Last year, for our inaugural survey of Triangle cycling, or RIDE, we focused on extremes.
There was Rodney Hines, the Raleigh man known as "The No Hand King," who hopes to pop a continuous wheelie across the continental United States. And there was a cross-Triangle trek, a daylong journey from downtown Raleigh to Carrboro and back, completed amid the thick heat of a sweltering summer day. And there were cycling sports such as BMX competitions and cyclocross meets, which must have seemed intimidating to outsiders even when they were fascinated.
But that's not how most people bike; in fact, most people don't bike at all. A recent survey by the advocacy-and-research organization Breakaway Research Group found that only 14 million Americans, or just more than 4 percent of the population, bike more than twice a week.
The hope this year, then, is to show a few ways for more people to get off four wheels and onto two (or, in the case of one subject, three). We look at how some Triangle residents use their bikes every day to commute to work, sometimes with short jaunts down city greenways and sometimes through seemingly treacherous rural terrain, and the unexpected pleasures they get from the trip. There's a short compendium of advice for those new to bikes and a profile of one IBM employee who tries to put his commute to work to work by helping drivers be more mindful of non-motorized vehicles.
And then there's a cautionary tale of one area bike enthusiast accused of joining popular group rides just so he could choose which of their wheels to steal. He denies that claim but agrees that bike theft in the Triangle is a growing concern. So we end the second edition of RIDE with a look at new technologies and old ideas that, taken together, can help keep your bike in your possession longer.
Just remember to use it, because as any sample of Triangle cycling shows, there's a lot of ground to cover and so many ways to do it.