I’ve decided to break down my experiences into biking bussing and walking. And even though this is called the Bus Blog, a majority of my travel was on a bike and I think it was my favorite way to get around the city. There may have been some areas where it was intimidating to ride, but I never felt out of place. Sometimes while walking or waiting on the bus I felt a little embarrassed in places. It wasn’t a lot, but there were times I felt like people were looking at me and wondering why I wasn’t just in a car. Not with biking. It could be because biking is so much more prominent now around town but whatever it was, I biked more miles than I walked and bussed combined. And because of this I became a lot more involved with the local Little Rock biking community. Shortly after October I attended a meeting of the Little Rock Bicycle Friendly community Committee (http://www.bikelr.com/) or the BFCC. There is a website now that is a work in progress and once the BFCC finds someone to dedicate to keeping it up to date it will be a great resource for biking info, news and upcoming projects and events for cyclists in Little Rock. If anyone enjoys biking, community involvement and website design, and would like to get involved let me know!
One of the biggest biking issues I came upon during my month was, even though Little Rock and North Little Rock have a great bike loop along the riverfront that connect both downtowns to the western extents of the city, it is an island. The trail is a self contained loop that most of the hundreds of people that use it every day, have to drive to. I had never given this much consideration before I started riding a bike for more than recreational purposes. For a cycling commuter a 14 mile dedicated and paved bike route would seem like a dream. However it is virtually useless for getting around town. But this doesn’t mean that It is impossible to get around town on a bike. There are bike lanes and bike routes throughout the city and are heavily used by cyclists. But these can be intimidating to the average biker trying to get around town. However the exciting news now is that the city is working on fixing this problem by exploring possible routes up the hillside into the Heights, Hillcrest and Foxcroft neighborhoods that would provide an ADA (1:20 slope) accessible path from these neighborhoods to the River trail. I am actually helping out the committee that is exploring this!
Another issue I a came across was the lack of facilities for bikers. Bike racks are hard to find in the city. The bus stop does have them even though it took me a while to find them hiding in the corner of the complex. But the more I thought about this the less of a big deal it really was to me because I can chain my bike up to almost anything and there is typically a tree or sign or light pole that can serve the purpose just as well. Besides a safe place to store my bike there weren’t really many other things that I needed for the month. But there are a few other amenities that a lot Little Rock is beginning to implement to promote biking. One of these things are bike stations. Places where people can safely store their bikes and shower and change clothes at work. The city is currently looking at building one of the stations Downtown as well as putting together a campaign to encourage business to provide their amenities for their employees. The following link is the meeting minutes form one of BFCC’s meetings to define and impalement Bike Stations.
Another great amenity came fairly recent. A bike repair station. This is a piece of equipment that has all the necessary bike tools to repairs a bike on the trail. It is located out at Cooks Landing. The following link is from a great bike blog I’ve followed for a few months now, JBar Cycling. He has a great link about this new device.
JBar has also put together a recwnt great list of bicycle amenities in Little Rock
Biking is becoming a common activity for all sorts of people in Little Rock. Whether it’s the racer on a top of-the-line bicycle,
cursing cruising down a rural highway outside of town, a casual commuter looking to save some gas or a down and out homeless person who has been given a donated bike to make his way around the city, biking is becoming an import part of our lives for a growing number of people and we should strive to adapt our infrastructure to meet this exciting new demand.