Teri Vance: Seeing community from bicycle seat

Working with the Carson City Visitors Bureau for the past few years, I’ve been involved in many discussions about shaping the city’s vision of itself. A community who has fun together and works to create common goals is naturally more inviting to visitors.

This week, I had the opportunity to step out of the conference room and into the streets of Carson City to see that theory in practice during Bike Month events. Truthfully, I see it in action all the time, but I don’t always take the time to notice it.

When you’re riding a bike, there’s no way not to notice.

The first event was the Celebrity Bike Ride on Tuesday where about 30 local leaders joined volunteers from Muscle Powered for a ride through the west side of Carson City, led by Randy Gaa.

It was a nice way to introduce people to bike riding in a laid back group. The ride was, of course, beautiful, but I think one of the most interesting stretches was down Carson Street.

While it wasn’t the most visually pleasing part of the ride, it was really cool to ride down Main Street with the new bike lanes. What would have been a treacherous ride last year, was super easy and comfortable — cars and bikes existing in peace.

On Thursday, more than 100 people came together for the annual Cruiser Ride. It’s a slow-paced, easy ride through the west side. People dress up in costume — there were giant afro wigs, platform shoes and crazy hats and pants. One rider hooked a sound system up to a trailer he pulled behind his bike, providing music all along the way.

Again, Gaa led the ride. With 100 cyclists riding in a pack, we definitely made a spectacle going through town.

And that’s what really caught my attention.

Cars stopped and waited for the massive herd to pass. I didn’t see one motorist express any kind of frustration.

People waved and cheered as we passed. Some people took video with their phones. Children laughed with excitement. I kind of wished we’d brought some candy to toss out.

As people ran from their homes to cheer us on or wave from the windows, I realized what really makes this community great.

It’s true we have, and are creating an even better, network of trails that show off the high desert landscape we’re lucky to call home. We have a vibrant art and music scene. There are a variety of restaurants.

All of those things contribute, but what makes this community truly spectacular is the people who live here. People who are willing to organize bike rides. People who participate and people who cheer them on.

This week just reaffirmed to me we’re doing good things with a really awesome community.

Biking events are scheduled throughout the month, go to musclepowered.org for a complete list.

Teri Vance is a journalist, freelance writer and native Nevadan. Contact her with column ideas at terivance@rocketmail.com.


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