We all got the news last year that Dayton is an official Bronze Level Bike Friendly Community. We’ve got the yellow bikes downtown (are there any left?) and the new tri-cabs popping up. There are bike lanes and sharrows through the city and trails that lead all around the Miami Valley. Bikes are gaining prominence in our fair city as the weather turns warmer. So, I needed to know the most bike-friendly routes and where I could park as I prep for my week without a car.
I turned first to the internet. MY GOSH there are so many organizations and people in the region promoting biking. Since this experiment is less about recreation and more about transportation, I first went to the bike/walk map provided by the City of Dayton. Overall it’s a great tool, but when I see that it claims that Wayne Avenue is a bike-friendly road (albeit for experts only), I’m not quite sure that the map represents my reality. I’ll stick to the beginner routes. I’ll also give the City props for a working list of places to park a bike downtown. Andrew Rodney is working on this, and although he’s not 100% satisfied with its level of completion, it’s something to work with.
I also appreciated the bike portal provided by the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission – great recreational info, but the portal also provided links specifically for the Bike Commuter. And if I ever feel totally alone in the adventure there’s: Courteous Mass, Bicycle Buzz Miami Valley, Dayton Cycling Club, the Outdoor Evangelist, Five Rivers MetroParks, the Miami Valley Cycling Summit, and many, many more organizations and individual bloggers that share their experiences. I’m all info-ed up and ready to go!
Except that my bike has been sitting in a cold, wet, and icky garage for the last year. Some years I attempt to clean it up myself, but seeing as I have to actually rely on it and not just take some happy spins around the block, I’m leaving it up to the experts. I hit K&G Bike Shop (they have three around the region) for a “tune-up” and to be sure nothing was going to break.
Good thing I went for the experts. As soon as I got there with my bike, friendly manager John took it from me and pointed out that I already had it set up in a pretty unsafe way. Okay – good lesson. For my seasonal tune up, they cleaned and oiled and realigned and inflated. Pretty much the basics of making sure that it’s not going to fall apart when I hit my first pothole.
While I was there I even picked up a helmet. I can’t tell you how hard that was for me. I grew up in a time when my parents sent my siblings and I out on bikes for the day just to get us out of their hair. We never used helmets! We went all over the city and through construction sites (that we stupidly usurped as our own little BMX park) and through scraped knees and broken arms we still remained helmet-less. But (I guess) I’m older and wiser and now I’m driving down busier streets. This adventure requires a helmet – but at least it’s pretty.
So, I’m now ready to go. Watch out road, here I come!