Until paving began in earnest I felt like the rough path to Archer was for me and a few life-style riders. I met numerous people who formerly used Archer Road to get from Archer to G'ville where they worked, shopped or . . . well . . . did something. Not people riding carbon fiber or multi-speed road bikes, but people of a wide range of ages on big box bikes, cobbled together cruisers and anything else with wide enough tires to handle the pre-paving rough surface. Now those riders will be joined by riding groups and personal best-setters and the whole area is better because of it.
Here, where the terrain is, at its worst, gently rolling and the weather is moderate to hot most of the year, many people could easily ride instead of drive. The essential requirements are access, equipment and desire. Archer Braid Trail is evidence of the kind of access that makes getting around by bike possible. Now, downtown Archer is not much further away from my front door than downtown G'ville and the trip is markedly safer. Equipment? Less than $200 will buy a satisfactory entry level multi-gear bike at one of the big box stores to begin the process of developing the desire, because desire is the greatest obstacle.
In a culture where we buy fast food and diet sodas, pay large sums to use exercise facilities and fret over which diet plan to try next, our sense of perspective is a bit skewed. I like the idea of "Eat less. Do more." Riding is very definitely something that fits in the category of "do more" and anyone within a few miles of the new Archer Braid Trail ought to look into riding as a part of developing the desire to "do more." Might turn out that you'll like riding enough to commute by bike a day or two a week. Maybe you'll save some money, too, and then you can invest in a bike from your FNBS that'll truly suit your needs and desire.
So, come June 15 at 10 AM, the newly paved, marked and signed Archer Braid Trail segment will be officially opened in Archer. And Archer got a nice thing in their backyard! About a mile and a half of rolling, shaded, woodland walking or riding that is as pleasant as a trail can be. Riders get a safe, smooth passage from 91st to the railroad crossing in Archer.
Apparently it'll be a moderately big To Do in Archer with ribbon cutting, celebrating, speech making and such. Riders should show up in force as a show of support for further bike trail development such as extending the trail to Bronson and beyond. Damn! Wouldn't it be nice to have a trail all the way to Cedar Key?