Monday, January 18, 2010

Great Bike Weather Minus Great Bike Infrastructure

We're back in the Raleigh-Durham area after celebrating my parents' 50th anniversary down in South Carolina. My sister Alison lives with her family in Cary, NC, a Raleigh bedroom community, and we are staying with them. Cary has a charming little downtown with some surrounding older residential street but is largely made of of suburban style neighborhoods with little in the way of connectedness - many deadend streets and cul de sacs, which lead to nowhere. A greenway allows for some measure of walkability and bikeability but it seems mostly regulated to recreation rather than an alternate method of getting somewhere. The main roads are very wide and given to speeding cars. I haven't noticed much in the way of bike commuting.

This morning Alison, her daughters and I went to Durham, home of Duke, the Harvard of the south, for breakfast at Elmo's (home of some really awesome pumpkin pancakes, BTW)and then to take a peek in Zola's a gallery that seems to stock mostly local and regional arts and crafts. Despite mild temperatures and sunny weather, few people seemed to be taking advantage of a great opportunity to bike commute, although we did see numerous bike locked to sign posts and the few bike racks. I didn't see many, if any bike lanes but the 9th Street neighborhood would be an ideal place to install some as a learning tool given its mix of residential, cafes, bars, restaurants and eclectic gallery and retail space. I'd be much more likely to stop and investigate an interesting looking establishment on my bike than in my car in which I'd need to search for a parking space.

I'm not sure what to call this three wheeled contraption. It's not really a trike . . .

I thought the bike locked up in front of Zola's presented a perfect picture. We spent about 40 minutes shopping at Zola's, where I picked up some wind chimes to enjoy on our front porch during warmer weather. These aluminum water bottles caught my eye, as well.

Other items of interest at Zola's.


bikeolounger said...

Expecting utility bike activity in the land of NASCAR might be a bit much... ;-)

Having read your blog for a while, and thinking I knew you from somewhere the whole time--you mentioned a couple times either here or in your comments on pedalaround that you lived in Louisville at some point...did you once live in the Cavalier?

CynthiaC54 said...

You were in my old stomping grounds! I'm a native of NC and lived for about 18 years in the "greater Raleigh area" - that is, in a little town about 14 miles east, good for not much except commuting to work. "Home" is in the western end of the state, where serious cyclists can join up for the annual "Tour de Tuck," a century ride that runs for a bit alongside the Tuckaseegee River and then quite a ways along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

I haven't ridden in the RDU area in probably 12 years, but it sounds like it hasn't changed much. And your description of Cary is perfect; like "North Raleigh" (the space that used to be farmland between Raleigh and Durham, back when there were farms there), it wasn't developed. It was subdivided.

Sometimes I get homesick, and then I think - "NAH!" Louisville's not perfect, but we do have Cherokee Park!

She Rides a Bike said...

yes, people can disparage Louisville all they want but it really has a lot going for it. I miss easy access to public transit (in the old City, that is), meeting friends a O'Shays for dinner and drinks, and of course the great running community. It has so much potential to be a solid bike commuting city as well. I hope whoever is elected Mayor next time around will have as much enthusiasm as Jerry for promoting biking.

Doohickie said...

That three-wheeled contraption is a Trikke.