Since I attended the City of Richmond’s Pedestrian, Bike and Trails Commission planning meeting a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been thinking more about my efforts to bike around town. I wrote a story for Richmond.com that summarizes the plan and safety concerns.
I recently wrote about my work commute and I’ve determined that under most circumstances, biking the 8.2-mile commute from Lakeside to the NBC12 studios by way of Lakeside Avenue/Hermitage Road/The Boulevard/Westover Hills Boulevard and Midlothian Turnpike is not going to work for me and my family.
We bike for fun, exercise and to cut out using gas. We want our children to grow up fit and with an open mind toward alternatives to automobiles.
I own a trailer and a trail-a-bike attachments to make taking the kids along easier and safer. Now that they are getting big enough to bike on their own, the trailer is more often used as the hauler. When we go to the beach, that thing gets loaded down with as much as we can carry, because we try our best to not drive the car for short trips in the Outer Banks.
But, there are plenty of other ways I can continue to remove automobile trips from my/our routines and replace them with biking. The key to many of these working for me and my family is traffic and safety. There is occasionally a need to drive due to time constraints, but many of these short trips are actually faster by bike!
Bike trips already added, under 3 miles (weather permitting):
- Bryan Park (soccer, playgrounds, exploring)
- Dance class
- Lakeside Farmer’s Market (unless watermelons are in season)
- Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
- Lewis Ginter Recreation Association pool (longest trip)
- Sweet 95 or Kitchen 64 (rewards!)
- Hermitage Grill (open soon please)
- Richmond Volleyball Club
- Dumbarton Library (often)
- Dry cleaners
- Rowlett’s Bike Shop (unless my bike needs repair, purpose for visit)
- Brook Run Ukrop’s (with trailer attached, not worth trouble)
Bike trips considering, 3-5 miles (weather permitting):
- SCOR Richmond (indoor soccer)
- The Diamond (attend a couple of games a season)
- Children’s best friends houses
- Buzz N’ Ned’s
- Movieland (reflective gear and lights needed)
- Science Museum of Virginia
- Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
- Chiocca’s (an all-time favorite)
- Carytown (now we’re talking our family limit)
- The Byrd Theatre
Several of the shopping, museum, entertainment and dining options on this list are perfect for potential riders to consider. As Richmond encourages cyclists by developing more bike-friendly routes, adds more bike racks and signage, citizens and tourists need to step up with more efforts to add the enjoyment and adventure that comes with biking to our city’s best attractions.
I suggest that anyone else that is considering substituting automobile trips with bike trips make your own lists. Commit to cycling. Own the right safety equipment, including helmet, reflective gear, lights, locks, tire pumps, backpacks, baskets, etc. The only way you’ll make it a habit is if you tell yourself that the car is off-limits for short trips unless absolutely necessary.