Bike The Branches
Salt Lake city is considered one of most bike-friendly cities in the Nation with its protected bike lanes and special bike routes. Every year for the past four years The Bicycle Collective has teamed up with the Salt Lake City Library for Bike the Branches, an event with the goal to not only show off the four SLC library branches, but to educate residents about how to commute safely around the city on pedals and explore its other beautiful pathways where cars can’t take them. The 15 mile bike ride is part of the effort to make Salt Lake City a healthy and sustainable city.
Sunday morning, four blocks from the Studio, we find ourselves at the beginning station, the architecturally unique main branch of the Salt Lake City Public Library. Our rain jackets are soaked, but inside there is a spread of Even Stevens sandwiches, Funions, bingo cards, and water bottles decorating the tables and awaiting SLC residents who soon begin to wheel in their bicycles through the big glass doors. The grey skies are pouring heavy rain as far as the eye can see, and it doesn’t seem to be letting up. What a day for a bike ride.
Much to our surprise, low clouded weather didn’t seem to sway the cyclists’ psych; the attitude and energy for the ride ahead remained ecstatic. An Urban Cycling safety course was presented by Clint Watson, the Executive Director of the Bicycle Collective, a non profit organization that provides refurbished bicycles and educational programs to the community, focusing on lower income households. By the time the group of 18 made their way outside and mounted their bikes for the 15 mile adventure, the sun had pushed the clouds away a revealed blue skies and smiles all around.
Each of the four branches provided a variety of snacks such as red vines, fruit snacks, string cheese, apples and iced coffee. Along with the nourishment were activities; a favorite among the adults (even more than the kids) was making safety pin buttons at the Marmalade Branch.
The whole journey was a scenic treat itself, as cyclists rode along the Jordan River Parkway, passing community gardens and schools, all while carefully dodging snails that had been summoned onto the freshly showered path. Drivers in cars took double takes at the large parade of helmeted pedal pushers making their way single file through the city. The excursion which had began at 12, finalized at 4:30 back at the Main Branch. The exploration of the city was a pure success.