INDIANAPOLIS — More people are showing an interest in commuting by bicycle to try and avoid sitting in their cars in construction traffic, according to Sylva Zhang, Communications Director and Community Outreach Coordinator for Bike Indianapolis.
“We’re seeing a lot more interest in people riding bikes and finding it a lot faster than driving a car right now,” Zhang said.
Lane Wolf, an avid cyclist, feels like right now his mode of transportation is a major advantage.
"I think everyone can agree whether you are a cyclist, or commuter via car or riding the bus even, the construction is really affecting everyone here in Indianapolis,” Wolf said. “It's a lot faster to get around Indy on a bike right now because you don't get stuck in that construction traffic."
Amanda Friesen lives in the Holy Cross neighborhood and bikes to work often, but normally would drive on hot days. She said right now, it’s not even worth it to try and use her car downtown.
"Even in this heat, I may drive in normal circumstances but it's just a mess."
Friesen said she is getting around a lot quicker by using her bike or even walking to her destinations.
"Every day, it's a different road that's closed and so because of all the one-ways, if you are in your car then you are having to re-route but on my bike. I can more easily adjust so I either walk or cycle these days,” she said.
While cars are stuck in backed-up traffic, bikes can be maneuvered around the orange cones and road closures more easily. Cyclists can also use the cultural trail or take bike lanes to avoid the busy streets altogether.
As more people are trying out bicycle commuting, the surge of interest is causing a backup at Bicycle Garage Indy's downtown location in City Market.
Right now, there is more than a month-long wait for a tune-up.
However, they're accepting walk-ins for a flat tire repair at any time.
Zhang said it’s exciting to see people wanting to use their bikes as their main source of transportation.
“They’re like, driving will take me 20 minutes, looks like biking will take me seven and I don’t have to worry about parking. The scales are starting to tip for people, and they see how accessible downtown is by bicycle,” Zhang said.
Bicycle parking was a concern for cyclists a few years ago, but that is now more accessible thanks to one cyclist's dedication.
Trent Taylor, who has been commuting to work via bicycle for more than 5 years, noticed that there were no bike racks listed on google maps. He took it upon himself to change that. Taylor has added 1,360 bike racks to google maps in Marion County
"I wanted to remove the obstacle of not knowing where to park,” Taylor said.
This has made it that much easier for new and experienced cyclists to map out their daily commutes and figure out the safest and best places to leave their bikes.
Wolf explained if you have been considering bike commuting, now is the best time to give it a try.
"The more people who start riding the more people we're going to see advocating for a better bike network which then just means more bike-ability across the entire city."
Along with bike tune-ups at their shop, Bike Indianapolis advocates for better bicycle infrastructure in the city. They also offer education to motorists to help keep drivers safe.
Most recently they’ve started a program where new bike commuters are paired with experienced bike commuters. This helps the new cyclist learn best practices and the safest routes to use.
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