It may be the farthest thing from your mind right now, but there will come a day when streets are going to be lined up on both sides with bicycles. Plans are being made now for all the bicycle commuters that will once again fill the streets of Reno once the weather gets warmer, and the way bike advocates are talking, come spring we'll see more bikes than ever. Tour de Nez outreach executive director Tim Healion told us the reason: "Because it's easier. There's a lot of information out there and benefits to health."
For Tim, it's a 3-decade long passion…turning Reno into a 2-wheeled community. It was tough at first. Years ago, he told us "There just weren't bike lanes, you know? And so it was more of a war zone. It was you against the big monster vehicles."
At College Cyclery, Reno's oldest bike shop, Ed Jensen remembers that too. He's been biking here since his paperboy days. He said back then, "Bikes were still a kids mode of transportation at that point. And that's what's changed. 15 years ago, adults...all us baby boomers started getting back into it again."
Today, Ed spends winter putting together the hundreds of bikes they'll sell come Spring. Inside College Cyclery, the bikes are all lined up on the showroom floor, all waiting to fill Reno's streets for what they predict will be a banner bike year…the biggest 2-wheeled turnout yet. Ed says the surge came, "Probably in the last 3 or 4 years. More has happened in this community bicycle-wise to improve the infrastructure than maybe the last 20 or 30."
This year, a winter-heads up for a spring of road-sharing, with more bike lanes than ever. A new one on Plumas between Plumb and Moana was striped 4 months ago, and is now ready for its first season of riders. Which street is next? Tim has east 4th in his sights.
"Drop it down to 2 lanes and stripe it, as opposed to 4 lanes and have no shoulders...so that's the target right now."
What would be bike utopia for Reno? Ed points to Portland Oregon. He said when he was there, he witnessed "Places and times where you'll have more bicycles on streets than automobiles. I think the more bicycles we get on the road, the better quality of life we have in this town."
Tonight (Thursday), all bicycle enthusiasts are invited to a regional bike summit taking place at UNR, to network, share ideas, and get a sneak peak at this summer's Tour de Nez. It starts at 6:30 and goes until 9:00 inside the Joe Crowley Student Union. All bike riders, clubs, race teams and shops are invited to attend to work together in building a more bike-friendly community in Reno. The event is presented by Tour de Nez Outreach.