Connectivity in Columbus, GA

I just returned from an energizing, whirwind tour of Columbus, GA. It was my first visit to the city, and I was very impressed at their bicycle accomplishments. Columbus is well on its way to being a major bicycling destination in the state!

First, I met with Julio Portillo, a planner at the River Valley Regional Commission. He drove me around Columbus, showing off the city’s exciting, brand new, 11-mile rail-trail, the Fall Line Trace. This beautifully designed multi-use path connects Columbus State University, neighborhoods, and the very bike-ped friendly downtown business district with the equally impressive Colmbus Riverwalk, a 12-mile multi-use path that runs along the broad, picturesque Chattahoochee River. The Riverwalk leads to Fort Benning, where, I am told, area recreational cyclists can ride a safe, 100-mile, nearly traffic free loop! For many in Columbus, you can literally ride from your driveway to run errands, get in a pleasant family ride, or burn some serious calories and get in training miles. That’s connectivity!

Friday evening, I met with an enthusiastic group of local advocates in a private room over Ride On Bikes, a great bike shop and a strong supporter of bicycle advocacy in the area. Over dinner, we discussed the value of having a strong local advocacy organization and strategies for getting one started in the next few months. It was a committed, energetic group, and Columbus will surely boast one of the state’s strongest advocacy organizations in no time at all. To keep up with Columbus bike advocacy efforts, check out the Bicycle Columbus Georgia blog.

Saturday morning, I rode with an all-ages group of cyclists on the Riverwalk out to the Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center, where the RVRC was hosting a community bicycle festival and bike rodeo for kids. Free helmets were given out, people were testing out the bike racks on Colmbus city buses, and I spoke to the crowd about Georgia Bikes’ programs, accomplishments, and resources for local advocates. Too soon, I was back on the Riverwalk and then headed back to northeast Georgia.

My sincerest thanks to my generous hosts in Columbus. I was happily surprised at the great energy and truly impressive accomplishments for safe bicycling conditions in Columbus. I’m looking forward to my next visit, and to seeing the emergence of another strong local advocacy group in Georgia!

Holiday Biking Events to Take Over Savannah in December

Our first guest post! The following article is from Ms. Melinda Carter:

The holiday season is a great time for recreational activity here in the state, especially with tons of great biking events in Georgia going on throughout the month. Down in Savannah, there will be a great opportunity to take in some culture and bike riding with the 2nd Annual Bike 2 Beer Caroling Extravaganza and the Elf’n Yuletide Ride.

The event itself offers a bit of a different bike event for cycling enthusiasts. Some of the area’s passionate bike riders will take to the Savannah streets to carol holiday tunes throughout. Taking place in Ardsley Park on Monday, December 12, the event will kick off around 6pm. About an hour and a half of riding and caroling will wrap up at 730pm at the SBC International Headquarters for some closing festivities.

The ride will roll through five different parks in an hour and a half. The route will begin in Tiedemann Park and roll onto Guckenhaimer Park, Theus Park, Solomons Park and McCauley Park. This event will mark a great opportunity of blending holiday cheer and caroling, along with the love of bike riding, put on by the Savannah Bicycle Campaign.

The Savannah Bicycle Campaign will also host a full ride for interested participants with the Elf’n Yuletide Ride on Sunday, December 18 from 10am to noon. This 25 mile ride will begin in Orleans Square at 10am.

The Elf’n Yuletide Ride is an excellent opportunity for those in the area to enjoy a bike ride and make a difference in the community as well. A food and donation collection will take place before the ride for the Second Harvest, looking for canned goods and non perishables. The Second Harvest in Coastal Georgia serves not only to put an end to hunger, but also help raise awareness of those who are unable to have  homes or apartments in Savannah. The Savannah Bicycle Campaign is looking to improve on the 300 lbs of food that was collected for those in need at last year’s event.

The ride will be followed by an opportunity to take in some food, drink and company with other cyclists. In Orleans Square, riders will be able to enjoy sandwiches, appetizers, deserts and soft drinks. Attendees are also welcomed to whip up some desserts or appetizers of their own to join in the holiday spirit after the bike ride.

Any cycling enthusiast looking to take in some Christmas spirit along with biking this month’s would do well to attend either of the events put on by the Savannah Bicycle Campaign. Attending would not only serve to celebrate the holidays and go cycling, but also to help promote the awareness and strength of the biking community in Savannah.