Lindsay Gagnon: Bike Joplin to put on Slow Roll events

Lindsay Gagnon

Bike Joplin Inc. is a new 501(c)(3) that came about through discussions within the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce Trails and Connectivity workgroup. There was a desire for entry-level bicycle rides geared toward having fun, meeting people and seeing Joplin through a new perspective.

Bike Joplin was born and hosted the first Slow Roll Joplin event Sept. 4 of this year. Slow Roll Joplin is a group bicycle ride to venues that showcase our great city. It’s a free and inclusive way to bring people from all walks of life together and reconnect to our community. Since that first event, there have been several rides averaging 30-plus riders with hopes of it growing over time. There will be a standing ride the last Wednesday of every month with additional pop-up rides centered around existing community events.

Who is Slow Roll Joplin for?

It’s for all ages and skill levels; if you can ride a bike, you can participate. The routes are designed to attract a wide range of individuals — skeptical first-time riders, daredevil mountain bikers, hardcore roadies and everyone in between. It’s also for drivers of vehicles.

Regularly seeing cyclists on the road will hopefully slow down car traffic in pedestrian-heavy areas, causing motorists to be more cautious and aware of their surroundings making our streets safer in the process.

The local economy also benefits. Each Slow Roll features multiple stops at restaurants, bars, coffee shops and other businesses. Riders are encouraged to purchase food and beverages while being respectful of the location’s time and space. Businesses are encouraged to create a cycling-friendly environment including drink specials, outdoor seating and bike parking to ensure repeat visits.

What do you need to participatein a Slow Roll?

A bike, of course! Any bike will do. If it has wheels and is powered by human gumption, you’re good to go.

If you don’t own a bike, consider borrowing one from a friend or better yet, stop by the bike shops and peruse both new and discounted refurbished bicycles. Helmets are always encouraged and lights are necessary after sunset, but no additional gear is required. If being fully kitted out is your style, bring it on, but don’t let a lack of Lycra keep you from enjoying this leisure ride.

Come with an open mind and accepting attitude. Beginner cyclists should feel free to ask questions and use the Slow Roll to build confidence while in the safety of a group. Experienced cyclists should be nonjudgmental and excited to grow and educate the cycling community.

Why is Slow Roll Joplinso important?

There is a significant cycling population in Joplin willing to commute via bike, use trails and add to the overall economy if the infrastructure is available. Many of those Joplin residents are regularly traveling to Northwest Arkansas and surrounding areas to do just that. By hosting Slow Rolls, Bike Joplin Inc. hopes to increase awareness and visibility of the cycling community with the goal of convincing the city of Joplin and its residents of the need for a connected and expanded trail system, designated bike lanes and an overall safer environment for pedestrians. Cities everywhere are experiencing the health and economic benefits of pedestrian-focused planning and Joplin deserves to be among them.

Follow Bike Joplin Inc. on Facebook or Instagram for Slow Roll event details or contact the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce for more information about how to get involved.

Lindsay Gagnon is a member of the Young Professional Network of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce. She can be reached at info@joplincc.com.

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