Why I love riding in Wichita so much

Yesterday was another great example of why I love riding in Wichita so much.

The day started with a very short ride to Edgemoor Park for the WIRE event, it was great connecting with so many people passionate about making life better in Wichita. I then spent a couple hours cleaning up my garage – (“oh, so that’s what people do who don’t ride their bikes for 6 hrs on a Saturday morning!”). With the garage tidy I then did some repairs on my bikes and had just enough time to get a quick ride in.

I decided to ride my “gravel grinder”, a steel cyclocross bike with sturdy tires that can handle all kinds of surfaces. I got out through my neighborhood at about 4pm, and rode the Redbud Trail starting at Woodlawn. For those who haven’t been on this, you are going to be impressed. Its rough right now, but be patient – AARTI is starting in Andover and soon enough we’ll have a multi-use path running from I-135 clear to Augusta. I like it the way it is now since its a nice challenge, rideable pretty much all the way to Andover Park. But yah, we need it accessible for everyone. From there I hopped on 13th and continued east to Sante Fe Lake, riding some horribly washboarded gravel but that’s part of the fun – “rustic charm”. Its beautiful approaching the lake, and for the first time in years I went into the church camp, which used to be Camp Tawakoni (memories of my son’s cub scouts). I rode all the way down to a floating dock at the edge of this lake and stood there listening to all of the wildlife surrounding me. I saw not a soul at the lake, and very few cars even on the road.

I returned home via Central, which is gravel that far east but then becomes a wonderful example of a Wichita 4 lane road shared between bikes and cars. I saw several other riders, some on sidewalk but others on the street, and both cars and bikes got along just fine.

And then late last night (after working a couple of hours on Bike Walk Wichita’s new database – Salesforce.com) I took another ride. I hopped on the same bike, but this time rode Douglas through downtown to the Arkansas River Bike Path, and looped up to the Keeper of the Plains. It was a wonderful night ride. I love riding through the quiet city streets. I do have good lights front and rear (this bike has a CREE LED 10k lumens headlight, my commuter bike runs a generator powered LED system). A little dicey going through Old Town with the bar traffic but once on the First street bike lane all was quiet again.

I have no idea how many miles I rode, that wasn’t the point. A city the size of Wichita lets us experience both rural and urban riding unlike what most people in bigger cities get to ride. I can’t wait for the Bicycle Master Plan projects to become reality, we should see some real changes this year. But right now is a great time to ride a bike in Wichita. Get out there today! I’ll be taking this same bike out soon but with my trailer attached, first to the grocery store with my 4 dogs and later to BWW’s trail cleanup at 2pm. Thanks to everyone helping to make Wichita a safer, active, and enjoyable city!

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