This is the second time ISWE has had the pleasure to participate in the N.I.T.E. (Navigate Indy This Evening) Ride. This year, the N.I.T.E ride featured: a 16- to 60-mile morning ride, a dinner ride to Indy's popular Mass Ave district, bike races, a L.I.T.E. Up Your Bike contest and, of course, a 15- to 20-mile midnight ride through closed downtown Indianapolis streets.
There's really nothing quite like heading out with 3000 or so of your closest friends and acquaintances and riding around the middle of the city as if you own it. Having started commuting to work some days this year, ISWE can fully back any opportunity to blithely coast through intersections as IMPD officers and volunteers dutifully hold back long lines of 4000 pound motorcars from their normal brutish behaviors. "Oh, excuse me, Mr. Buick, just going through this intersection against this red light. Now wait your turn." Oh, if only this were more than one evening a year.
This year marked the N.I.T.E. Ride's first year at its new location, the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Previously, the R.I.D.E. began and ended at IUPUI's Carroll Stadium, which is now home to the Indy Eleven. For the record, the move is I.S.W.E. approved! The Fairgrounds, adjacent to the Monon Trail, is a convenient location with great amenities. Parking is no problem. Those arriving by car, truck, or van were able to sprawl out comfortably across the Fairgrounds' large fenced-in lots. For RV's, there's an actual mini-campground. The 4-H Building provided plenty of room for registration and after-ride pizza. And, of course, there were plenty of bathrooms with actual plumbing, a luxury to be sure. ISWE observed a few riders tailgating prior to the ride. That's something that could surely grow in coming years. Nice.
Small wheel numbers were mixed this year. While ISWE observed only three small wheel bicycles (2 Dahons and the ISWE Brompton) this year--in contrast to about 5 or six in 2103--growth in small-wheel trike recumbents was astonishing. While there were a handful of trikes in 2013, there were perhaps 50 or more this year. ISWE will try to take a clicker next time to collect more accurate data. Note to ISWE: Lobby CIBA for inclusion of a mode of transport questionnaire on registration form. One possible small-wheel sighting; however, is still up for review. One intrepid cyclist opted to venture into the night aboard a penny-farthing. While the penny-farthing's diminutive rear wheel was undeniably small wheel small, the huge, perhaps 38", 48" or 52" monster front wheel basically dominates the overall impression of the bike. Hmmm?
But, speaking of monster wheels, 2015 appears to be the year of the giant wheel fatbike and there were many of them at this year's N.I.T.E. ride. We've run into them before, but not in these sort of numbers. There weren't as many fatbikes as trikes, but there were, by our estimates, at least a dozen. We'll by keeping an eye on these behemoths in the months to come.
So, perhaps you are thinking about joining the N.I.T.E. Ride in 2016 and your thinking about: a) bolstering the numbers of folders; b) joining the growing numbers of trikers; or c) giving over to the Wall-E fatbike crowd. Where do you begin? Most Indy bike shops do not sell small-wheel bikes or recumbents. A pre-ride trip to two of Indy's largest bicycle shops revealed a big zilch on either count. Well, sometimes the widest selection isn't at the biggest store. One small store in Indianapolis has several small-wheel folding bikes and a wide range of trikes... in stock. Surprised? I know.
DG Bicycles is located at 1536 East 86th St in Indianapolis, just about a block from the Monon Trail. And they have small wheels. Check out the end of their storefront lineup above. That little guy on the end, that's a Biria 20" folding bike. The DG Bikes crew had three more of them hanging from the ceiling like batbikes, just inside the front door. Cool!
Scott, owner of DG since 2009, confirmed what we would later learn at the N.I.T.E Ride, folks are finally catching on to trikes. They are perfect for bike paths and long summer Indiana rides. 60 miles of a trike feels altogether different than 60 miles on an upright (what some trikers call a wedgie) bike. DG has been selling more and more trikes every day. DG carries
So, good news for Indy: The N.I.T.E. ride is still awesome. Your choice in pedal power locomotion is better than ever. And we've found one little bike shop that can provide you with sales and service on a pleasingly broad range of options. Check out the N.I.T.E Ride and DG Bicycles. You'll be glad you did.
Welcome to ISWE!
Small wheels rule!