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Web letter: Bicycle riding steadily becoming driving force for ‘most livable city’

Spring is just not a time for renewal, but is also a time to try new things and new ideas. May brings the awareness of national Bike Month.

Fort Wayne has embraced this acknowledgement with a vigor that builds each year. This was not always so. I recall a time in the not too distant past when bicyclists were encouraged (and sometimes coerced) to ride on sidewalks. This mentality was slowly changed by a dedicated group of cycling enthusiasts and activists. The development of trails along with a growing recognition of healthy living through physical activity has pushed an outlier idea onto the steps of a new normal.

A few years ago, an influential book was written about this trend. “Rise of the Creative Class” by Richard Florida highlighted the wants of newer generations to live in a diverse community – dubbed “most livable.” Mind and body now must balance into an I Ching for modern living.

Our cycling community is on the cusp of change to a commonplace acceptance for a healthy metropolitan Fort Wayne. To further this cycling synergy, a new advocacy group, Bicycle Friendly Fort Wayne, seeks to identify the next steps that will encourage more citizens to enjoy the benefits of cycling tied to a most livable city.

Safety, education, shared responsibility and transportation infrastructure are all quality of life issues that will drive a spectrum of bike riders to pedal for adventure or commute on two wheels. These benefits are not lost on our local institutions. Employers and local government know a good thing when their community transforms for the better. We can change perceptions of what is accepted and approved if we make the efforts needed for the long view.

I encourage all to visit and support the efforts to advance cycling and connect Fort Wayne with the phrase, “Most Livable City”. There will be many opportunities in the future to weigh in and contribute.

My vision of Fort Wayne’s future is active citizens using our streets and trails as a common activity to connect to work leisure, and exploration with a feeling of safety and acceptance. This journey was started by dedicated activists and the call has gone out for the next generation to carry forward the vision of our rising cycling community.

PATRICK STELTE President Three Rivers Velo Sport Inc.