“What’s a Rhoades Car?”
The question echoed throughout the opening reception of the 2014 Tennessee Bike Summit when moderator Nora Kern announced that Hendersonville, TN Mayor Scott Foster was scheduled to ride a Rhoades Car the next morning with keynote speaker Kim Wiley-Schwartz, Assistant Director of Education and Outreach for the NYC Dept. of Transportation. I quickly jumped up to say “We make 4-wheel bikes for people of all abilities…1, 2, or 4 seaters, with and without a motor”.
Metro Nashville Public Works brought their recently purchased Rhoades Car over and the ride did in fact happen. To prove it, here’s a short video clip of the interview.
Kim Wiley-Schwartz gave a phenomenal opening presentation about how far biking has progressed in the Big Apple just by clarifying dedicated bike lanes with paint and landscaping….nothing too expensive.
Bruce Day with Bike Walk Tennessee, a member of Alliance for Biking & Walking, and David Kleinfelter with Walk/Bike Nashville discussed the complexities they have overcome to establish official U.S. Bike Route 23 (USBR 23) in Tennessee that covers 154 miles between the Kentucky border, where it joins Kentucky’s existing Mammoth Cave state bicycle route and Alabama.
Ken McLeod with The League of American Bicyclists went on to explain that the U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS) now encompasses 5,847 miles of approved U.S. Bike Routes in 12 states: Alaska, Kentucky, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. You can read more here.
The theme of the Summit seemed to be increasing connectivity so people can truly use biking as an alternative to fuel-powered transportation. This goes along with the first report ever released by the US Census Bureau on bicycling and walking to work in the U.S. In other words, enough people are biking and walking to work to warrant the Census Bureau to track this activity officially. This report says that biking represents a larger percentage increase than that of any other commuting mode between 2008-2012 (p. 2).
Many people including Mayor Karl Dean of Nashville discussed the need to continue expanding opportunities for biking, such as on new wider greenways, trails in the state parks, dedicated bike lanes on major streets, etc. The general feeling I got was that the biking community has felt like a stepchild for so long and is now feeling that it is being taken seriously for the first time.
We at Rhoades Car understand that sentiment. So many folks don’t even know we exist, much less understand our purpose. It is exciting to hear all the plans for making more safe areas in which people can ride bikes, but who is reaching out to people who simply can’t ride a two-wheel bicycle? People who are weight-challenged, have balance issues, have had joint replacements, have bad backs or people who are blind or have other special needs that prohibit them from hopping on a two-wheel bike and taking off for five miles? You guessed it.
We are Rhoades Car International and we make bikes for people of all abilities.