Lancaster City Culture - On Two Wheels

Lancaster City Culture - On Two Wheels

Walking to a meeting a few days ago, I heard a rhythmic squeaking noise behind me, getting closer and closer. I turned to see a cyclist walking his bicycle along the street, one wheel creaking with each revolution. It was Craig Haggit, a reference librarian at the Lancaster Public Library on Duke Street. Craig told me that he lives in the city and bikes to work most days, but he’d hit a pothole that morning and gotten a flat tire. (clarification: no, that’s NOT Craig in this photo!)

“I can usually see the potholes and swerve to avoid them, but the sun was in my eyes this morning,” he explained.

We walked together for a few blocks and I asked how “bike-friendly” Lancaster city is, in his experience.

“Pretty good, for the most part,” he said. “Most drivers are considerate to us. Obviously, potholes are a problem,” he added with a laugh.

I asked what he thought would make the city even more bike-friendly.

“More places to lock your bike up around the city – more bike racks,” was his reply.

I asked whether the Duke St Library has a bike rack.

“I don’t honestly know – I lock my bike up in a nearby garage so I’ve never really looked to see if the library has a bike rack.” We reached the street where I had to turn to get to my meeting and said goodbye.

Since making cities bike-friendly can be a major environmental sustainability strategy, I wondered what’s being done here in Lancaster on that front, and what other cyclists have experienced trying to get around the city on two wheels. I decided to check it out – especially since my heel blister was getting pretty raw and there’s an unused bike (Hannah’s) sitting in our basement! Hmmm…

I connected with Mike Ridgeway, founder of the League of Lancaster Bicyclists (LLB). Mike is spearheading an effort through LLB to have various businesses, organizations and municipalities in Lancaster County (including Lancaster city) recognized as “Bicycle Friendly”, based on the “Six E’s of a Bicycle Friendly Community” (Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Evaluation & Planning, Enforcement, Equality) established by the League of American Bicyclists (LAB – yes, another acronym!)

Mike also organizes DreamRide events to benefit local charities.

In fact, in an interesting point of synchronicity, last week Mike held an event at Green Pedals, Ltd (more on them in the photo tour) to benefit a variety of charities, including United Disabilities Services, which was one of Ruth’s favorite charities!! (scroll down on this linked UDS page to see a picture of Ruth and one of the UDS service dog puppies!

The Bike/Pedestrian Advisory Committee (yup, BPAC) of the Lancaster County Planning Commission is working to improve both biking and walking all over the county. They’ve got a great downloadable biking MAP of the city.

Turns out the James Street Improvement District here in Lancaster just won an honorable mention through LAB’s National Bicycle Friendly Businesses program for their Bike Squad. I see the JSID’s red-shirted Bike Ambassadors riding around the city constantly, greeting visitors, checking in with residents and business owners, offering directions and advice on what to see and do in the city, picking up trash, reporting potholes and graffiti to appropriate authorities, and otherwise serving as the “eyes and ears” on the street to help make Lancaster City a great place to live. But hey, that’s their job – they HAVE to ride their bikes. What about OTHER kinds of biking in the city?

Well, you know how once you’re tuned in to something, it seems like it shows up everywhere? Suddenly, I was noticing bikes, riders and biking-related stuff in lots of places around Lancaster.

In fact, I didn’t have to look much further, initially, than my own street. Sitting out on the front porch, I saw the most incredible thing . . .
it was . . .
well, there’s no way to adequately describe it in words.

So I’ve put together a photo tour of what I saw from my front porch, as well as other biking-related stuff I’ve been noticing around the city. You can check it out at the link below.

But before you go there, Mike Ridgeway from LLB wants everyone to know that since last week’s “Bike to Work Week” was a total wash out – LLB is promoting a “RainDate Bike to Work Week”. Share your best commuting story with LLB on their Facebook page, and you could have a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to your favorite bike shop!

Now – about that photo tour . . .

QUESTION OF THE DAY:

Ridden a bike lately? If so, where? How “bike friendly” was the place where you were riding?

Posted by Melanie Tagged as: city life lancaster pa sustainability

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