Tarrant the Tyrant: Indiana makes room for a growing cyclist community

The Daily News

DN PHOTO STEPHANIE TARRANT
DN PHOTO STEPHANIE TARRANT

Stephanie Tarrant is a senior photojournalism major and writes “Tarrant the Tyrant” for the Daily News. Her views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper. 


Four lane highways and interstates don’t necessarily define the Crossroads of America.  

 

Back in Northwest Indiana, learning to ride a bike was a staple in my childhood, but it wasn’t until my twenties I learned how to share the road on a carbon steel frame instead of relying on driving.


Ernest Hemingway said, “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.”


Unlike back home, Muncie has a growing bike community with designated lanes downtown, weekly group rides and a bike polo court behind Savage’s Alehouse. The camaraderie among others in the area is the most fulfilling and enjoyable part.


Different nights of the week, there’s a group that meets at night in the Village for “bike gang,” and for a few hours the sweat on my skin meets the cool air outside and I can relax. Without a headlight, I easily sense the boundaries of the path we’re riding on while I’m surrounded by a group of friends. The sound of their cranksets behind and beside me are the soundtrack to my favorite way of getting around. 


Fortunately, I live in a state that’s embracing and spreading cycling around like a contagion.


In 2006, an effort went through Indiana legislature to connect every Hoosier within 15 miles of a trail by 2016. Every year 250,000 people walk, run or ride the Cardinal Greenway, which extends Delaware Co. throughout central Indiana. 


Recreational use aside, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources plans for a statewide system of “interconnected arterials” for those trading in four tires for two. And in Indianapolis, there are currently 62 miles of bike lanes. SustainIndy, created in 2008 by Mayor Greg Ballard, hopes to see 200 miles in 12 years.


Indiana is the second least “green” state in the country. If riding a bike is something engrained in our muscle memory, why not find a way to work the childhood pastime into your daily routine? 


Consider replacing a vacation in your car this summer with an all-day bike route to the Dunes, West Lafayette or toward our bike-friendly state capital. 

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