We’re still recovering from yesterdays whirlwind of events (presentation at Nashville Bicycle Lounge, riding through a crazy storm, encountering a tipped over cow on the greenway, pajama jammy jam, etc.,). Laura and I talked about the presentation as we rode to our homestay and were thoroughly impressed with the crowd that showed up. For a town where most of the bicycle events are race or fitness oriented, we got a great turnout with people excited about bicycle travel and bicycle advocacy.
People began trickling in a few minutes before 5pm and by the time we started the presentation, there was a good crowd present with good energy. Yazoo, the local brewery, was kind enough to have some of their tasty beer preseent. Dan, the owner of Nashville Bicycle Lounge and ever vocal advocate, decided to do some fundraising at the event. He asked us to pick a charity and we chose World Bicycle Relief and he auctioned off the privilege of sitting in a big cushy chair in the front row to the highest bidder. Rich, one of our awesome blog readers and homestay host, stepped up to the plate and won the bidding. Thanks Rich!
As luck would have it, there were two other tourists at the presentation who were RIDING for World Bicycle Relief.
The presentation went well with a lot of enthusiasm from the crowd. The issue of bicycle advocacy came up a few times during the Q&A portion and we shared what we had seen in other cities and how they could apply to Nashville.
Having ridden around Nashville the last few weeks, we feel that it has all the potential of becoming a Portland or an Austin. It has all the disparate elements of a great bicycling city, an awesome greenway, access to a world class parkway at its doorstep (the Natchez Trace), a dense downtown and developing unique neighborhoods and a plethora of bicycle shops. Despite all this, there isn’t a sense of a real palpable UNIFIED bike community quite yet. There are certainly lots of folks riding bikes within their own spheres but there is no website or organization that has successfully unified all the voices. There is no BikePortland, TucsonVelo or AustinonTwoWheels that actively reports on bike events, bike news and bike issues that span beyond racing. There is no website that reports on new city projects (good and bad), on how people can get involved in advocacy, on bicycles as transportation, on bicycle friendly businesses. In short, there is a latent mass of cyclists that is still rather voiceless.
Despite this, we feel Nashville is near that critical mass. After our presentation, we were excited to hear that several attendees talked to Dan afterwards interested in future bike advocacy projects. Could Nashville be the Fort Worth of Tennessee – a city just waiting for the right elements to align before exploding with bikeyness? We hope so. Just as Trinity Bicycles in Fort Worth has become ground zero for bike commuting and touring in Fort Worth, we hope Nashville Bicycle Lounge will do the same for Nashville.
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