Sunday, April 19, 2009

A tentative idea: Neighborhood Rides

This morning, while thinking that we've run out of major bike-paths to explore on our Readers' Rides (at least till the main connector between the Arkansas River and Gypsum Creek paths gets built) and catching up with Karen's yeo-woman's labor of a blog, Delano Wichita, it occurred to me that an ideal augmentation of the Readers' Rides would be pre-routed rides through the city's neighborhoods. A basic subtext of this blog is that cycling can help foster a sense of neighborhood and community and, really, what better way to see what a neighborhood is really like than by walking or riding through it? I admit to there being two political angles to this, as well: biking through some neighborhoods in town could oh-so-subtly impress upon riders the value of adding sharrows along some streets, if not full-blown bike lanes; and it would drive home the idea that "community" consists of more than retail businesses.

Here's where readers can join in the fun: I'd like to invite readers in the city to propose routes that are pleasant and relatively safe, traffic-wise, through their neighborhoods, map it using a map-making program such as MapMyRide or Veloroutes, and send me the link, either here in comments or via e-mail. Think as well about what neighborhood warts you'd like for us to see--not just the Norman Rockwell stuff. The idea is for us to see a community's strengths and weaknesses so as to begin discussions that could jump-start and foster a stronger sense of identity for that part of town. Anyway, I hope that those who propose these routes will also be willing to serve as our guides along these routes, so also suggest possible dates and times for these rides when you'd be available, and I'll post about them here--as will, I hope, those other bloggers who are neighborhood-inclined.

Neighborhoods such as the Delano, Riverside, and College Hill are obvious candidates for these rides, but here is a map of other possibilities to consider.

I look forward to hearing from you.

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