Planning the Tour de PATH

Savannah's Bistro

In November, after reading in the local paper about the Kidical Mass event I organized, Stacy G. contacted me about assisting with a revival of the Tour de PATH. Somehow she felt I might like to see our one and only bicycling network finished during my lifetime. We both felt most of Huntington would love to see it completed and if anyone reading this has $8,000,000 to donate, RTI assures me they would have the entire 32 mile (I have read 60+/-miles elsewhere) system complete in 12 months. It has been nearly five years since the inception and at the current rate of grant income, disbursements, property acquisition, and prevailing wage hurdles associated with state and federal funds, it may be another 5 to 10 years before anything is complete. I caution to say this is not quoted information, simply the impression I was left with during meetings with powers that be.  Since I don’t know any multi-millionaire donors, I agreed to help organize the Tour as a community ride to demonstrate the usefulness of PATH and hope to raise funds and awareness.

Preparedness. Three headlights, greasy gloves, Brent's research tool (a.k.a. his anxiety reduction device).

Have you ever organized a massive community event? I haven’t. I did serve on a committee for a children’s festival in Buckhannon, WV, but my contributions were minimal. This event is involved. In order to make progress in setting up an event to raise funds for a project, you need funds. Is it the old adage of you spend money to make money? Somewhat.

We would all like to think everyone is freely giving of their money for a great cause without expecting anything in return. In the case of PATH, your donations will assist in completing the PATH. All those bike lane signs we have seen along 4th Avenue for two years will have actual bike lanes to correspond with them, if there was more money. The idea of guerrilla marking the lane in with paint or chalk was suggested to me recently, but I saw what happened when a university student created a breast cancer awareness bridge. The attention was heart warming, but no true action became of those promises to write a book or repair the bridge. The same decrepit structure is still there and it’s been repainted white. Likely costing the city more money.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if NPR could pick up the great story of our Create Huntington organization and all the other citizens and government workers who are constantly striving to improve life for everyone? I meet more and more people weekly, like Stacy, who has dedicated her unpaid time to aid in launching the local food movement, community composting project and the Tour de PATH.

Stacy and I are helping to plan a fun, family event, launching from Heritage Station on July 7, 2012 at 10AM. We are rallying support from the area to offer attendees entertainment, education and recreation. Riders will be offered three different course options to tour different expanses of PATH as a group. We are ironing out details for a free bike valet, what I believe will be the first for the city at any event. We encourage businesses, agencies and groups to sponsor the ride with donations of cash or in kindness. For everyone, we welcome you all to register to ride.

Our plans were coming together last night over dessert at Savannah’s Bistro. When we realized the restaurant was closing Stacy jumped on the Yuba deck and I took her over to the Frederick to wrap up our brainstorming, editing and course of action. It was great fun, the riding the bike, and the planning. We were both giggling and exclaiming our love of cycling to all the bar hoppers on 4th. I still think a pedicab service would be a great addition to our city, if anyone is looking for some pocket money. There were people everywhere.

The night was hovering in the low 30s and flakes were falling. When we rolled back to Stacy’s vehicle she took the Yuba for a spin. I captured her first ride on my camera’s video setting for Film February. She pulled up next to me and said, “hop on!” I think Stacy has been bitten by the bicycling bug. It was exhilarating.  It was also getting very late, nearing the midnight hour. We said our parting remarks, I called the husband to assure him I was on my way home, and wondered through the snow fall, by way of the park, toward home.

Stopped in the park to enjoy the snow fall as I rode home.

All this talk about Tour de PATH was just primer to get you jazzed up join us July 7th. Registration will open May 1 and more details will roll out soon on Facebook and PATH’s website. Stay tuned, I know you will love it!

Miles Walked: 0 Biked: 52.3 Bused: 0 Drove: 4 Carpool: 17 This week
121.6 1526.4 12.6 2568.7 94.7 Since August 14, 2011
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