There's almost no excuse not to go cycling in Indianapolis these days. With the support of Mayor Greg Ballard, local philanthropists Gene and Marilyn Glick and about a dozen community and corporate sponsors, Indianapolis is becoming even more bike-aware. Bicycling.com even named Indy among America's 50 Best Bike Cities.
For the commuter, the introduction of the Indy Bike Hub YMCA is a dream come true. To be located in the east wing of City Market, the hub will be perfect for anyone riding into downtown from outlying areas. The space will include a bike shop (which will feature service, repairs, accessories and bike rentals, all operated by Bicycle Garage Indy), indoor parking for 148 bicycles, showers, locker rooms and a free towel service.
By September, a state-of-the-art wellness center will be added to the space, with a WiFi lounge, multi-purpose rooms, clinics and other exercise classes. There will be cardio and strength equipment, nutrition coaching, personal training, plus ongoing special events.
Now through Sept. 14, joining fees will be waived for membership. Everything should be up and running by Sept. 7, with a Grand Opening Celebration on Wednesday, Sept. 14.
To sign up for membership you can visit the City Market (11 a.m. 1 p.m., Monday through Friday) or to the YMCA at the Athenaeum during open hours (an existing Y membership automatically includes membership in the Hub).
It's also getting easier to get around the city - and the whole city, not just downtown. By the end of this year, Indianapolis residents will be able to use more than 64 miles of biking lanes. The Indianapolis Cultural Trail: A Legacy of Gene and Marilyn Glick, will soon connect to the Monon Trail, giving cyclists easy access to Broad Ripple. The Cultural Trail is fully accessible to the physically challenged and has audio signals for the visually impaired.
The trail connects five cultural districts, including Fountain Square, Indiana Avenue, Mass Avenue, the Canal/White River State Park and the Wholesale District. Construction of the Cultural Trail began in 2007 and should be completed by the end of 2012. Updates on construction and progress can be found at the website: http://www.indyculturaltrail.org/news-events.html.
Even if you're not invested in cycling as a lifestyle or as a means for transportation on a daily basis, it's still fun to get on a bike every once in a while. The newest downtown bike shop, Bikes on Mass Ave, scheduled to open in mid-August will have rentals available. Wheel Fun Rentals on the Canal also offers several options for cruising downtown for the day.
Besides the New Belgium Mass Ave Crit, check out these upcoming events:
Nap Town Chickens presents Tour de Coops: Tourists are encouraged to ride their bikes from coop to coop within the Broad Ripple/Meridian-Kessler/Butler-Tarkington/Rocky Ripple area. (Cars are also welcome). Learn how much fun urban chicken farming can be while spending an afternoon on a bicycle. There is a $5/person donation and all proceeds benefit Keep Indianapolis Beautiful and IndyCog, a local bicycle advocacy group. Sept. 18, 2-5 p.m.
Tweed Ride: Wear your favorite tweed garb and hop on a bike for a ride from Broad Ripple to Downtown and back, Oct. 29.
Car Free Fridays: Bike to work on Fridays all year! Everyone's doing it!
Courteous Mass, Critical Manners: An effort to teach cyclists to become part of traffic rather than battle traffic - a practice in cooperation. Every second Friday of the month at the American Legion Mall, across from the Central Public Library. Next ride: Sept. 9.