On my recent trip to Omaha to help my dad move, I noticed Omaha has added lots of bike trails. This is good for more than the obvious reasons. I used to ride there in the '80s on my road bike when I visited my dad. Omaha is very hilly and I loved to go out of town and ride hills until my legs fell off. As Omaha spread out and traffic got worse, the pleasant, paved country roads turned into shoulderless, heavily trafficed death traps. I have never felt safe riding on those roads after the traffic increased.
I wondered where I would ride if, god forbid, I lived there. At least I only had to visit.
Over the past several years, the bike trails have appeared all over. I picked up an Omaha bike trail map (PDF link) at a bike shop and realized I could now ride to my favorite off-road bike trail using paved bike trails. I plotted my route and found my way very easily. I was impressed with what they've done. I bet the trails are primarily used by recreational riders instead of commuters, but it's a great improvement over the past. Maybe the trails lead road bikers to safer roads also. With the addition of all these paved bike trails, I look forward to my next visit. However, I'll only be visiting my in laws instead of my dad. I'll have to go to California to see him now. I wonder if they have places to ride there?
Side note: The bike shop (Bikemasters) I visited is very into 29ers. This was nice. They also have a nice work area where they keep demo bikes and swap parts on them. They had demo forks, seats, and handlebars that people could swap and try. I'd like to try some Mary bars. They had them, but I didn't have time for all that.