Cool Commuting Idea: Pedal and Park at the Indy 500

Yesterday I had the awesome opportunity to attend the 94th running of the Indianapolis 500, billed as the greatest spectacle in racing. Being from out of town, and attending the race with some people that aren’t regular cyclists, the bikes were left at home which was extremely unfortunate. During the race almost every street around the Oval is closed and parking is at a premium. After parking miles away, it was a very long walk on what was officially the hottest race in history. What I would have done to have my bike with me to make that journey that much easier.

However, locals and those smart enough to bring a bike to the race were in for a treat. Located one block south of Gate 2 on Polco Street, the Speedway Trails Association was on hand to staff a free Pedal and Park bike check!  This brilliant idea is being made possible in the Indianapolis area by a sponsorship from the Metropolitan Planning Organization. The idea is to take the worst parts out of using alternate transportation to major public events, and by doing so increase the amount of people who would consider it.

Read on, for more on this amazing idea!

Area Law Enforcement was even lending a hand by closing  West 10th Street from White River Parkway to Polco Street to Lynhurst Avenue to allow emergency vehicle access, and also allowing bicycles to use this route to get to the Pedal & Park corral. That meant easy travel from the Indy Greenways trail system from the east.

The idea is so good, I hope other cities are either already doing this, or will follow suit. Think about it, you don’t need to carry a lock with you, or worry about where to lock up your bike. On top of all that, the city is clearly behind you and you are in the company of a lot of other cyclists, some who wouldn’t be there without the comfort of knowing their bike is safe. Not everyone has a beater commuter bike, as was evidenced by the selection of bikes at the bike check,with everything from BMX bikes, to carbon road bikes, to mountain bikes and everything in between. Everyone was given a claim check so that you couldn’t just show up and claim someone else’s bike and this allowed for arriving and leaving to run as smoothly as possible.

Even more amazing? While everyone else was selling bottled water for $3.00 a bottle at the race – the Speedway Trails Association had a sign up for bottles of water for a $1.oo donation. Kudos to that.

If you live in the Indy area and want to take advantage of this service, then check out their 2010 schedule of events.

Comments

tom mcCain - 05/31/10 - 4:17pm

Hey, Zach,

Thanks for the write-up about Pedal & Parl at the Indy 500! I’ve been trying to site a corral there for three years and the good folks with the Speedway Trails Association were kind enough to step up to the plate. Although I did not go to the race, I rode in to the corral that morning on 10th Street and it was smooth sailing.

Yes, there are bike parking programs in many cities now, some not-for-profit (like us), some quasi-governmental. Most, like us, are growing by leaps and bounds. For those who want to know more, we not only have a web site (http://pedalandpark.org/) where you can sign up for email updates, we now have a Facebook page as well and I’ll put us on Twitter soon.

Thanks again for the write-up!

. . / tom mcCain
Chairman, Pedal & Park

Smythe - 05/31/10 - 9:45pm

yeah… ride your bike to where 10 years worth of fossil fuels disappear every 10 minutes.
That should make you feel better.

Surely motor racing is the last true realm of the deadshit.
Especially this ‘velodrome style’ roundabout course.

If racing in cars is low, this style of racing is low for car racing… probably second lowest to NASCAR.

I wonder how many hot dogs were sold at that ‘brain convention’.

ZachOverholt - 05/31/10 - 11:24pm

@Smythe

Do some research before you post your smear campaign.
The IRL was the first motor sports organization to transition to renewable fuels employing use of E100 in 2007. E100 is billed as 100% ethanol, although the current mixture is 98% ethanol, to 2% gasoline. The additives satisfies the U.S. government’s demand that the alcohol be unfit for human consumption, and adds visible color in case of fire.

Not to mention Indy has given us inspiration for the Little 500, and the invention of the rear view mirror in 1911, and countless automobile safety and performance innovations.

Ivan - 06/01/10 - 5:25am

Let me just add something here.
I’m a brazilian and Brazil is the country that produces the largest ammount of ethanol. Ethanol has low emissions WHEN IT BURNS but it polutes A LOT when it’s produced. I used to live in a place near a sugar cane field (where ethanol comes from) and every season was a problem, because the sugar cane needs to be burned so the (almost slave) workers can cut it and earn their 10 dollars for a 10 hour day of hard work.
When they burn the fields, all the ashes come to town, all the city gets grey. It’s despicable.
After that, the transport of the fuel is done by Diesel trucks.

Ethanol is better than gasoline, but it’s still very far from perfection.

The guy above was pretty ruff on the car racing fans. I don’t like it and think it should slowly vanish but I don’t hate people who like it.

Still, people call it a sport…. i don’t see how driving a car can be called so…

ZachOverholt - 06/01/10 - 10:54am

Thanks Ivan,
I’m aware of the negatives of Ethanol, I was just pointing out that the fuel the Indy cars run on is NOT fossil fuel like Smythe said. I didn’t mean for this to get into a discussion about the virtues of Auto racing. The truth of the matter is that as one of the worlds largest one day sporting events, anything that can be done to decrease the amount of cars coming in or out of the area is a win as far as I’m concerned.

The focus should be placed on the organizations doing the right thing and providing safe and supportive infrastructure to the area cyclists.

drdirt - 06/02/10 - 3:28pm

I think the Pedal & Park is a great idea! The traffic around the track is terrible.
I attended a F1 race there one year and I parked my car a few miles away and biked to the track. Then I chained my bike to a fence. But the Pedal & Park is even better.
The track also has some nice infield parking for motorcycles.

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