Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Boise Bike Scene Snap Assessment

But first, this:

Tonight, like most, we cruised Manito, you should recognize the backdrop. But something was different . . .

No mention of what the risk actually is, but apparently from a liability standpoint, the sign somehow covers it. We're both risk-takers, so we proceeded. I have to say that I do feel a little dumber, but it's hard to tell if it's the pesticides or the beer. Whatever, we had a great time. Hope they kill whatever they're trying to kill.

Anyway, on to the headline story.

I had to dash down to Boise today, on business. Between the end of business and my flight home, I ended up with a little time on my hands, so I did what any self-respecting bike freak would do and assessed the state of cyling in Boise. My conclusion: "Build it and they won't come." or maybe they will. eventually. hopefully.

Translation? Boise has amazing bike infrastructure, but nobody's using it. Well, not nobody, but not near enough.

How did I arrive at my lame, unscientific conclusion?

I started off by googling boise bike shops and the one that was by far the most interesting to me was Velomech.

So I dropped in and as it turns out, it's a small shop in a business park, away from the downtown core.

Super-cool, performance-oriented shop. (Sorry, but no pics from inside. It would have been screamin intrusive.) But it's a one-man operation (Alan) who has lived a buncha places, so has good perspective, and does really good work and has carved out a bike niche in what must be a hard place to carve a bike niche in. I told him I was from spo and in town for the day and he filled me in on what was going on with mtb racing, road racing, commuting, and bike activism in B-town. He told me some really interesting stuff that is way too long for this post, but the major impact he made with me was when he said that he doesn't think there exists yet a sub-culture of transportation cyclists . . . that most of those commuting are cycling sport enthusiasts that commute on the side. Super interesting, and it resonated with what I saw afterwards.

The burbs are sprawly and mall-y and I didn't see much bike-action but I knew there had to be a cool core and then I hit it.

Infrastructure up the butt, lotsa parked bikes, coolest sidewalks anywhere, but hardly anyone riding. And of the few that were, most were on the sidewalk. It was weird. And yeah, I know, it was mid-day Tuesday. But still. It wasn't right.

So yup, I spent a coupla hours, in a car, formulating an opinion on the cycling culture in a city I don't know jack about. If you know the town, that should give you all the ammunition you need to blast me to smitherenes.

All that said. I came away with a strong sense that there's way more to the Boise Bike Scene than meets the eye and I love being part of shit that hasn't caught on yet or is in the process of catching on, and that's probably why I would dig spending some more time there and checking it out.

But talk is cheap, this pic pretty much says it all . . .

And I came up short on how to work in this flippin cool pic of the capital building so I'm just gonna park it here at the end.

1 comment:

Hank said...

My sister and her family have lived in Boise for several years now. They ride/commute all the time and every time I'm down there I see all kinds of people riding. Um, maybe the word got out that you were driving a car and only the most daring dared?

Nice pic of the capitol building.