Yesterday I had the awesome opportunity to attend the 94th running of the Indianapolis 500, billed as the greatest spectacle in racing. Being from out of town, and attending the race with some people that aren’t regular cyclists, the bikes were left at home which was extremely unfortunate. During the race almost every street around the Oval is closed and parking is at a premium. After parking miles away, it was a very long walk on what was officially the hottest race in history. What I would have done to have my bike with me to make that journey that much easier.
However, locals and those smart enough to bring a bike to the race were in for a treat. Located one block south of Gate 2 on Polco Street, the Speedway Trails Association was on hand to staff a free Pedal and Park bike check!Â This brilliant idea is being made possible in the Indianapolis area by a sponsorship from the Metropolitan Planning Organization. The idea is to take the worst parts out of using alternate transportation to major public events, and by doing so increase the amount of people who would consider it.
Read on, for more on this amazing idea!
Area Law Enforcement was even lending a hand by closingÂ West 10th Street from White River Parkway to Polco Street to Lynhurst Avenue to allow emergency vehicle access, and also allowing bicycles to use this route to get to the Pedal & Park corral. That meant easy travel from the Indy Greenways trail system from the east.
The idea is so good, I hope other cities are either already doing this, or will follow suit. Think about it, you don’t need to carry a lock with you, or worry about where to lock up your bike. On top of all that, the city is clearly behind you and you are in the company of a lot of other cyclists, some who wouldn’t be there without the comfort of knowing their bike is safe. Not everyone has a beater commuter bike, as was evidenced by the selection of bikes at the bike check,with everything from BMX bikes, to carbon road bikes, to mountain bikes and everything in between. Everyone was given a claim check so that you couldn’t just show up and claim someone else’s bike and this allowed for arriving and leaving to run as smoothly as possible.
Even more amazing? While everyone else was selling bottled water for $3.00 a bottle at the race – the Speedway Trails Association had a sign up for bottles of water for a $1.oo donation. Kudos to that.
If you live in the Indy area and want to take advantage of this service, then check out their 2010 schedule of events.