I wanted to own my own bicycle. When I got the bike I must have been the happiest boy in Liverpool, maybe the world. I lived for that bike. Most kids left their bike in the backyard at night. Not me. I insisted on taking mine indoors and the first night I even kept it in my bed. ~ John Lennon
As a recent convert to Bicycling AC (after-childhood), I can understand the joy that John Lennon described. When I ride, I am always struck by the feeling of freedom, that release of stress. For me, jumping on the bike is like a total brain reset button. And I’m not alone when speaking about the mental power in bike riding, Albert Einstein claimed to have thought of the theory of relativity while riding his bike. My thoughts while traveling around the metro and the state don’t quite make it to those levels.
But a genius thing seems to be happening around Louisville, biking is on the rise and the ease of biking has greatly improved, and people are taking notice. Bicycling Magazine is out with their 2012 AMERICA'S TOP 50 Bike-Friendly Cities. Louisville is #21.
Even though we landed just outside the Top 20, this is a bold statement for a city that has a sketchy past with bike riders. Anyone remember the June 2004, text book throwing incident that put Papa John’s Founder/CEO in the hospital for a week. Or later, How about the high profile accidents on the Second Street Bridge and Bardstown Road that claimed the lives of bikers because of road rage or negligence from automobile drivers. But things are improving!
In 2005, Mayor Abramson held Louisville's first bike summit addressing these issues and set a path for Louisville to become a gold-level bicycle friendly community by 2015. It seems to be paying off with this recognition from Bicycling Magazine. The magazine sited the Bike Sense programs which teach cycling safety to kids. Is mentions the 200 new bike wayfinding signs around town and the fact that we were able to lure the 2013 World Cyclocross Campionships to Eva Bandman Park in February.
While, we have a ways to go and some education to do with cranky drivers before we can reach the level of Portland, Oregon (#1) or Minneapolis (#2) but we are making big progress. So, dust off the Schwinn, tune up the Trek and, borrowing a quote from Freddy Mercury and Queen, “get your bikes and ride!”