May is National Bike Month
Bike sales in the United States increased 69% in 2020 compared with the previous year, according to the NPD Group, which tracks retail trends.
What are Central Indiana residents doing with their new bikes? Bike Indianapolis and Commuter Connect hope they’ll use them to participate in a new Bike Guides program, designed to increase bikers’ comfort and confidence on the road.
Leading up to National Bike Month, the organizations are pairing experienced bike riders with anyone who’s interested in learning to navigate bike lanes and trails, get help planning safe and efficient routes all over Central Indiana, sharing bike rules and regulations and more.
“It’s exciting to have a new bike, but it can also be intimidating trying to understand where to go and how to navigate traffic,” said Damon Richards, executive director of Bike Indianapolis. “We have a group of volunteers who love to share their love of biking with those new to it.”
Commuter Connect, whose mission is to reduce the number of single-occupancy vehicles on the roads, regularly helps match people who want to carpool, vanpool or bike together to get to work. The partnership with Bike Indianapolis to provide bike riding guides is new.
“It’s a pretty big leap from buying a bike to riding it to work,” said Jennifer Gebhard, manager of Commuter Connect. “Not only do you have to plan your route and navigate rush-hour traffic, you have to think about bike parking and whether you’ll need to shower when you get to work. All of this can be easily figured out by learning from someone who already does it.”
New riders can sign up here to be matched with a bike guide. Commuter Connect will create matches based on geography, and matches will make arrangements to meet and ride on their own. Bike Indianapolis is recruiting and training the volunteer bike guides.
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Commuter Connect is a federally funded service designed to reduce air pollution and traffic congestion. There is no charge for employers or employees to use Commuter Connect’s services. https://commuterconnect.us/
Bike Indianapolis strives to get more people riding bicycles in Central Indiana. Through advocacy, it works with government, businesses and other organizations to plan and construct better bicycle infrastructure, including trails, greenways and bike lanes. Through education, it provides education to motorists and bike riders on safe and legal riding techniques that make it possible to ride on existing city streets or share the road with those who do. Through events, it provides reasons for people to get out and ride. https://www.bikeindianapolis.org/