Bike to School Day, May 9, dawned a cool clear morning and the sun sparkled in the shiny blue paint of my lovely bike as I pulled it out of the van. Now 10 days since our last ride in California, I've been feeling severe long-ride withdrawal, exaggerated by all the driving I've been doing. Stephanie and I took a couple of easy spins in Naperville over the weekend but I was looking forward to a full morning of riding on unknown roads.
I rolled out just as the sun was coming up over the cornfields, with time to cruise 20 miles to the first school - Immaculate Heart of Mary K-8 School (IHM) - before 8am morning assembly. My route took me past subdivisions for 10 miles and then hooked up with a rail trail for the remaining half. Not sure what to expect, I had a surprising treat in store for me. Freshly-paved shared-use paths lined the major roads past the subdivisions, and the Monon Trail was a gem - recognized as a rail trail hall of famer! Very few other users were out at that time of the morning so I was in bike heaven as I flew through lush forested parkland and past quaint neighborhoods, restaurants, and coffee shops. Even when I left the Monon at the northern end of downtown the streets were wide and easy to navigate. Who knew? Bike-friendly Indianapolis!
I arrived at IHM with 5 minutes to spare before the school-wide morning assembly, and was met by enthusiastic SRTS parent and champions Hilary Oberlies and Molly Noble. IHM was the winner of the Walk to School Challenge during the month of April between four area schools and was receiving the trophy that day as an award. I helped to present the trophy to Vice-Principal Ronda Schwarz (the Principal was away with the 8th graders on their Washington DC trip), and then spoke briefly to the students about our trip, emphasizing how lucky they were to live in a neighborhood with a community school and to be able to walk or ride their bikes to school.
|Awarding the Walk Challenge trophy to IHM Vice-Principal Ronda Schwarz and Hilary Oberlies
|Me and Taylor Oberlies, 4th grader at IHM
|National Bike to School Day train to CFI
|Bike to School train #2
|Morning assembly at CFI Public School 84
I had breakfast with Kathy and her husband Kevin, executive director of the local bike advocacy group INDYCOG, following the assembly at CFI, and was able to hear more about what's happening in Indianapolis for bicycling. I really was impressed by the bike friendliness of the parts of the city I experienced, and I hope to have another chance to come back and ride in the area. Thanks Kathy and Kevin for allowing me to participate in your National Bike to School Day events, and for making me feel so welcome in the city!
It was especially lucky that my visit to the Indianapolis area and to my Aunt Debra's house coincided with a visit by her mom, my Great Aunt Charlene, who had already played host to our whole team in the Phoenix area. Debra and Charlene treated me like a queen, spoiling me with all the ice cream I could eat, dinner out, and kingly sleeping arrangements. It was very nice to see them - thank you to both of them for a really wonderful visit!