Create a Bike-Friendly Community


For many years now, bike riding has been growing in popularity. Whether riders are commuting to work, running errands, getting a workout or just having some fun, communities are finding creative ways to make bicycling even more mainstream. Bike-friendly communities have a few things in common: safe and pleasant places to ride, with appealing destinations such as local parks or places to stop for a bite, along with bike-friendly amenities.

Q: We want to encourage more biking in our community. What should we consider when it comes to safe and appealing routes for bikes?

A: According to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, which supports converting former railroads into bike trails, there are currently 2,130 rail-trails, adding up to 24,062 miles! From these converted railroads to brand-new trails, paths designed specifically for bicycles are popping up in communities across the United States. There's a reason for that. Many riders feel safer and more comfortable on trails designated specifically for bikes.

Remember that bike paths will have more appeal if they allow bicyclists to pedal through beautiful scenery, or give them a destination, such as a park or a downtown area. When you provide attractive destinations like this along your bike trail, you'll also want to be sure to include safe and secure places for riders to lock up their bikes while they enjoy the area. A tremendous variety of bike racks are available, and they often can even be customized to suit the look and feel of the surrounding area. Bike shelters can offer welcome protection from the weather, and also can provide a location for wayfinding signage or even a bike repair station.

Q: What kinds of bike-friendly amenities should we provide along our bike trails to further encourage cycling in our community?

A: Think about what bike riders might need, and look for ways to accommodate them. At a minimum, you'll want to provide drinking fountains and bike racks along your trail. Bottle fillers incorporated into drinking fountains will be welcome to people on long rides who might need to refill. And restrooms are always a welcome amenity.

But of course, bike riders also will occasionally need to stop and fix something that's gone wrong, whether a flat tire or a seat post adjustment. Adding bike repair stations along bike trails and at bike-friendly destinations can provide even experienced riders with the tools they need to keep pedaling.

Self-service bike repair stations can provide all the tools riders need to perform basic bike repairs and maintenance. All kinds of adjustments are often necessary when out for a ride, from something as simple as adjusting tire pressure to more complex needs like adjusting the brakes. Look for a bike repair station that provides all the tools needed so that bicyclists can change a flat tire, adjust derailleurs and more.

Look for conveniences to make your bike repair stations even more appealing, such as a hanger riders can use to accomplish their maintenance and repair tasks. Also, consider adding an air pump with an integrated pressure gauge so they can fine-tune tire pressure for a perfect ride.