Local Government

Mayor's Bike Ride a chance for 'happy' bike policy input

Event explores trails, reminds motorists to share the road

Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett speaks before the annual Mayors’ Bike Ride in downtown Cedar Rapids, which started in Ellis Park, on Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. The free ride is organized by the Linn County Trails Association and offers opportunities to talk with local elected officials. Riders can choose between an 8.5-mile and a 2.5-mile course. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett speaks before the annual Mayors’ Bike Ride in downtown Cedar Rapids, which started in Ellis Park, on Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. The free ride is organized by the Linn County Trails Association and offers opportunities to talk with local elected officials. Riders can choose between an 8.5-mile and a 2.5-mile course. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — As they unloaded their bikes at Ellis Park Monday, Dick and Kim Pierson of Cedar Rapids weren’t checking out other bikes so much as what riders were wearing.

Bicycling has become part of their exercise routine, but they haven’t adopted bicycling fashion.

“I’m hoping not everyone is wearing padded Spandex bike shorts,” Dick said.

He had nothing to worry about as fashion — or lack of — was as varied as the makes and models of bikes and the ages of their riders at the 10th Annual Mayors’ Bike Ride.

About 365 people of all ages participated in what has become a Cedar Rapids Labor Day Tradition hosted by the Linn County Trails Association to showcase the continued need and development of bike lanes and trails.

In addition to being educational, the ride is meant to be recreational and plenty of families appeared to be taking advantage of the ride — and weather — to participate.

“It’s a really nice ride,” said Gary Van Middlesworth of Cedar Rapids as he and three generations of his family saddled up. “We do it every year. It’s a way to see the town and the new trails and markings.”

It’s also an opportunity to thank elected officials for adopting “share the road” policies, said Paul Fiegen of the trails association.

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“We have our elected officials riding right next to you so let them know how important the trails and bike lanes are to you,” the Cedar Rapids bicyclist said at the start of the ride.

During the ride, he said, mayors, city council members and legislators hear from people who are happy with additional bike lanes and trails. Too often at their meetings and forums they hear from people unhappy with those improvements.

Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett, who has participated every year since taking office, encouraged riders to thank those elected officials for opening trail system and opening road system to “shared opportunities.” In Cedar Rapids, he added, there will be more bike lanes as part of the city’s Paving for Progress project.

“Not everyone supports bike lanes,” he said earlier. “People complain and we get pushback all the time.

“This event is a great way to remind motorists to share the road and to remind bicyclist they have a responsibility to obey traffic laws,” he said.

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