Biking Bloomington

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PHOTO: VISIT BLOOMINGTON

Let's talk about bikes. As a woman who proved her mettle cycling the streets of Tampa, Florida, I can confidently say biking is great in Bloomington—and we've got the certification to prove it. With over seventy miles of bike lanes and trails, Bloomington is recognized as a Gold-Level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. On top of all that, we have the organizations and resources that make cycling in Bloomington the best. Whether you're a daily commuter, a road bike warrior, or a mountain bike fiend, Bloomington has a little something for everyone.

Here are my highlights of what Bloomington has to offer.

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PHOTO: BLOOMINGTON PARKS AND RECREATION

Bloomington's got some fantastic trails. First up: The B-Line (3.1 miles), which may just be the lifeblood of our city. Is there anything more "Bloomington" than the simple pleasure of riding your bike up the B-Line to the Farmers' Market on a Saturday morning, sipping coffee with your friends, visiting with your favorite growers, then pedaling home with a bounty of fresh fruits and veggies?

 

If you want to feel like you've gotten out of town—without actually leaving it—Bloomington Rail Trail (2 miles) and Clear Creek Trail are great choices. Ride down a beautiful wooded corridor past twinkling fireflies as the setting sun filters through the canopy above you, with glimpses of deer grazing in the fields—that's the Rail Trail in late summer. Clear Creek Trail offers wide-open views of wildflowers on grassy green pastures on one side, and the sound of the creek's gentle flow on the other.

The icing on the cake: all three of these trails connect. You can start on the B-Line, continue onto the Rail Trail, which drops you off on Clear Creek Trail —creating a 7.6-mile continuous path, just for pedestrians and cyclists. For details of all Bloomington's bike paths, check out the City's excellent pocket map for cyclists [PDF] online—or pick one up at the Main Library.

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So we've got trails covered—now let’s talk cycling resources. The City of Bloomington has plenty of resources dedicated to helping you navigate Bloomington by bike. Ever wonder about the green "bike boxes" painted on the ground at intersections in town? The City's created a helpful guide on biking and pedestrian infrastructure to answer just that sort of question! Check out their webpage on biking in Bloomington for safety tips, event updates, and more.

 
 
Of course, for learning more about cycling, the Library's the place! After you hitch up at one of our bike racks, come on in! We've got guides to buying the perfect bicycle— as well as maintenance and repair manuals for keeping your bike in tip-top shape. Then there are our books and videos on training techniques, cycling history, pro cyclists' biographies, and more. And for staying on the cutting edge of bike culture, gear, fitness, and style, the Library's cycling magazines are here for you to enjoy.
 

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Be sure to visit We Like Bikes! staff picks for more on bikes and the Library. And don't forget: Library Staff are always happy to help you find resources for bike enthusiasts—just ask.

 

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PHOTO: CASSANDRA ORTON

If camaraderie with other cyclists is what you're after, Bloomington's got that too. The Bloomington Community Bike Project is a free cooperative space where anyone can learn basic bicycle maintenance. Their "Earn-A-Bike Program” even allows you to work toward building a bike of your own—at no charge. And the Bloomington Bicycle Club has a little something for everyone, including group rides that accommodate cyclists of different interest and abilities.

 

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PHOTO: INDIANA PUBLIC MEDIA

Of course, no discussion of bikes would be complete without a nod to Bloomington's favorite bike race, the Little 500. It's the perfect event if you want to celebrate bicycles with others, without actually having to ride one. This year the famous race takes place on April 21st and 22nd. 

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Cycling in Bloomington is fun, healthy, and good for the environment. Be sure to include the Library in your plans to hit the road on two wheels. Happy riding!

We Like Bikes! Cycling Resources at the Library