History Ride A Success

The Bike Springfield 2009 Historical Urban Bike Tour drew a good crowd of riders of all skill levels today, including a few children. I estimate there were just about 50 participants. The ride covered about six miles in the downtown area and included stops for talks by Springfield History Museum docents.

One of the stops was the Court House where we learned that there are very obvious reasons for the names of several important downtown streets — St. Louis, Boonville, and College. Care to guess? 🙂

Another history stop along Commercial Street. That’s one of the many nice U-racks there — plenty of excellent parking for bicyclists.

Hmmmm… they aren’t in the bicycle lane along Boonville. That could be because that particular stretch of Springfield’s bicycling infrastructure is a bit of a problem — placed too closely to parked cars IMO. But there were no parked cars on this Saturday morning, so their lane positioning might have something to do with the fact that I am standing in the lane to get the shot 🙂

The story of Wild Bill Hickok’s shoot-out on the square keeps the participants riveted.

The route followed Springfield’s well-marked bicycle route system.

This smiling fellow is Tracy Wilkins, who writes Tracy Wilkins’ Cycling Weblog. He offers a lot of information and commentary about longer-distance commuting. We rode part of the way home together. My house is on his usual route home.

While I was signed up to be a group leader, there were plenty of riders there more experienced at such things than I am, so I did a little interference runnng in the larger intersections and took pictures. I’m really used to riding alone or in groups no larger than three.

I’ll end this with another plug for the new utility bicycling booklet — Drive Less, Live More —  which will debut on Friday 1 May at the First Friday Art Walk downtown. Stop by and get a copy!

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Comments 5

  1. Kevin Love wrote:

    What is with all the helmets? Were you doing trick jumping along the way?

    Posted 25 Apr 2009 at 6:45 pm
  2. Andy Cline wrote:

    Kevin… Helmets were required by the ride sponsors.

    Posted 25 Apr 2009 at 10:35 pm
  3. Kevin Love wrote:

    And why would the sponsors do such a thing? I thought that this was a ride to explain local history. Doesn’t seem like an extreme activity to me. Yet when I look at the photos, what leaps out at me is “this is a group kitted out for trick jumping or some other extreme activity.”

    I was just left with a feeling that “there is something going on here that was not explained in the text.”

    Posted 26 Apr 2009 at 4:35 am
  4. Andy Cline wrote:

    Kevin… Since some of the people who sponsored this event also read this blog, I’ll let them answer if they choose to do so. I cannot speak for them.

    Posted 26 Apr 2009 at 7:10 am
  5. Coy wrote:

    Kevin, et al: In the U.S. and at least in our neck of the woods, we encourage everyone to wear a helmet. If we want kids to wear helmets, then adults must set the example by wearing a helmet themselves. We try to stress to kids from day one, if you don’t wear a helmet, you don’t get to ride on a bike.

    I don’t know of this happening here, but I heard somewhere recently (from Andy at Bike Springfield???) that at some event, even if you were off your bike and pushing it in the proximity of the bicycling event … you were expected to be wearing a helmet or you were asked to leave.

    For several years I have been asked to help two local organizations with helmet give-away programs for kids: The Traffic Safety Alliance and Safe Kids (currently affiliated with St. John’s Mercy Hospitals Trauma Services).

    A large portion of these have been in Webster County (East of Springfield), where for several years hundreds of helmets have been given to every third grade kid (I’m guessing 7, 8, 9 year old kids?) in the county. We fit the helmets to the individual kids (or they don’t get one) and inconspicuously write their names on it. It is helpful to have developed some skill at helmet fitting, when you are fitting a large number of kids at one time … not all that hard to learn.

    We will begin this year’s program this Friday. I just love having the opportunity to meet the kids and talk to them about bicycling safety and being involved in the helmet fitting. I think this program is primarily supported by Webster Electric Company in Webster County.

    I just saw a report from New York City. If I remember correctly, in over 200 bicycling fatalities over around ten years, only 3% were wearing helmets and in over 85% of car/bicycle crashes, helmets were credited with helping to save lives and limit injuries.

    I know helmets do NOT prevent crashes. But, I can tell you from personal experience they help protect from injury when things have gone wrong.

    Posted 28 Apr 2009 at 1:22 pm