Meet the man behind our new column: Trailsnet Trikke Trails
TrikkeWorld presents Trikke Academy Tuesdays, featuring a weekly dose of news and other academia from the Trikke Academy. This week: our Trikke Trainer Spotlight.
Kevin Purdy is many things. A retired teacher. A world traveler. A father. A writer. A Trikke Trainer. He’s also the man behind Trailsnet.com, a website where people can find trails to ride and add their own favorites.
Best of all, Kevin Purdy is TrikkeWorld’s newest contributor, carving up our brand new column: Trailsnet Trikke Trails, featuring great trails for Trikke riders.
As a writer, Kevin has been published in numerous newspapers, magazines and journals, and is currently the featured writer on two blogs, as well as a regular contributor to Examiner.com (check out his thorough article on the 2012 Skki Inn).
In addition to a rewarding teaching career — including a Colorado Teacher of the Year nomination — Kevin has traveled the globe, visiting places such as Costa Rica, England, Italy, Turkey and New Zealand, just to name a few.
He also hosts his own active travel tours, specializing in trail travel for bikers, hikers, Trikke riders, inline skaters, recumbent riders, Nordic skiers and snowshoers.
However, one of Kevin’s most enduring projects is Trailsnet.com. An avid carver, biker and trail user, Purdy is a man on a mission: make Trailsnet the most extensive network of trail information on the Internet.
Through Trailsnet’s digital trail, as it were — including the website, a blog, a Facebook page and a Twitter feed — the idea is to keep people informed about all things trail-related, including travel, construction and stewardship.
TrikkeWorld Magazine: First things first. How did you discover the Trikke and Trikke Skki?
Kevin Purdy: I was just starting to toy with the idea of adding Personal Transportation Vehicles (PTVs) on Trailsnet. I was doing some research on the Internet and ran across some information about this thing called a Trikke Academy seminar. It happened to fall on a free weekend — I have about two of those per year — so I signed up. The rest is history.
On the first day of the Academy, I hopped on a Trikke, listened to the instructions of another student and couldn’t get the thing to move an inch. It was the first time I had ever tried something and completely, totally and absolutely failed.
Then Fred [Welch, Academy director] and Andy [Pliska of SouthBay Trikke, technical director] started barking commands at me, like a couple of dueling banjos (without the “Squeal like a pig scene”). Before I knew it, the Trikke was moving and I was having a blast. On the same trip, I got to try a Trikke Skki and enjoyed it more than fifty years of skiing and snowboarding.
TWM: What makes Trailsnet different from other trail sites?
KP: Most sites, including Trailsnet, allow visitors to view and add maps, information and photos; but Trailsnet is different in three important ways:
1. Trailsnet is the only website that caters, not only to hikers and bikers, but also specializes in personal transportation vehicles (PTVs). So if someone wants to find Trikke trails, there is a list of trails that are ideal for Trikkes.
2. Trailsnet offers information about trail tours for people who enjoy active travel opportunities. Currently, tours listed on the site include trips to Machu Picchu, Camino de Santiago Pilgrim Trail in Spain, Pounamu trail tours in New Zealand and historical trail tours in the United Kingdom. I look forward to adding Trikke tours once Trikke Travel is up and running.
3. Trailsnet is for all ages and abilities. Most websites and active travel tours cater to road bikers, racers, trail runners, etc. That’s great — for a very narrow demographic. Trailsnet offers trails and tours for the competitive thrill seekers, too; but we also offer information for families, seniors and beginners of all shapes, sizes, interests and abilities.
TWM: What motivated you to create Trailsnet?
KP: In 1997, I took my 73-year-old father and one-year-old daughter on a bike trip to the Hiawatha Trail in Idaho. It involved tunnels, trestles, historical placards, shuttle buses and most importantly, a trail that could be negotiated by a dad pulling a kiddies’ trailer and a grandfather.
Three generations were enjoying the outdoors, getting exercise, viewing gorgeous scenery and having a blast together. One of the trail stewards told me they were building these “rail-trails” all over the country, so when I got home, I went online to find more trails. There was almost nothing out there on the Internet, so I decided to create my own trail website. A couple years later, I started Trailsnet. Since then, I’ve added the blog, the trail tours, trail product reviews, personal transportation vehicle information and the ability for other people to add their own trails to the site.
TWM: Why did you opt for non-profit status for Trailsnet instead of a creating a website for profit?
KP: When I retired, I wanted to do volunteer work. I was already doing so at the Humane Society, but I wanted to do something on a broader scale. As a teacher, I always loved the saying, “Give a person a fish and they eat for a day; teach them to fish and they eat for life.”
I wanted to apply that same outlook to my post-teaching volunteer work, to do something that fostered lifelong habits of exercise, outdoor recreation and environmental awareness.
TWM: What do you hope riders get out of Trailsnet?
KP: I don’t feel roads are safe for Trikkes orbikes. It’s as simple as that. I can share all kinds of statistics about the number of riders and pedestrians who are injured or killed each year, but here’s the most important statistic: Zero. That’s the percentage of riders who thought they would be injured or killed in an accident with a car.
No one thinks it will happen to him or her, but in the Boulder, Colorado, newspaper alone, there are articles nearly daily about just such accidents. Rather than point fingers and lay blame, we can focus on the one sure-fire remedy; whenever possible, ride on trails. They are safer, calmer and much more beautiful than roads. There are literally thousands of great trails out there.
TWM: Is it true you’re hoping others will become more active in posting reviews on Trailsnet?
KP: I would love to have others post trail reviews. I especially want to see Trikke riders post trail information. Currently, there are 27 Trikke trails. I’d love to see 270+ trails within the next year. I hope Trikke enthusiasts help by sharing their own experiences. It’s easy. Just visit Trailsnet and click on the “Add a New Trail” link. We’re still working on the photo and mapping widgets, but for now, add as much information as you can. Our main goal is helping fellow Trikke riders find trails in their own backyard and across the country.
TWM: What makes a good Trikke trail?
KP: A good Trikke trail should have the following six characteristics:
1. It should have a hard surface like concrete or asphalt.
2. It should be relatively level to encourage all abilities of riders.
3. Lengthy trails are preferable (especially for those who enjoy traveling to explore new trails).
4. Trails with below or above-grade road crossings are much safer for riders of all types.
5. Wide trails are much nicer for carving. Some of the best Trikke trails are 12-14 feet wide.
6. Trails should be in good repair with a minimum of potholes, rocks and roots.
When you see a trail listed as a Trikke trail on Trailsnet.com, it often has most of the characteristics listed above.
TWM: How have Trikke carving vehicles changed your life?
KP: I was seriously thinking about giving up on the whole notion of adding Personal Transportation Vehicles to Trailsnet. After researching recumbents, Elliptigos, Street Striders, etc., I had come to the conclusion that there was no sense of community among those various groups.
Then I started interacting with the Trikke community. Talk about polar opposite. Trikke has one of the most cohesive communities out there. When Trikke riders get together, there’s a real sense of camaraderie. That’s evident at the Skki Inn, on Facebook, on TrikkeWorld and at Trikke Academies. I think that sense of community will continue to grow with such upcoming ventures as Trikke Travel and Trikke Tours.
TWM: Anything else you’d like to add?
KP: I look forward to future Trikke gatherings all over the country. I also look forward to sharing Trikke trail information on TrikkeWorld and to seeing the trails that others share on Trailsnet.