In this latest post about city bike share schemes around the world, Jenn and Ed from Coleman Concierge share their experiences with the city bike share scheme in Indianapolis. You can check out their bio at the end of the post.
Cycling in Indiana
Guest Post by Jenn of Coleman Concierge
Last summer I was hosted by Visit Indy and Visit Hamilton County to come and explore central Indiana. At first, I was like – wo? And then I was like WO! It was so much more than I expected and absolutely legitimately cool. Both cities had amazing bike infrastructure, great city bike share schemes, and were connected by the Monon Trail.
City Bike Share Scheme in Indianapolis
Downtown Indy has gone through an amazing revitalization. It is consistently ranked at a top twenty foody city, has public art galore, and a fine collection of museums. All of this vitality is connected by a bike-friendly series of paths called the Cultural Trail. You can see all these urban gems from one of eight different, interconnected trails.
The highlight of the Cultural Trail would have to be the Canal Walk. Three miles of dedicated use trail surround the White River Canal. 100 years ago, this carried commerce downtown Indianapolis. Today, it carries paddle boats and gondoliers serenading their riders.
The city bike share scheme in Indianapolis is serviced by the Pacer’s Bike Share. I thought their bikes were in great repair, and even had built in riding lights that would turn on at dusk. The downside is that, even though you have an all-day rental, you can only ride 30 minutes at a time. The good news is that you can park your bike (and recharge your rental) at any of the 29 different stations throughout the area. With so many great restaurants and attractions to see, it’s easy to plan a ride a little, walk a little tour.
Check out our article Ten Things You Can’t Miss in Indianapolis for more cool things to do in Indy.
Biking in Hamilton County
If Indianapolis is the very model of a modern major city, Hamilton County is a throwback to the hometown of your youth. The lush green lawns and picturesque suburbia looks like something from Norman Rockwell’s daydreams.
My hub for Hamilton County was Carmel, a town that is always at the top of best places to live lists. I picked up my bike from the Zagster Bikeshare and started to explore the Carmel Arts District in their downtown.
Cycling in Carmel
Downtown Carmel is a different beast from the urban hub of downtown Indianapolis. Here, people come out to walk their dogs, visit with neighbors, and rendezvous at restaurants. Being a hippy at heart, I enjoyed stopping at Peace Water Wineries, which was all decked out in Grateful Dead inspired artwork. I also enjoyed biking along a particularly interesting set of statues. Carmel is inhabited by a series of statues doing everyday activities that look so lifelike, you have to do a double take.
The town of Carmel is a bikers dream. Every street seemed to have ample bike lanes and the traffic as very mellow. Carmel so serious about establishing bike culture that the offer Pedal Perks. This is a program where you get discounts on eating out and attractions if you bike there instead of taking your car.
If you want to find out more, check out our article on High Adventures in Hamilton County
Biking Along the Monon Trail
The Monon Trail ran right through downtown Carmel so I had to try it out. My Zagster Bikeshare Bike was not a long distance cruiser. It was a little too heavy and way too upright to make any serious mileage on the trail, but the couple miles I did bike was extraordinary.
Since this was an old railroad grade (and Central Indiana), the trail was very flat. It was well paved and snaked through a tunnel of green trees (and a few old rail tunnels to boot). If I had my trusty Trek with me, I would have enjoyed riding this trail to its end in downtown Indianapolis.
A lot of people do enjoy riding this 25-mile trail. It’s estimated that the trail gets more than 1.2 million visitors a year, although I didn’t find it crowded at all. Hopefully, this kind of visitation gets notices and more trails like Monon are put in around the country.
Besides the Monon Trail and the Cultural Trail, Central Indiana has some pretty decent rides. There is the White River Trail, which connects into the Cultural Trail and gives access to 4.5 miles of riverfront just outside downtown Indianapolis. There is even a little hill climbing available in Fort Harrison State Park. If you want to find your own way, there are over 80 miles of road with bike paths in Indianapolis alone, not to mention all the small town riding in the adjoining suburbs.
Wrapping up Central Indiana City Bike Share Schemes
I found Central Indiana to be extremely bike friendly and surprisingly hip and cool. The city bike share scheme in Indianapolis and Carmel were intuitive to use, convenient, and in great repair. If anything, Central Indiana was too bike friendly. I just wanted to keep riding, which isn’t really the intent of bike shares. Pacer’s Bikeshare and Zagster Bikeshare did a great job of servicing the metro areas of downtown Indianapolis and Carmel for people who want to ride a little and explore a little.
Find out more about Jenn and Ed of Coleman Concierge
Hi! We are Jenn and Ed, aka Coleman Concierge. Let us serve as your guide to help and inspire you to get out, expand your world, and to seek adventure, even in your own backyard. Currently, home is Orlando Florida, but we have lived all over the mountains, deserts, and beaches of the Western United States. Along with our perspective and personality, we strive to provide tools and tips for you to experience heightened adventure in your own life. Please follow us on:
Share your city bike share experiences with Dave's Travel Pages
Have you used a city bike share scheme anywhere in the world? Would you like to share your experiences with the readers of Dave's Travel Pages? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to write a guest post. My goal is to share at list one experience of each of the city bike share schemes from around the world, and at the moment, there are about 1000 of them!