May 13, 201210:44 AMOutside Columbia
Come Outside And Play, Columbia!
Bike, Walk and Wheel Week Rolls On
The title of Bike Tribes (published this month by Rodale) is self-explanatory: the book is about all the different types of people who ride bikes – a field guide to North American cyclists, if you will.
Author Mike Magnuson examines nearly 20 sorts of riders (from novice triathletes to tattooed messengers to folks simply trying to lose weight), and concludes that “most people who ride bicycles aren’t fanatics about cycling.” He also questions why so many Americans consider cycling to be recreational and not transportational (yes, I did make that word up. And, yes, this topic created some buzz in the Tribune last month). Here’s what Magnuson says:
“It’s not easy for the commuter to manage the routine of getting to and fro, especially if this person works in a professional environment that requires attire other than sweaty bicycle clothing. We’re talking about leaving earlier for work, finding a way to get cleaned up and changed upon arrival – not to mention stockpiling clothing at work – then reversing course at the end of the day and pedaling the long way home. And what happens in the rather likely event of rain? Sleet? Earthquake? Alien attack during rush hour? At a minimum, the commuter will be inconvenienced, and in the case of the alien attack, the aliens might befriend the commuter because the commuter is so entirely foreign to our culture.
It’s a nightmare all around (aliens not withstanding). But this doesn’t deter the commuter because the commuter operates on a commitment to human-powered motion, which is good for both the environment and the rider.”
Yes, bike commuting can be difficult. Especially during hot and humid Missouri summers. Especially if your route includes steep inclines and lots of traffic. Especially if your employer doesn’t provide showers or a bike rack (ahem, Fred). But at least try it. Just once. See this weather forecast? That’s right, it’s gorgeous. Which means you have absolutely no excuse not to take advantage of Bike, Walk and Wheel week (now through May 19). The city (Parks & Rec and Boone County Public Health and Human Services) has planned more than a dozen activities to encourage Columbians to cycle, stroll and roll around town. Learn how to commute sans car, and get lots of free food, shirts, and stuff along the way. So pump of those tires, and hit the road.
Here’s the line up:
- Bicyclists ride city buses for free. Bikes must be loaded onto racks on the front of buses (if this sounds complicated, don’t worry, drivers will assist first-time users). Check out the city’s Bike-N-Bus brochure here.
Monday, May 14
- Walking Public Art Tour (6 p.m., Flat Branch Park). The Office of Cultural Affairs lists 23 works of public art on its website; how many can you visit on foot?
Tuesday, May 15
- Secret Access Trail Ride (6 p.m., Flat Branch Park). A 15-mile ride along the MKT and County House trails. No pre-registration is necessary, but helmets and water are required.
Wednesday, May 16
- Brown Bag Lunch Sessions: “I Would Bike/Walk to Work, But…” (Noon, Walton Building). Don’t let the weather, distance or a busy schedule hold you back – you can commute to work by bike or foot. PedNet tells you how at this free event.
- Family Fun Fest (6 p.m., Flat Branch Park). Discover ways to stay fit through demonstrations and hands-on activities.
Thursday, May 17
- Try Transit Day. Ride city buses for free all day. They’re not as scary as you think! Schedule and routes are available here.
- Walk the Course (7 p.m., L.A. Nickell & Lake of the Woods golf courses). Receive a $3 discount if you walk instead of ride between holes.
- Bike Shop Workshop (6:30 to 7:45 p.m., Walt’s). Learn basic bicycle maintenance, such as how to fix a flat.
Friday, May 18
- Breakfast Station Day (7 to 9 a.m.). Possibly the greatest day ever. Cyclists and pedestrians can enjoy free breakfast at five locations around town. Food is provided by Clovers, Hy-Vee, Tryathletics and the Kiwanis Club, to name a few. Can you hit all the stops? Locations include the MKT Forum trailhead, the ARC, Lion-Stephens Park, Flat Branch Park and Fire Station 9).
Saturday, May 19
- Trails Day (9 a.m., MLK Jr. Memorial on the MKT). Run or walk a 5K, or bike a 10K to celebrate Columbia’s trails. Participants receive a free T-shirt. No registration required.
- Wheelchair Wash and Roll (Noon to 4 p.m., Stephens Lake Park). Roll around the park, enjoy free wheelchair detailing and snacks.
See you on the road. I’ll be the one on the pink cruiser with the gigantic newspaper basket on the front.