Savoring Bike Restaurant Week
By: Brantley Tyndall, Bike Walk RVA (feature photo by Staci Griffith Rogge)
Ask your favorite search engine if Richmond is a city with a thriving restaurant scene. The answer is emphatically yes.
Ask it again if Richmond is a great place to ride bikes. You’ll find tons of options for rides of many varieties, a healthy network of related organizations, some great photos, and more.
Now search for “bike restaurant week” and count the number of places in the world with such a thing. We’ll save you the trouble: JUST ONE: Richmond! With the excitement we saw, we think something like this might catch on here and in other cities across the country.
With five days of promotions, 25 restaurants taking part, 158 participants for five neighborhood fun rides to each night’s dinner spots, and the absolute best weather we could have asked for, there’s no wonder it got so much buzz:
Why Bike Restaurant Week? Ask some people, and they’ll tell you there’s nothing new about riding to breakfast, lunch, coffee, or dinner in Richmond.
Ask others, many of whom have just started riding because of things like RVA Bike Share, RVA Bike Month, the Virginia Capital Trail, and the Anthem Moonlight Ride, and you may hear that bike lanes and bike parking really help make this kind of experience possible.
Our nightly bike rides to partnering restaurants showed folks new ways to navigate the city, introduced them to new sites and destinations, helped provide education on safe riding, and taught safe locking and lighting techniques, among other benefits.
The City has been installing bike racks since 2011 on public right of way, and many forward-thinking restaurants have been installing their own as well. Restaurants and businesses that have installed their own private bike parking, like Joe’s Inn, Kuba Kuba, 821 Café, and Ellwood Thompson’s, have helped make their locations more accessible and provided an alternative to car trips that rely on parking spaces.
Studies show that local businesses adjacent to bikeways that provide bike parking attract biking customers who are likely to visit more often. Even folks who drive to and from work still want to get out and ride for other trips. We just have to make it possible for them.
It’s safe to say that 2017 Bike Restaurant Week is likely the first of many and that we’ll be back again in September 2018 with more restaurants, more promotions, more bike share, #morebikelanes, more bike parking, and more opportunities to enjoy riding for normal trips in Richmond to benefit local businesses.
A big thanks to Richmond Bicycle Studio, Cap Trail Bike Shuttle, and RVA Bike Share for promotions to ensure Bike Restaurant Week was a cool, collaborative, supportive program. If you want to be involved next year, email [email protected]!