BATH — Your destination is a mile away; should you get in your car or hop on your bike?
The people behind an upcoming six-week “Rediscover Cycling” course hope you’ll choose the latter, given strides to make Bath more bicycle friendly.
“One of the things I hope people will get out of it is a sense of the utility of the bicycle as a means of transportation, not just as recreation,” Robert McChesney, chairman of the Bath Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee, said Tuesday.
Often, he added, the cyclist is portrayed as someone young, wearing spandex, racing along the road. But McChesney’s committee and other groups are trying to convey that cycling can be a cost-saving tool if substituted for driving a motor vehicle on errands within a mile or two away.
The Bath Parks & Recreation Department is working with the Bath Area Family YMCA and Bicycle Coalition of Maine to offer the course, which will run from 6-7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, April 25 to May 30. The $20 registration fee includes a tool kit; call the YMCA at 443-4112 or the Parks & Recreation Department at 443-8360 to register.
The course is geared toward adults who can ride a bike, but haven’t been on one in a while. It covers areas such as rules of the road as they pertain to bicycles, safe riding strategies and bike repair and maintenance. The class wraps up with two on-the-road lessons.
“We think the city is perfectly set up for more bike transportation, with secure bike racks and all retail and service facilities from soup to nuts concentrated in one small area,” McChesney said earlier this month in a press release.
He noted that the East Coast Greenway, a trail system planned to span nearly 3,000 miles from Calais south to Key West, Fla., runs through the city:
Coming from Woolwich on the Sagadahoc Bridge, a bicyclist would take the off-ramp into Bath and turn right onto Front Street, then right onto Lambard Street, left onto Commercial Street, right again onto Front, left onto North Street to the “five corners” area, right onto Oak Grove Avenue and then left onto Old Brunswick Road, leading to Brunswick.
“Given rising gas prices and the fact that 40 percent of all destinations are less than two miles from home, which is a very bike-able distance and can often be done faster on a bike than by car, we think this course comes at a very good time for people who are looking for ways to beat the gas prices and maybe get some health benefit in the process,” McChesney said.