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Friday, June 4, 2010

Soccer Games, Bells, Routes and Meeting People

Meg and Kelly
Originally uploaded by donolmt
Here are Meg and Kelly. I met them Saturday as we were all heading to the soccer game. Chattanooga recently has formed a semi-professional soccer team and tonight was an Exhibition game with Mexico. Chattanooga has joined in the world's game and at a pretty impressive level. Not only were they able to draw a big crowd to the game but they actually beat the Mexican team.

Riding to the game I found myself crossing the bridge all at the same time with other riders. When there was a regroup with a couple of them at the stop light we introduced ourselves. Meg and Kelly were very appreciative of the bellringing I did to get across the bridge.

Which was rather funny, because I don't have a bell on my bike. I was on a loaner while my trusty steed was getting its every three month check up. Since only half of the bridge is open as the finishing work is being done, it gets very crowded trying to ride through. I never felt a big need for a bell, usually a a "bike behind" call does the job, but the density of the crowds on the bridge sure made getting through tough. It was amazing how the bell cleared the way.

So with the help of the bike and the bell, I got to meet two more fellow bikers. Neither one bikes on a regular basis because of where they live/work but they do get out on bikes when they can.

Another person I met this past weekend was my neighbor. Riding through the neighborhood on a daily basis has made many people familiar with me by sight. By the time I actually meet my neighbors, they feel as though they already know me. Its kinda of strange in a way.2010 05 30 001

John has long ridden bikes in the fast, hard, far way but has been doing more and more of the tool around the neighborhood type riding. He is an air controller at the airport and would like to ride his bike to work. I told him of my recent trips that take me by the airport and the difficulties of it. We discussed the different routes-Brainerd Tunnel with Brainerd Rd (medium distance, tunnel with bike light and heavy traffic on multi-laned road) Wilcox Blvd(shortest distance, long tunnel with no bike light) or River Park/access road/Jersey Pike(longest distance, nicest route, no tunnel)

I have been taking the Wilcox Blvd way. A recent talk I had with Bike Director Phil, was strongly advocating the Brainerd Tunnel route. But we all agree the RiverWalk was the most pleasant-if you have the time. I wonder if my neighbor will be inspired by our talk and do a bike ride to work. And which route he will take. And I wonder how much sooner I would have to leave to do the RiverWalk route myself.

Meeting these bikers and hearing them express a desire to ride bikes more to more places tells me there is probably a small army of would-be bikers just waiting for more favorable conditions. Build it and they will come, I know. Bikers are increasing all the time but with more support, even just a tiny bit of support of the magnitude given to cars, I know the roads will be flowing with cyclists. How wonderful that would be!

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