It was nice to meet the eight or 10 bicycle riders from the Kansas City area recently in the Corner Pharmacy.
It was nice to meet the eight or 10 bicycle riders from the Kansas City area recently in the Corner Pharmacy. They get together and ride out for lunch somewhere every Thursday. You might be surprised how often bicyclists form groups to ride from one town to another just to meet for lunch. A common ride is from Leavenworth to Tonganoxie, for example.
Another ride destination is Lawrence, although at about 40 miles, some will have a spouse or friends pick them up in Lawrence instead of bicycling back. Tonganoxie is a favorite because the roads are good for adult riders and the distance is about just right.
The long sight distances are really important so that motorized vehicle operators can see the bicyclists from a safe distance and move over and give them at least three feet as required by Kansas law.
It is really unfortunate that our roads do not have hard shoulders with no rumble strips so that families could enjoy the country, but experienced adult riders will have no problem with them. They may have a greater problem with specific vicious dogs that may attack them, but I have never had a mean driver try to run me off the road.
Generally speaking, I would not want to be responsible for organizing a group ride during extreme weather conditions, but as an individual bicyclist, I have often bicycle-commuted in some pretty harsh conditions. For example, the hot, dry summer could be dangerous for a person to attempt if they only ride on weekends, but for a commuter, it is really pretty easy to handle with the proper clothing and supplies.
Same goes for the winter, although the winter does present an additional problem with vehicle drivers who may or may not be able to see well through their windows, especially on frosty mornings or when heading into a rising sun.
The bicycles and equipment are just getting better all the time and that is allowing many more people, especially older adults like the ones that I met from Kansas City, to get out and ride more often. The new road bikes are finally going to disk brakes, which have distinct advantages over the rim brakes. They also have frame geometry designed specifically for adults to make it more comfortable to ride on a regular basis.
One reason that the riders enjoy stopping in to the Corner Pharmacy, of course, is the food and great service. It is also just a few doors from the only professional bike shop in the county. That makes downtown Leavenworth a destination for many bicyclists, even those from Kansas City.
I recommend that downtown Leavenworth businesses should entice bicycle riders from Kansas City to come into town to look around. Sure, a bicyclist is not going to buy any large items, but if they find something interesting, they may decide to drive back some afternoon to do some shopping. If nothing else, they are interested in riding over to get a lunch and sit awhile.
Downtown Leavenworth is a pretty good destination, even for bicyclists. In my opinion, the more the merrier. We already have the best bicycle shop in the county and it seems like a really good place for lunch for bicyclists. I'll bet that there are ways to attract a lot more bicycle riders from outside Leavenworth.
Matt Nowak lives in Lansing and works as a natural resources manager.