Special Report: Cycling

A Bicycle Get-Away in Indianapolis

We didn't need our car the whole time we were there and were able to ride or walk wherever we needed to go. Definitely something we will do again.

By Bob Leach
Published November 07, 2014

My wife and I recently decided to take a few days to go to Indianapolis for a bicycle get-away. This was a first for us.

We wanted to try Indy because I had read over the past year how they had developed an excellent cycle infrastructure making them one of the top rated cities in the United States for cycling.

So we put our bikes on the car rack and headed out for the eight-and-a-half-hour drive to Indianapolis. We decided to book a hotel downtown, park our car and only use our bikes for three days.

Just one block from our hotel we were able to get onto the Indy Cultural Trail, which is the recently developed centrepiece of the cycle network.

It's eight miles of trail through downtown that runs through five cultural districts and connects with other trails to take you to areas outside of the city.

Indy Cultural Trail
Indy Cultural Trail

You can read more about the Cultural Tail.

It was thoroughly enjoyable and safe riding. In a number of places the tail is separated for bikes and pedestrians. There are also ample places to lock your bike, from bike racks to parking meters.

Separate paths for cyclists and pedestrians
Separate paths for cyclists and pedestrians

Parking Meter bike locks
Parking Meter bike locks

From the Cultural Trail, we connected with Canal Walk. This is a great 3 mile loop through downtown. Even though you are surrounded by office towers, apartments and condos it was a peaceful ride where you can stop at a café to relax or even take a gondola ride on the canal.

Canal Walk
Canal Walk

Another day we took a ride along the White River State Park Trail. We followed this 5 mile, soon to be 23 mile trail away from downtown. It's a nice scenic, peaceful ride through the state park along the White river with great views of the city in the distance.

White River State Park Trail
White River State Park Trail

Our final trail ride was on the Monon Rail Trail. It's one of the busiest trails in the country that takes you 10 miles north of the city. It runs through neighbouring communities and connects with a number of other trails. Like all of the trails it was busy with both cyclists and runners. It has emergency telephones placed systematically along the trail and is even equipped with some bicycle repair stations.

Monon Trail
Monon Trail

Bike repair stations
Bike repair stations

We also rode on the two-way protected bike lanes in the city and never once during our three days did we have any problems with motorists. As a matter of fact, I was pleasantly surprised to see how car drivers were very aware and respectful toward cyclists. That was definitely a new experience.

Another nice feature was all of the trails were well-maintained and a pleasure to ride on. We would rate our first ever biking vacation a great success. We didn't need our car the whole time we were there and were able to ride or walk wherever we needed to go. Definitely something we will do again.

Bob Leach is the lead pastor at Living Hope Christian Assembly. You can follow him on Twitter @bobwleach.

6 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted November 07, 2014 at 20:28:36

Looks fantastic! No reason we couldn't do a Cultural style Trail along Main from Mac to the Delta, then east on King to Stoney Creek.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By DrAwesomesauce (registered) | Posted November 07, 2014 at 21:01:05

Looks great. That 'Left' 'Right' signage is very Vancouver.

Indianapolis is a city Hamilton could certainly model itself after. Back in 1987, they hosted the Pan Am Games. Following that, the city chose to focus on sport and fitness as a way of marketing itself nationally. Many would agree that 'Indiananoplace' has enjoyed a lasting legacy from those games and that that moniker no longer applies.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Zepher (anonymous) | Posted November 08, 2014 at 07:19:12

Can't let this go without a comment. I live in Indy, and it is a very difficult city to cycle in. The Cultural Trail is nice, but sections of the Monon Trail run through one of America's most dangerous neighborhoods and there have been attacks. Also, drivers are openly hostile to cyclists. Better to go to nearby Louisville and ride the Riverfront.

Permalink | Context

By Bobleach (registered) | Posted November 11, 2014 at 07:53:32 in reply to Comment 106058

I'm sure you have a better feel for the city being a resident. I did notice a number of bike lanes downtown that were being used. I also found motorists to be more aware of cyclists than I'm used to in Hamilton. I'm sure Indy is not without its biking problems, but perhaps you should try riding in Hamilton for a different perspective

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Dee Emveebe (anonymous) | Posted November 08, 2014 at 14:42:29

I went to Indianapolis for business a few years ago without really knowing anything about the city. My expectations weren't low, I just didn't have any. I was surprised to find a vibrant, buzzing kind of town with lots of classic architecture, clean space and a nice downtown feel. It's got a certain neoclassical grandeur to it that hints at a past of some significant prosperity. Not what you'd necessarily associate with the US upper Midwest of today. It was great and a bit eye-opening to see that there are some good things happening in places you don't necessarily always hear or think about.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Yup (anonymous) | Posted November 09, 2014 at 07:02:49

It's because it is happening in most places except Hamilton.

Permalink | Context

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to comment.

Events Calendar

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds