Circuit Spotlight: Biking Bucks County with Ken Boyle
Authored By: The Circuit Trails | May 20, 2016
As a founder of Bike Bucks County (BBC), the volunteer arm of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia (BCGP), Ken Boyle has been actively involved in promoting the Circuit Trails, particularly in Bucks County. Ken had previously been a member of the Bucks County Bicycle Task Force and was instrumental in implementing new regulations for the improvement of cycling around Bucks County. Ken took some time to share his thoughts on how the expansion of the Circuit Trails is transforming Bucks County:
How did you get involved with BBC? What’s the goal of BBC?
I was a member of the Bucks County Bicycle Task Force (BCBTF) for many years. In early 2015, I left the task force and started BBC to promote the area’s bike and pedestrian trails, and on-road network. Our goal is to garner support for the Bucks County Bicycle Master Plan and the initiatives of the BCGP and the Circuit Trails by actively engaging with Bucks County residents, government officials and members of the private sector.
You mention the Master Plan which was created by BCBTF in 2012 to make the County more bicycle friendly. What progress has been toward implementing the plan?
There has been some progress since the Bucks County Commissioners formally adopted the Master Plan. One of the most important recommendations of the plan was to make a change in “culture” in the County. Even with positive support from our elected officials, the culture shift from a motorist culture to one that encourages safe multi-modal transportation takes time. Fortunately, we have some significant support and professional help in our County Planning Commission.
What has the expansion of the Circuit Trails meant for the cycling community of Bucks County?
The Circuit Trails concept is very positive and in areas like Bucks County, it has changed the way people think. The 60-mile long Delaware Canal State Park goes through much of Bucks County and is a true asset to the citizens who live there. I am on the Delaware Canal Towpath on a regular basis and am never alone – I am always joined by a collection of runners, bikers, walkers, baby strollers and horses on the trail every day.
There are more than 50 municipalities in our County, but Doylestown Township is leading the rest in helping to expand the Circuit. Doylestown has added 27 miles of trails over the past 20 years working through their local Bike and Hike Committee. It’s a wonderful partnership between citizens and committee members that have helped create a complete trail system in their neighborhoods.
What would you like to see the Bucks County commissioners do to foster a more bicycle-friendly culture?
Using the Doylestown Township Bike and Hike Committee success as an example, I would like to see our County Planning Commission proactively educate the remaining municipalities on how to implement the same citizen/municipality partnership strategy. People living in the communities make the best decisions on where and how to implement trails, but only the County can provide the necessary skills and know-how to establish the working committee and apply for the funding for design and construction. Partnership is key! The money is available; it just is not being requested by most of Bucks County.
What’s your favorite Circuit Trails? What trails currently in development are you looking forward to checking out?
I enjoy riding all the trails and especially like being introduced to new trails on the Circuit. BCGP has guided tours of the Circuit Trails throughout the summer and I encourage everyone to explore a trail away from their area. In Bucks County, we are looking forward to two new Rails-to-Trails conversions. The first is the Upper Bucks Rail Trail in the Quakertown area. The design and engineering work has already started. In lower Bucks County, the Newtown Rail Trail is in the early stages of planning. In the near future, we will be able to ride a bike from Newtown Borough to Philadelphia on a safe and well-designed trail. Now that is the Circuit!
What type of bike do you ride?
On trails I ride an 18 year old Specialized Rockhopper. On the road I ride a 10 year old Cannondale Carbon Synapse. Both are in top notch shape and ready for 10 years more on the Circuit Trails!