Friday, August 28, 2015

Photos of the Bike Culture in Amsterdam

My brother has been living in Germany for the last few months. Before that, he spent time in Australia and ventured over to New Zealand. Over the last year, he's had a first-hand experience of how different countries and communities support and promote biking. It's really opened his eyes and gave him a broader appreciation for biking as a means of transportation.

His recent adventures took him over to Amsterdam. He was kind enough to take some photos of bike-related sights to share what he saw.

His first encounter of the bike culture was at the airport. Here, the cell phone charging stations are human bike pedaling! That would be a great way to burn calories, channel any flying anxiety and have an eco-friendly supply of power. (Could we see this at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport anytime soon?)

This photo is an amazing shot bikes. This demonstrates not only the volume of bike riders in the area, the dedication of bike facilities/parking by the local government and how safe and secure people feel about leaving their bikes parked in an area like this. (What if there was some way to store bike parking like this at Clemson or Furman football games? Would students and locals change their habits to get to the game by bike?)

The next photo is a great example of the narrower streets in Amsterdam and in other European cities. One can understand how it would feel more comfortable to bike on a street like this rather than drive.  

And this final photo says it all. In the Upstate, don't we *heart* biking, too?!

If you've had any international biking experiences or photos, I'd love to hear about them in the comments below!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Riding the Doodle Trail

Have you had a chance to get out on the new Doodle Trail that runs between Pickens and Easley? Earlier this summer I had a chance to ride, and I wanted to share my experience.

I started from the Easley side of the trail. The City of Easley trailhead is on Fleetwood Drive near the intersection of Fleetwood Drive and West Main Street. Mama Mia’s restaurant, Palmetto Party Shop and a Speedy Mart gas stations are landmarks near the trailhead. I parked my car in the dirt parking lot behind Mama Mia’s, got situated and took off on the trail. (The Pickens trailhead is off of Railroad Street.)
Near the Easley Trailhead on Fleetwood Drive
There were some nice wayfinding signs at the Easley trailhead, too.

Within the first 5 minutes of riding, I was smiling. It felt so good to get on two wheels, and being only 20 minutes from home! The ride was smooth, inviting, flat and cool. Riding the trail, I took in many scenes of what living in the Upstate affords:  bucolic homesteads, suburban neighborhoods and old mill town communities. The trail also ran through lush fields and cool forest.  A good portion of the trail was tree-covered which is an important aspect of enjoying a trail in the hot summer months of the Upstate. There were a few older buildings that were remnants of a by-gone era, and their industrial architecture had me dreaming of future businesses-to-be for local entrepreneurs:  brew pubs and ice cream parlors, a grocery store and a deli specializing in the Upstate’s finest foods. Just a few ideas that come to mind!

View of the Blue Ridge Mountains from Doodle Trail
The look and feel of the trail – the trail aesthetic – was open and inviting. There trail is pretty flat. There are no steep or long hills to climb. It makes for a fast, smooth and pleasant ride for just about anyone. The flat nature of the trail would also make it great accessible path. I saw all ages on two wheels and two feet – young, old, families with kids and training wheels in tow, carbon fiber bikes, couples on fat-tire recreational bikes. Seeing such a diverse group of folks enjoying the trail warmed my heart, and gave me a good feeling that Pickens, Easley and the surrounding community was really going to enjoy and benefit from the trail.

Cool view of the Doodle Trail
If you’re looking to go, especially as the hot, summer weather starts to wind down, Google Maps has been updated to show the trail where the old railroad tracks used to be. Just search for "Doodle Line Trail." This makes the trail much easier to find. Go Google!

If you’ve been out riding, share your thoughts below!