Golden Spoke ride unites bikers, communities of Wasatch FrontJun 04, 2018 03:14PM ● By Jana Klopsch
Bikers from the south head up the Jordan River Parkway Bridge, where they met with another group of riders who came from the north. (Justin Adams | City Journals)
By Justin Adams | [email protected]
Nearly 150 years ago, railroad workers from the east coast and west coast met at Promontory Point, Utah, where they signified the connection between the two halves of America with a Golden Spike. Last Saturday, bikers from across the Wasatch Front rode from Ogden in the north and Provo in the south and met one another at the center of the new Jordan River Parkway Bridge in Salt Lake City to celebrate the completion of over 100 miles of continuous multi-use trails. The name of the event (as well as the new trail system itself): the Golden Spoke.
“It was a great ride,” said Matt Christensen, who rode from the mouth of Provo Canyon, where riders met as early as 5:15 a.m.
Christensen said that the various new additions to the trail system make using it much easier for Utah bikers.
“I rode and it wasn’t all connected so you would get lost in neighborhoods,” he said. “Like the Jordan Narrows area, past Thanksgiving Point, is all connected now which is great. Before you had to go up and do a big detour… So yeah, it’s great to be able to stay on trails all the way through and avoid all the traffic.”
The trail system is now the longest multi-use trail west of the Mississippi River.
After the two groups of riders met on the bridge, they gathered at nearby Fisher Mansion for a celebration that included food trucks, a bike course for kids, and public speakers.
“It was a great ride. All types of riders, all types of bikes. And we had great weather,” said Scott Barrett, a Sugar House resident who regularly uses the trails system as well as public transportation to commute to his job in Draper everyday.
The trail system’s potential for providing Utah residents with alternative commuting options was noted by both event organizers and guest speakers, including Utah Governor Gary Herbert who attended the celebration portion of the event at Fisher Mansion.
“This helps us with our air quality as we get off of our vehicles and onto bicycles,” said Herbert.
Herbert also drew comparisons between the Golden Spoke trail system and the Golden Spike, the place where the Transcontinental Railroad’s east and west ends met in Promontory Point, Utah.
“The Golden Spoke’s a little more regional, a little more local, but no less important,” said Herbert. “The Transcontinental Railroad connected the east and west coasts together so America was a little smaller. What we’re doing here with these trails is connecting our communities, making it so we can in fact work together and appreciate each other’s communities.”
Herbert was joined by other local leaders, such as Mike Caldwell, the mayor of Ogden as well as the chair of the Wasatch Front Regional Council, a cooperative alliance of local government leaders tasked with finding and implementing innovative transportation solutions to accommodate Utah’s rapidly growing population.
“I think this can only happen in the state of Utah, where communities come together, they work together, they collaborate, they coordinate. I don’t see this kind of work happening in any other state that I’ve had exposure to,” said Caldwell.