There’s been a ton of buzz around biking in Charlotte (and globally) recently. Here and here and here and here are just a few examples. I’m all for more bikes. There are just too many civic and individual benefits to be anti-bike. But I think that any shift to make Charlotte more bike-friendly is going to have to come about as a result of the biking community’s influence on city decision-makers. For this to happen, that community is likely going to need to grow and strengthen, and this starts at the neighborhood level.
In my opinion, one of the coolest things in Charlotte is the Plaza Midwood Tuesday Night Ride. I’m a fan because it’s quirky and unexpected, and exactly the type of thing that thriving, interesting places to live have all the time. But it’s not the only ride in town. There are a variety of rides each month in all sorts of neighborhoods. Here are a few resources to check out if you’re interested in learning more about similar rides, or just the Charlotte biking community in general:
Charlotte Spokes People (CSP)
First of all, this is one of the coolest logos in all of Charlotte. I want a shirt just based on the logo. Did you notice the gear at the top of the crown? Subtle and awesome. Anyway, this is a great place to start familiarizing yourself with the Charlotte biking community. CSP is “the umbrella organization” for a number of rides in town as well as BikeFest and the Charlotte Bicycle Benefits program. The site has a calendar of upcoming rides, as well as some detail about many of the recurring rides that isn’t available on the other sites, in case you’re choosing which ride to try out. They’ve also got links to a ton of other biking-related resources and programs that they’re involved with in the community. Definitely check them out.
In addition to being a full-blown bike shop with locations in Uptown and South End, Queen City Bicycles/South Park Cycles is a great resource for area rides. They’ve got a very active Facebook page (link above) that lists upcoming rides and events, plus I dig the mannequin decked out in cycling gear in the picture. I feel like he’d be a pretty cool dude if he came to life, always riding his bike to various breweries and whatnot. But I digress.
This site does a great job of aggregating area rides and allowing you to pick the right one for you with codes to indicate skill level, as well as terrain and the type of crowd you can expect (i.e. the Plaza Midwood ride is a “Social Ride”). Check out the Weekly Rides tab and then choose a night of the week for a list of rides. This site has a little something for all skill and interest levels.
Also a bike shop based in the University City area, the Bike Line website features a number of rides on their site. This list is super comprehensive and covers a ton of geography, with rides from Fort Mill to Winston Salem to Sunset Beach. If you’re looking to see a different part of the state on your ten speed, this is probably your first stop as you begin planning.
Thanks to Bart Stetler at Queen City Bicycles for pointing me to a number of these resources.