Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bike Columbus Festival

Still in the rest and recovery stages of my knee injury from running the Capital City Half Marathon just two months ago, I have been taking up biking to get my cardio fix! As I have posted before on the site, biking is therapeutic, and there are a number of biking trails that are perfect for a leisurely ride or to satisfy a fitness routine. However, there are also a growing number of biking events popping up across Ohio. Not ready yet for the massive challenge that is Pelotonia, I instead sought smaller biking events to get my feet wet for this new type of experience.

Lo and behold, a coworker informed me about the Bike Columbus Festival, which took place July 13-14, 2012. A number of biking events put on by Consider Biking and Columbus Outdoor Pursuits collectively make up the Bike Columbus Festival. I chose to ride in the Mayor's Twilight Ride (which has nothing to do with the vampire movies but everything to do with the fact it took place in the evening), a 10 mile ride through various neighborhoods in the capital city led by Mayor Michael Coleman on his bike. A 20-mile option also existed, but given that I was a bit rusty in my biking eperiences, I opted to ride the shorter, 10-mile ride with my friend Alex.

Photos by OHventures

The ride began at 7PM at Genoa Park, which is located by the Center Of Science & Industry (COSI) on the Scioto River. It was a gorgeous Friday evening with blue skies, a slight breeze, and a warm sunset. The Columbus skyline served as a beautiful backdrop to the kick off of the event. Because my old, ratty bike finally went caput just days before this event, my great pal Peter was kind enough to let me borrow his mountain bike for the occasion. Playing it safe and strapping on a helmet, I rode to Genoa Park from my home in Grandview, which in and of itself was 5 miles.

After a short speech given by Mayor Coleman, hundreds of enthusiastic bikers like myself and Alex were off pedaling! It was so cool to be led by Mayor Coleman and to know that he is so supportive of making Columbus a bike friendly city and a priority in his term as mayor. We rode east on Broad Street past the Statehouse and into Old Towne East. Police cars escorted our group so that we would not have to stop at all of the major intersections. This was a very nice touch to the event, but also not how a regular bike ride would play out.

We made a couple of turns off of Broad Street and soon found ourselves in an area of town I had never been before. Some of the homes and areas looked questionable, and not in the best of conditions. Nonetheless, we were greeted by cheering residents all along the streets. Soon, we made another couple of turns and were riding alongside the gorgeous mansions and residences of the affluent neighborhood of Bexley. We even rode by the Governor's Residence.

More turns took us to German Village, and again through other areas of town I had never known existed. My legs and bottom were starting to get sore (namely because the bike I was riding was not mine and not adjusted to my liking) so it was a good thing that the ride was coming to a close (and a good thing I did not choose the 20-mile option). The event ended at the Columbus Commons, where the Food Truck and Cart Festival was taking place. Conveniently, the festival had a bike corral by Yay Bikes which I gladly utilized.

My first biking event was a very pleasant experience. It was great exercise, allowed me to enjoy the great outdoors with friends, and educated me on biking. I also have now been bitten by the biking bug, and will be signing up for more rides in the future! If you know of any, let me know and we can become pedaling pals!

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