A few days ago I started to wonder what a cycling program in Fredericktown might look like. What would be helpful in this setting and for the citizens in this county? I made a few mental notes and then sent an email to the director of a local county health agency who I know. Here’s what I sent with some edits to make it a better blog post:
I hope you are doing well in the new year! I’ve got a project idea that I wanted to mention as I think it might fit well here, possibly a larger cooperative project with the county or city. In recent weeks I’ve been cycling again. I cycled for 10 years in Memphis until a knee injury. With e-bikes it’s now possible for people with joint problems to cycle with less stress on the knees, it’s fantastic. Anyway, as I’ve been cycling again I’ve also been watching and reading more about community cycling as it relates to individual and community health. For example, here’s a TED talk regarding just one such example
The more I read and watch I’m impressed by the potential in increasing health and happiness for people. Being in a small town we actually have very safe cycling built in by virtue of the fact that most of our town roads are low traffic, slow and safe. This is the basis for a safe cycling environment and we already have it!
A few additions, elements of encouragement that might go a long way in increasing people’s interest and awareness in cycling for fun, health and transport:
- A visible advocacy program
- Bike racks around town
- A marked route to City Lake and a walking/biking bath once there
These three would be a great start. The first two would be the least costly and easiest to get started I think. The last would be a fantastic addition to our community I think. It’s already fairly easy to cycle to city lake from town but there’s no path around the lake (that I’m aware of). That would be a fairly large investment/project but I think it would be an amazing asset to the community. A shame that we’re not currently taking advantage of such a nearby and beautiful lake.
Many of these are about city planning for cycling which we don’t really need to do. But I think they’re worth watching just because they really underscore the overall feeling of walking/cycling towns. These people seem so happy and healthy!
A few more helpful YouTube links.
Aside from the health benefits of course is the financial savings of cycling as transportation. Bikes can be great fun but they’re also viable transport for getting places, shopping, etc. I lived for years without a car and in much of Europe that’s also the case. I’d think that, given the general poverty of Madison County, that many would stand to benefit from bikes as transport if it were encouraged.
I’d be interested in volunteering to help get a project like this started.
I’m not sure what, if anything, might happen as a result. I did hear back from her today and she seems interested and is going to discuss it with relevant local agency staff at a meeting next week that I’ll be attending. I’m sure I’ll post something about it again if something moves forward. I’m looking forward to the possibilities.