Sunday, June 1, 2008

Raleigh: The next cycling mecca?

I did a club ride today with one of two Gyro groups riding in North Raleigh. During the ride, we passed at least a half-dozen packs of cyclists, and saw dozens of cyclists riding solo or in groups of two or three. I estimate we saw more than 100 riders, the most ever in North Raleigh.

Yes, it's the high season for cycling but the sport is gaining serious momentum in this area. There are several factors at work here:
  • Several strong clubs, including NCBC and the Gyros;
  • Exceptional rural riding within 10 miles of NoRal;
  • Weather conducive to year-round cycling;
  • Several good bike shops, including (in no particular order) All Star, CycleLogic, Bike Chain, Spin Cycle, Cycling Spoken Here, Flythe, Trek of NoRal, Clean Machine, as well as chains such as REI and Performance;
  • An active randonneuring community;
  • Strong bike/ped advocacy through CAMPO and other regional organizations;
  • Advocacy and education spokespersons like Bruce Rosar and Steve Goodridge;
  • Advocacy groups like the NC Active Transportation Alliance.
  • Elected officials like Debra Ross with an interest in cycling;
  • Other advocates running for office, including Josh Stein, who have expressed support for alternative transportation;
  • A well-developed trail and greenway system, as well as a rails to trails segment;
  • The support of the local media, including columns by Joe Miller and the recent cycling special issue by the Independent.

    It's easy to focus on the negatives of cycling in the wake of a couple widely publicized injuries or deaths. But as you can see, there is quite a bit of positive energy.

    A mecca? Not yet, but we're heading in the right direction.

    Jason said...

    The Raleigh area indeed has many fine bike shops - including all that you mention and a MAJOR ONE that you didn't: Spin Cycle!! Just a fabulous group of people - I am biased as I live a mile from them and see them on a regular basis.


    Mike Dayton said...

    Jason, thanks for catching that. I've added them to the list.