SALT LAKE CITY -- Bicyclists from across the state rode miles to join in on the inaugural ride and dedication of the Golden Spoke Trail, and it was a great day for a bike ride.
“Look at the weather, great friends, great people, you’re on a bike. How could it be any better?” said Davis County Commissioner Bret Millburn atop his bike in the middle of the Jordan River bridge.
But it’s also a day 30 years in the making.
“It’s a big deal for Utah, it’s a big deal for our area, and it’s a big deal for our people,” Gov. Gary Herbert said.
It’s the dedication of the Golden Spoke Trail, a paved trail system more than 100 miles long connecting Utah from Ogden to Provo.
“It’s the longest connected trail system west of the Mississippi,” Millburn said.
That makes it the second largest connected trail system in the nation.
“We’re known as an outdoors type of folk,” Millburn said. “We’re promoting, and we’re living up to a very active lifestyle.”
Putting Utah on the map for bikers.
“This is just the beginning," Herbert said. "We have another 900-1,000 miles yet to add, which we’ll do over the next 10 years."
While commemorating a piece of American history.
“This is the golden spoke,” said Millburn showing a gold painted wheel spoke. “So kind of in line with the railroad and the Golden Spike.”
The Golden Spike was the final piece that connected the rails in Utah, creating the first transcontinental railroad in 1869.
The moment was marked with a photo of two trains facing each other, with people shaking hands across the meeting point.
The bikers from Provo and the bikers from Ogden met in the middle of the Jordan River bridge, the last piece in finalizing the trail system, to recreate the iconic moment.
“Has a little bit of history and we’re creating history as well,” Millburn said.
The golden spoke was then taken and placed in a half wheel spoke alongside a number of others, each representing one of the communities reached through the trail system.
“Get out and ride, get out and enjoy the great state of Utah and the new trail system,” Millburn said with a smile.
The trail system was made possible through the collaboration of federal, state and city governments alongside the communities and private entities.
The governor said those same agencies will be involved over the next 10 years to fund the additional 900 miles the state intends to add to the trail system.