Bob Lowe wrote an article about cycling (aka Riding A Bike) in the Sunday News & Record. He sent us a copy along with Ryan Shell’s Video that gives you a video perspective of different roads in Greensboro.
Cycling in Greensboro can be hazardous
Sunday, July 19, 2009
I had always wanted to ride my bicycle to work and this summer I made it happen. I live in the Adams Farm area and work on the edge of downtown Greensboro.
I’d had some trepidation, since the Triad is not the best place for cyclists.
The first bump in the road (excuse the pun) occurred on High Point Road. Your options are:
– To ride the curb (not enough space).
– To use the road (a very bad idea, given the two-lane traffic).
– To go off-road/shoulder (acceptable only because I own a mountain bike).
Greensboro was a finalist for the bicycling Hall of Fame. But I’d guess that if Hall officials saw this major connector between High Point and Greensboro in Sedgefield on their site visit, it likely killed the deal.
On another attempt, I used the bike trails in Adams Farm to give Hilltop Road a try. Hilltop is a very good example of many of our area’s roads. There was a stretch of about one-half a mile where I had to trust motorists to pass me on the left on this four-lane street, which is not a comforting thought. The shoulder is rideable at times, then gets too narrow. The sidewalks work for a while, then suddenly disappear, just before I reach High Point Road.
This part of High Point Road is navigable but also has its warts. I rode the sidewalk on the north side. Once again, my mountain bike came in handy. Its shock absorbers made passing the various driveways more tolerable. One other hazard: Bicyclists also must yield to vehicles exiting businesses via the driveways.
Next I made a left on Holden Road, which was a pleasant surprise. There’s a full stretch of sidewalk on its east side. This took me all the way to Spring Garden Street for a rarity in the Gate City: a bike lane. I cruised comfortably, reminiscing how easy bike travel is in my home state of California.
Yet the lane ends after UNCG before it picks up again.
Near the end of my commute, side streets are an easy entry to my office at Greensboro College.
The good news: I’ve made it safely. Also, the 20-mile round trip has helped me get fit and lose weight. And it kept another car off the road.
As for the lack of friendliness by drivers toward cycling, it seems to come in, well, cycles. When gas prices go up, more folks choose bike travel, but danger increases, too. An Alamance County biker recently lost his life on the street. Let’s hope we don’t need something like this to spur change.
Perhaps our leaders look at bicycling as recreation rather than transportation. Is that why more bike lanes haven’t been built?
Regardless, the Triad deserves better. Current bike lanes need to connect to other trails or reasonably safe streets. Additionally, elected officials must address why one cannot ride safely between Guilford County’s two biggest cities, High Point and Greensboro.
Federal stimulus money is being spent locally on less worthy projects, yet some improvements could be inexpensive. Adding paint for bike lanes on some roads and extending sidewalks on other streets are mandatory steps that should be happening now.
When not risking his life with death-defying acts like bicycling in the Triad, Bob Lowe serves as the sports information director at Greensboro College.
-Bob Lowe, sports information director
You Belong Here!
815 West Market Street
Greensboro, NC 27401
800.346.8226, ext. 279
-Chair, CoSIDA Computer/Technology Committee
-Treasurer, North Carolina Sports Information Association (NCCSIA.org)