Letter: Cycling can help community thrive
My experiences with bicycling have been rich and diverse. I grew up in a town where if you wanted to see friends, you needed to ride your bike.
In 2000 I rode my bicycle cross-country to start a nonprofit offering programs for cancer survivors. On that ride and beyond I watched bicycling bring people to places, physically and emotionally, they never thought they could get to.
For 30 years I have worked with disengaged youth, adults and organizations incorporating bicycling along the continuum of experiences: programs empowering people of all ages through cycling challenges and learning opportunities that recently include a community-integrated bicycle repair program at Concord High.
I lived in Portland, Ore., a city that has used bicycling as an economic and social catalyst. The physical infrastructure supports bicycling as a primary means of transportation and invites people to try something new, become more confident in choosing personal and global alternatives and connect to a larger vision and goal.
Practical things happen in places like Portland. New businesses are created; cycling groups, families and individuals identify establishments where they gather before and after rides; and people have a safer means of arriving at a place they could never reach before.
Communities work best when spaces and places are created where inclusion and healthy connections thrive. Concord has an opportunity to create that inclusive and thriving heartbeat through the Main Street process, providing an infrastructure that facilitates good economic activity and invites people to travel in ways that allows for healthy personal choice will encourage them to create social connections and linger.
A bicycle is an active vehicle for positive change in individuals and larger communities.