That’s not exactly the line from Field of Dreams, but you’ve probably heard it like that before. As cyclists, we can’t expect government, developers, and planners to pour money and time into cycling infrastructure in hopes that we’ll use it. Riding for a better community means making a simple choice to include a bike in our daily lives, rather than waiting for some personally paved path from our doors. And the good news is that more and more of us are doing just that.
Bike commuting continues to become a popular pursuit, as more “grown-ups” reintroduce ourselves to the utility – and fun – of riding to work, school, or for errands. Young professionals – the kind that Charlotte and every other city is trying attract – are less likely to even own a car, much less drive one. New residential and retail development is set to meet their demand for bike-friendly access to work, shopping, restaurants and entertainment.
Charlotte’s bikeshare program has exceeded expectations, as it has everywhere else. And if our earlier efforts to teach kids to ride are any barometer, there’s an eager generation ready to drop the training wheels and ride. Whether they’ll race, or how they’ll ride isn’t as important as whether they’ll see the bike as more than a toy. We can encourage that by setting an example of how to share the road, and giving them the freedom to use their own bikes beyond the end of the cul-de-sac. It won’t happen overnight, but it will. Even Ray needed convincing to build that ball field, didn’t he?
Cycling is one of the things that make a community accessible, vibrant and friendly. And like Terrance Mann said, “They’ll come, Ray… people will most definitely come.” And we hope they’ll ride. And the more of us who do ride, the easier, safer and more fun it will be.
Owner, Bicycle Sport