So here we are, one week away from Valentine’s Weekend. If you’re like me, you probably lost track of time and have found yourself cutting it close without plans!
Don’t freak out.
It’s not too late to take advantage of some great deals for a fun-loving weekend with your sweetheart (or best friend)! This week’s Adventure Blog is a follow up to last year’s “Valentine’s Dates for Outdoors Lovers” blog (which still has some valid tips!)
Gift giving can often be a stressful experience, leaving many holiday shoppers with a sense of dread that they haven’t found that perfect gift or that much-desired stocking stuffer. While we can’t tell you what’ll make everyone on your list happy this year, we are here to help you get something cool for the outdoorsy friends and family in your life! Whether you’re looking to just pick up a little something, or you’re in search of that holiday-defining gift, here are a few ideas to get you started:
With a thriving music scene, trendy restaurants, and a flourishing community, Nashville is rapidly gaining attention as a top destination in the US. As the city expands, it is increasingly important to invest in its preservation and well-being. This week, we met with one of the key advocates for our community, Nora Kern, Executive Director of Walk Bike Nashville. Nora has channeled her passion for active transportation into a movement that enables people all over Nashville to fall in love with our city in a brand new way.
The Start of a Movement
Walk Bike Nashville was founded in 1998 by a group of passionate advocates in the community who saw a need for increased accessibility to alternative transportation. The mission of the organization is simple: to see more people out riding bikes and walking on the sidewalks of Nashville. When I sat down with Nora, I was instantly drawn into her energy and passion. Within minutes of the start of our conversation, it became clear that Walk Bike Nashville is less about just eliminating emissions and more about an exciting – and contagious – lifestyle.
“For us, it’s all about Nashville, its about the city, and our community,” Nora said. “That’s the great thing about biking. It ties us all closer to our city. When I bike to work I run into friends and I meet new people, and when I’m out walking I see the city from a much more intimate perspective. We want to have more people know about us so that we can get more people out riding and on the sidewalks.”
Nora’s team accomplishes this by focusing on educational programs as well as engaging events to bring together our community.
Whether you’ve never gotten on a bike or use one every day, there are opportunities for you to get involved in a more active lifestyle. Walk Bike University is a program geared towards educating the Nashville community about the world of active transportation. Classes are free or low-cost and cover everything from how sidewalks are made to how to ride a bike. More advanced classes include hands-on experience with city bicycling to build confidence and safety. To get involved, check out the Walk Bike University class schedule here.
If you’re already comfortable on a bike and find yourself riding to events around town, be sure to take advantage of Walk Bike Nashville’s free bike valet.
“There are more and more great events and festivals in Nashville, but often there is no place to park your bike,” Nora explained. “It’s really important to know that you will have a secure location to leave your bike so that you know it’s not going to be stolen or picked up. It’s a great service because it makes biking a legitimate form of transportation, on the same level as parking a car, and it also helps events that are concerned about the environment and the impact transportation might be causing. The great part about bikes is that there are no emissions and no traffic.”
The process is simple – ride to an event that has bike valet set up and park it with Walk Bike Nashville. They will give you a claim tag, carefully watch over your gear, and return it to you at the end of the night. The service is free to bicyclists and eliminates the need to find and pay for parking. Lightning 100 offers this incredible service during every Live on the Green and parked hundreds of bikes during the festival this past weekend. For more information on Walk Bike Nashville’s bike valet, check out this link.
Looking to hit the roads more regularly? Give it a shot and bike to work once this week. It will take a bit more planning than usual, but you might find it to be an addictive and energizing way to start your day. Follow this simple checklist before taking off.
Check your gear – make sure that your tires are inflated to the proper pressure (indicated on the side of the tire wall), your brakes operate smoothly, and that your chain isn’t rusty or damaged.
Bring the necessities – wear a well-fitted helmet and pack a water bottle. If you know you’ll be leaving your bike outside, bring a bike lock as well.
Know your route – as the trails and bike routes in Nashville increase, it is becoming easier to get from point A to point B. Check out these bike mapsto plan your commute.
Plan to pack – bring a bag with a change of clothes, a snack, and your work gear to insure that your day is as great as your morning ride.
Remember that you don’t have to bike to work everyday to improve your lifestyle. Even getting on the roads once a week will help you connect with the city in a new way and invigorate your normal routine. Nora shared several reasons why she enjoys biking to work:
“For me, walking and biking are all about being a part of our city. I’m from Nashville; I know the city really well and have always had an appreciation for it. The last two or three years, I’ve spent a lot of time on foot and on bike and it really made me appreciate the city from a whole new perspective and it makes you feel like you’re actually a part of the city, not just passing through it. I want to help create a city that encourages human interaction, healthy lifestyles – a city that is meant to be lived in, not driven through.”
Taking the Next Step
Interested in learning more about Walk Bike Nashville? Be sure to check out their website and get involved. You might just find that an energizing and exciting new lifestyle is closer than you think!
Navigating the roads around cyclists can be nerve-racking, especially to a non-cyclist. Heck, even as a cyclist I get nervous driving around bike riders. Do they actually know the rules of the road? Will they swerve out in front of me? How fast are they really going? Is there enough room for me to pass them?
First of all, I want to make it clear that YOU, the motorists, are not the primary cause of all cycling crashes. In fact, 83% of cycling crashes do not involve a motor vehicle at all! Falls are the number one cause of bike crashes. According to the League of American Cyclists, “falls due to loss of control, flats, mechanical failure or hazards constitute 50% of all crashes, bike/bike crashes 17%, dog/bike crashes 8% and other crashes 8%.” That leaves about 17% of bike crashes that do involve a motor vehicle… and guess what?
If the only thing keeping you from enjoying a nice long bike ride is concern about getting a flat tire, you’ve come to the right blog post! Check out the step-by-step instructions below for all you need to know to change your bike tire on the fly:
(Note: If you do not know how to remove the wheel from your bike, you can visit your friendly neighborhood bike shop and they will happily teach you how!)
If you’ve been keeping up with our blog over the last several months, then you know that we’ve got a ton of love for all that Nashville has to offer when it comes to getting outdoors. From parks and greenways to waterways and festivals, Nashville provides residents with an almost endless supply of excuses to step outside and enjoy nature. Though Middle Tennessee is a fantastic place to be for recreation lovers of all types, that doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement! As a city, we’re constantly thinking about the next steps to take to continue to support active outdoor lifestyles. Here are five projects on the horizon (or closer) that are helping to make Nashville just that much better for people who love to get outdoors:
1. Davidson Street Multi-Use Path (Coming July, 2015)
Over the last several years, Nashville has made great strides toward becoming a much more bike-friendly city. In 2012, Nashville was recognized as a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community (TM) by the League of American Bicyclists, and as of last week, Nashville now has 16 Bicycle Friendly Businesses (TM), including us! If our cycling community is to continue to grow and thrive moving forward, then there certainly needs to be an increase in infrastructure to provide riders of all ability levels with safe and accessible routes across the city. Thankfully, city officials have recognized this need and acted accordingly, recently announcing a multi-use path to be installed along Davidson Street near Shelby Bottoms. The path enhances the existing Music City Bikeway by implementing a paved path for both pedestrians and cyclists that would range between 8 and 12 feet wide and include protective bollards and wide striping to increase user safety. The path will increase connectivity between Downtown, LP Field, Shelby Bottoms, and existing neighborhoods in East Nashville, and is a fantastic resource for commuting and recreational cyclists alike!
2. West Riverfront Park and Amphitheater (Coming July, 2015)
If you’ve set foot in SoBro recently, then you know how hard it is to miss all the construction going on in what is becoming one of Nashville’s fastest growing commercial districts. Sitting prominently on a long-blighted piece of prime riverfront property (this site was once the home of Nashville’s Thermal Transfer Plant), the soon-to-be-completed West Riverfront Park will provide an incredible array of amenities for Nashvillians to get outdoors. Most notably, the park features a gleaming 6,500 seat outdoor amphitheater, giving the city a much-needed mid-size concert venue. The lineup for the inaugural season at the newly-named Ascend Amphitheater was just released last week, featuring more than a dozen shows ranging from Eric Church and Grace Potter to Widespread Panic and Old Crow Medicine Show, offering a little something for every musical taste. The site will also feature a dog park, outdoor wi-fi, more than a mile of greenways and paths, basketball courts and so much more, providing SoBro with access to a ton of much-needed resources to enjoy the outdoors right in the heart of Downtown.
3. East Bank Landing (Coming Summer, 2015)
Though West Riverfront Park has been getting most of the press recently, there are big changes happening on the other side of the river as well. East Bank Landingis currently under construction adjacent to LP Field and the Bridge Building, tucked in near the eastern end of the Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge. When complete, this small park will feature increased green space and shade trees, several benches, a picnic area, and a floating dock for the General Jackson. Perhaps the best feature for local outdoors enthusiasts, the renovated space will also include direct water access for launching canoes and kayaks, providing another access point to what has been a historically under-utilized Cumberland River. East Bank Landing also acts as an addition to the existing open space in nearby Cumberland Park, making for several acres of contiguous green space along the increasingly resident-friendly eastern bank of the river.
4. oneC1TY (Ongoing, some elements now open)
Tucked into a historically nondescript lot north of Centennial Park, the oneC1TY projectis quickly becoming one of Nashville’s most talked about developments, and with good reason. Part of the larger redevelopment of Charlotte Avenue into a “healthy corridor,” oneC1TY seeks to become a hub for health and wellness both indoors and outdoors. The project will feature tons of sustainable elements, like a shipping container village (playfully named C1TYBLOX) full of health-oriented businesses, as well as highly-efficient office space for groups like the Tennessee Orthopaedic Alliance. oneC1TY will also play host to several public outdoor elements, like walking paths, a lake with a picnic area, an amphitheater for music and other performances, and sand volleyball courts (which are already open). Overall, the project is aiming to be a LEED-certified sustainable neighborhood with both residential and commercial components, and its main goal is to be a center for innovation and collaboration on all things health and wellness in Nashville.
5. Centennial Park Renovation (Phase 1 due in May, 2015)
One of Nashville’s oldest and most recognizable parks, Centennial Park has long been a cherished outdoor spot for many locals. Since 1897, the park has provided Nashvillians with access to walking and running paths, abundant green space, a small pond full of wildlife, gorgeous gardens, and a full-scale replica of the Greek Parthenon among other amenities, all in the heart of Midtown! Though the park has long been a staple of Nashville’s recreation culture, an increasingly vibrant and growing user base has spurred on the need for renovations. Construction began late last summer on Phase 1 of the project, which includes a permanent amphitheater for the Musician’s Corner concert series and enhanced parking and landscaping near the Parthenon, among other components. Future phases will provide park users with access to a stream flowing through the park, the renovation of existing monuments and addition of new sculptures, the installation of a playground, and so much more! The Centennial Park Master Plan outlines all of the changes happening throughout the park, and provides a snapshot into how incredible the park will be for all of Nashville when it’s complete.
All of these great projects have got us beyond excited to get outdoors as the weather heats up this summer, and we hope you’ll join us! Check out our calendar to find ways to get involved. Do you have a favorite local project going on that we missed? Feel free to add it in our comments section below!