Instagram, where we advertise events and share bike-related content. Visitors to our page can reach out for bike purchasing tips, commuting advice, or guidance on organizing their own group rides or workplace wellness program. We would also love to grow our team of volunteer mechanics. There is great need, particularly among city youth and bike commuters, for accessible repairs and low-cost, reliable bikes. Lastly, even motorists can support biking by driving distraction-free and passing all riders at a cautious speed with the four-foot buffer mandated by Pennsylvania state law.
- How does Bike York utilize the York County Heritage Rail Trail?
The York County Heritage Rail Trail is treasured by our local bike community. We often start rides at the trailhead at Market Street and Pershing Avenue and head south. Many of our friends’ first experience biking around cars has been the short ride from York City to the Northern Extension trail to John Rudy Park. Whether we’re riding just a few miles before turning around or making a day of it, the Rail Trail is one of our favorite places to spend time on a bike.
- Why do you think that the Rail Trail is an asset to our community?
The lands surrounding the Rail Trail as it meanders through southern York County are about as picturesque as Pennsylvania gets, with wooded hills and rolling valleys continuing mile after mile. The Northern Extension trail, less than two miles from downtown York, winds along the Codorus Creek to one of York’s other prized parks, John Rudy. Although many consider the Rail Trail a destination in itself, the experiences waiting just off the trail make it one of the safest, most exciting places to try bike commuting. Some of our favorite southbound adventures include the historic Howard Tunnel, a train ride aboard Steam Into History, the graffiti art gallery at Ruins Park or brunch at the Glen Rock Mill Inn. When construction on the long-anticipated connector is complete, the uninterrupted trail from North York into Maryland will be a game changer—for local bikers and out-of-towners alike.
York Traditions Bank applauds Bike York on their efforts to make York City and the county as a whole a better place to live, work and play!
For even more about Bike York, click here for an article from Our York Media.