Friday, June 3, 2016

Slow Ride Virginia Beach

One of my favorite things to do with my family is biking at the Oceanfront of Virginia Beach.  One of the coolest things we have in Virginia Beach is the beach.  We are pretty fortunate that our city has built and promote biking and walking facilities throughout the city.  We have the Oceanfront Boardwalk and bike lanes, trolley lanes, miles of multi-use paths and soft surface trails in many of our great state and national parks.

But the one thing we don't have is a community outlet for average bikers.  Yes, we do have a ton of spandex riding groups who ride from Fat Frogs and Conte's but we don't have an outlet for the average biker.  The average biker isn't road biking fifty miles.  The average biker is taking their kids to the park, for ice cream, or just for a nice ride at the oceanfront.  The average biker is a me, my wife and kids.

As an "active" transportation planner of seven years (Bike and Pedestrian Planning) I have learned that there really isn't any push by the average biker.  For instance I work for the City of Chesapeake.  Our Bike Month events were either Road Bike events or school bike rodeos.  In Virginia Beach they had Bike to Work events, Road Bike events but nothing really for the average person.  The City of Norfolk had several events and have had great success with their events.  But how can I change this?  Do I plea to the City Council of my employer or the city I live in?  Do I go to every bike store and plea for the average biker?  I don't know. Until now.......

After I moved away from Detroit, I watched something happen that was pretty cool.  It was called Slow Roll Detroit.  It is basically the idea I am looking for.  It is a community based bike event that is free, fun, and slow.  Anyone with a bike can show up and ride.   I would watch Slow Roll Detroit grow via Social Media and it was beautiful.  Seeing thousands of citizens coming together riding through places that some would seem dangerous or unsafe and at the same time promote a healthy lifestyle and community engagement.  With numbers comes safety.  So the more you have the safer it is.  A vehicle is more likely to yield in the face of multiple bikes versus a single bike.

I was sad Slow Roll Detroit starting only after I left Michigan.  before I lost weight, I never thought I would enjoy biking as much as I do now.  But now my family probably bikes 3-4 times a week when its nice out.  Even if its a short ride around the block.

So because I can't attend Slow Roll Detroit, I decided I needed to find something similar.  I looked and looked and looked.  Nothing came up.  So I decided I should try to start something.  Why not, right?

So I contacted my social media little sister, The Fit Petite, and we texted back and forth and she loved the idea.  It was simple.  Pick a start and end point, pick a watering hole, and post it on social media.

So I did and out of that came Slow Ride Virginia Beach.  Our first ride will be June 27 starting from the Virginia Beach Convention Center and end at Back Bay Brewing Co.  We will ride off at 6:45 and ride about 7 miles.  It will be a safe and slow pace so all can participate.

At first I was scared to do it but I would regret it if I didn't try.  Worst case scenario, a few of my friends show up, we go for a ride and have a few beers after.  best case, I start a revolution.  Hopefully a revolution of promoting bike safety, healthy lifestyles and local businesses.

So come join me on June 27.

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