5th Annual Bike Shorts Premieres at the Grandin Theatre, Headlines New Grandin Film Festival

Establishing a new partnership continuing their respective focus on supporting local artists and culture, RIDE Solutions and the Grandin Theatre are excited to announce that the Bike Shorts Film Festival will now premiere at the iconic cinema house in Roanoke’s Grandin Village on Friday, May 1st, 2015.

more

City reschedules bike rack unveiling in Grandin Village

Roanoke, VA — The City of Roanoke announces the rescheduled unveiling of an artistic bike rack on Friday, July 1, at 10:30 a.m. in the 1300 block of Grandin Road. This bike rack is the latest addition to the city’s public art collection, and is co-sponsored by RIDE Solutions, the sustainable transportation service of the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission.

A Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued in late 2010 for artists to submit designs for a one-of-a-kind bike rack. Twenty-nine artists responded, and a selection panel made up of citizens, a RIDE Solutions representative, a local artist, and bike enthusiasts unanimously chose the work of Popup Design. Principal artists Joshua Howell and Kagan Taylor bring together backgrounds in public art, architecture, and fine woodworking. Their work can be seen in California, Washington state, and China. Taylor says their design “provides a whimsical play on the standard undulating wave rack by turning it into another familiar object.”

Jeremy Holmes, director of RIDE Solutions and a member of the panel, stated, “This project emphasizes the links between the Valley’s growing bicycle culture and the region’s already vital arts and cultural community. Not only does the rack serve as a unique work of public art, but also as an important piece of bike infrastructure by providing safe, secure parking for cyclists. We believe the installation in Grandin Village is particularly appropriate as the Village is a model for sustainable design, and we’re happy to reinforce its reputation as a fun and welcoming destination for cyclists of all ages and skill levels.”

In May 2010, the City of Roanoke announced its designation as a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. Roanoke’s Public Art program has supported the city’s commitment to the cycling community by incorporating a number of custom-designed bike racks into its program of work.

City of Roanoke Arts and Culture Coordinator Susan Jennings said, “The newly extended greenway through Vic Thomas Park and the bike lanes on Memorial Avenue allow for easy access for bikers to Grandin Village. We needed a space with sidewalks wide enough to accommodate the art and wanted a location with a lot of activity so we could encourage people to use bicycles to do their shopping, eat out, and attend events. Grandin Village offers all of this in a compact area.”

For more information about the bike rack dedication, or about the city’s Public Art program, contact Susan Jennings at 540-853-5652 or Susan.Jennings@roanokeva.gov. For information about cycling as alternative transportation, contact Jeremy Holmes at 540-342-9393, or visit the RIDE Solutions website at http://ridesolutions.org

Plenty of Bikes at Earth Day

The RIDE Solutions tent was surrounded by bikes all day long

Saturday’s Earth Day event at the Grandin Village was probably the best event they’ve put on – the Village was packed with people, so much so that I was busy even before I had finished setting up my tent.  You couldn’t have asked for better weather, and the variety of vendors was impressive.  The addition of live music added to the festival atmosphere.  We were located at the rear of the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op and had a ton of traffic throughout the day and introduced a lot of new people to the benefits of transportation demand management.

I need to offer special thanks to James Rosar, Lawrence Garland, and Steve Stinson for their help with the Bike Ready free tune-up event.  They fixed up 20+ bikes in two hours: oiled chains, checked brakes, pumped tires, and got some happy cyclists safely back into the road.

James and Lawrence getting Bike Ready

If you missed the event, you’ve got another chance:  Fix-Fest is taking place this Saturday at the Blacksburg Farmer’s Market, courtesy of Bike Barn, East Coasters, and Hokie Spokes.

This is all to get you ready for Bike Month in May.  If you haven’t checked out our event calendar, click the link ASAP – we’ve lined up a great slate of events and offers, everything from the ever-popular Casual Fridays biscuit deal at Tudor’s Biscuit World, to the Mayor’s Ride on the Roanoke River Greenway on Saturday, May 7.  We’ve got something for everyone, so there’s no excuse not to get out and ride.

Missing the Bus, Gaining some Time

Huwmanbeing | Wikimedia Commons

This past Saturday, I took my daughter down to the annual Grandin Village Children’s parade.  To avoid worrying about parking and to spend a little extra time with my girl, we took the bus.  It was very convenient in that we were dropped off almost in the middle of the village and walked a short distance to stake out a viewing spot, and we were there early enough for prime seating.  I had planned on a quick lunch and a bus ride home, but poor planning on my part, a busier lunch counter than expected, and a missed bus threw a wrench in my plans.  Well, it seemed to at first.

The whole experience got me thinking a little more about time.

The discussion of transportation choice often comes back to a discussion of convenience, at the heart of which lies questions of time.  More specifically, what we choose to do with our time, how we spend it, and if we spend it well.  Sometimes its a purely practical, calculable question – I want to spend less time getting to work, less time sitting in traffic, less time waiting for the bus, etc.  Most of the arguments for TDM activities take place in this realm – reducing transportation demand reduces congestion time, robust transit systems mean less waiting, improved bike accommodations means faster bicycle commutes on less dangerous roads, et cetera, et cetera.

There is a qualitative component to this argument that deserves more attention, though, as my missed bus on Saturday proved out.  First of all, it did take longer to get to and from the village on bus, what with the need to walk to the bus stop and transfer downtown.  Since this was a day out, however, and not a commute trip, I built that into my plan – the walk to and wait at the bus stop and the longer ride to the parade was part of the fun, time I got to spend with my daughter while someone else did all the work.  Quality time, as the cliche goes.  My daughter got to pick her seat on the bus.  We had a chance to talk about whatever happened to be interesting at the time, got to see parts of the city we normally don’t and do a little bit of exploring.  Penelope clearly enjoyed the experience more than sitting in her booster seat while I concentrated on driving.

I tried my best to work our parade-and-lunch schedule around the return of the bus.  We were having grilled cheese sandwiches and soda-fountain sodas at Pop’s when I saw the bus go by about 10 minutes earlier than I expected.  With Valley Metro headways, that meant another hour or so until it would come by again.  I was, at first, frustrated, being pretty much ready to go home and get started on some chores and other projects.  I was about to call my wife to come pick us up when I reconsidered.  Perhaps this was an opportunity to be a bit flexible, enjoy the day a bit more, take advantage of the unplanned extra time.

So we did.  Instead of chores and projects, Penelope and I leisurely finished our sandwiches and sodas, then walked along Memorial Avenue for a bit, simply enjoying the unseasonably warm weather and each other’s company.  A forgotten teddy bear brought us back to Pop’s, and thence to Viva la Cupcake for a sweet snack, and finally to Too Many Books, where Penelope picked out something to read on the ride home.  It ended up being a little extra time I got to spend with my daughter that I probably wouldn’t have taken advantage of.

There is enormous benefit in the convenience and mobility offered my our modern transportation options, but there’s also something to be said for being forced to slow down every once in a while, to indulge yourself in your community instead of just zipping through it.  Missing a bus could be an opportunity to simply take a walk or an impromptu picnic with a friend or loved one.  A leisurely bike commute might result in a brief detour through a new neighborhood or park.

Absolutely, time is precious and shouldn’t be wasted in unnecessary trips and long commutes.  But precisely because it is precious it’s worth examining how we spend it on transportation, and to recognize the trade-offs.  It’s entirely possible that missing the bus could be the best thing to happen to you today.