Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Built for the Road Ahead


It started with someone saying "What about a biking group?" at a green task force meeting.

Then, in our newsletter, we asked if anyone was interested.

Some people were interested. They offered to lead a group. Developed a mission statement. Came up with a name. And picked a date for a kick off ride through our little city.

Last Saturday night, in front of the local library, thirty-two people gathered on their commuter bikes, their cruisers, their teenage son's rusted ten speed. Older kids had their own bikes. Little ones were tucked into trailers or atop of connector bikes. We spent the next 45 minutes and 4.3 miles cruising around the flat streets of town. People gawked on their front lawns as our bike parade went past. Car drivers smiled and waved us through the intersection. The group undulated back and forth. Introductions made while pedaling. Ideas tossed around. Someone said they were setting up a website for the biking group. Others exchanged edible gardening ideas. "Wouldn't it be fun to do a bicycle tour of local edible gardens?" Still others suggested that we ask the locally owned market to stock grass fed beef.

Who knows where this group will go. What streets we'll meander down. Whether members will one day ask City Hall for better bike lanes and bike parking downtown. Whether those people standing on their front lawns will join us next week or next month. What friendships will be formed, recipes or equipment exchanged, commuter routes set up.

That night was simply a first step. We knew one thing, though. As we parted exhilarated, our cheeks pinkened, our thighs burning and our hearts pumping, we realized what had happened that night. We had formed a community - one built for the road ahead.

10 comments:

Robj98168 said...

I have heard of this before - I believe it is LA has a huge group of bicyclists that meet at night and peddle all over the city and end the evening with a huge party. Sound like fun!I would like to get a scooter gang going

Sophie said...

Fantastic stuff - I hope your bike group goes from strength to strength!

It's easy to forget how daunting it is going out on a bike in a car dominated city - you all deserve a big pat on the back for that. Oxford (UK) is very bike friendly because of the lack of parking and huge student population so we're well served for bike lanes and bike stands and cars are used to us.

Burbanmom said...

What fun!

Joyce said...

Good for you! I'm sure this will evetually lead to a more bike-friendly community!

Bobbi said...

That sounds like so much fun!!! The only problem with my hometown is the streets aren't "bike friendly". I may have to bring this up at the next city council meeting! Thanks!

eco 'burban mom said...

How fun! Though, do you ever rest, GB? I am really starting to believe that you ARE a superhero!

kale for sale said...

Car drivers waving you through the intersection?! That's very nice. But then so was the bike ride.

Green Bean said...

Rob: Scooter gang here you come! Rock on, dude.

Sophie: Thank you. You are right that it is tough to go out into biking unfriendly streets but there is strength in numbers. No one was going to miss that evening. :)

Burbs: Totally. The kids keep talking about it.

Joyce: I think you are right. I definitely think it is right to start small and start fun.

Bobbi: Our streets are pretty biker unfriendly - too narrow for two cars to fit at the same time. There is strength - and visibility - in numbers though.

Eco Burbs: Rest, pshaw! No but I've got something up my sleeve that might eventually help with that.

Kale: We hope to leave everyone with a pleasant aftertaste - and the desire to do it again.

Melissa said...

glad to hear the cars were friendly to you! If only I could find 30 or so people to ride with me to the grocery store, I'd be all set...

sounds like a great time!

Abbie said...

So cool! I was talking to a couple of my aunts and they're looking to get together a women's biking group to go for fun rides on back roads around here. I just may have to buy a bike!

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