CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids City Council member is trying something new this month: a community bike ride in her district as a way to introduce people to its amenities and ways to get around by bike.
“There’s a sentiment that there’s not enough to do in Cedar Rapids, and people get segmented in their parts of town,” said Ashley Vanorny, the District 5 representative on the council. “We wanted to open this up to people to explore the area and learn to use the roadways in the district.”
Billed as Ride the Districts: Bike D5, the free event is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 14 with a tour of the southwest quadrant.
The hope is to make this an rotating annual excursion timed as a training ride just before RAGBRAI.
“The purpose of the ride is to show people all the different amenities in southwest Cedar Rapids,” said Brandon Whyte, the multimodal transportation planner for the Corridor Metropolitan Planning Organization who helped plan the event. “The hope is to highlight different districts over time.”
The 21-mile, moderately paced ride is slated to feature several stops and opportunities to learn about community amenities and programs. Participants also can get an introduction to how to use and find bike trails and bike lanes in a group setting.
Riders will meet at 9 a.m. at the McGrath Amphitheatre. There they will learn about the future of flood control on the west side of the Cedar River.
From there, riders will pedal to what organizers are billing as the “very scenic” Beverly Park, which is “dedicated to mountain biking but open to everyone.”
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Lunch at The Hotel at Kirkwood Center will be prepared by Kirkwood Community College chefs. Next up, according to the itinerary, is “a quick stop to check out one of Cedar Rapids’ best-kept secrets,” the Shack Tavern.
The day rounds out at the new Kingston Village establishment — Quinton’s Bar and Deli — for an after party.
Riders will be responsible for paying for food and drinks.
People are encouraged to check in for the ride by going to Facebook and searching “Ride the Districts.”
“We have gorgeous new bikeways and bike lanes, but they can be really intimidating if you don’t know all the rules and all the roads. So, this can be a good experience for all,” Vanorny said.
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