Bicycle tour offers guided ride through Akron
DOWNTOWN AKRON — For those who would like to take a unique tour through Akron while also having some fun, the How We Roll Bicycle Tour is now up and running.
“This a free tour that’s available Wednesdays through Sundays between now and … the end of August,” explained Andy Davis, the program’s manager. “It includes a short bike tour around Akron, visiting sites people usually don’t see when they are driving by in their cars. It’s meant to be fun for persons of all ages and abilities.”
A pair of trained tour guides will take bicyclists on a tour that lasts approximately an hour and a half, he said.
“There is an option for just going about 6 miles, or extending it another 4 miles, if you’re up for it,” Davis said. “Another thing we can do is if a group wants to do a custom ride, we can set that up as well.”
The tours take place on the following days: Wednesdays and Thursdays at 5 p.m.; Fridays at 6 p.m.; Saturdays at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.; and Sundays at noon and 4 p.m.
“Currently, while the farmers’ market is going on, we also have a shorter version of the tour called the Green & Fit Celebrity Ride, which we are doing with Downtown Akron Partnership,” Davis said. “That ride is each Friday from noon to 1 p.m., and it includes some celebrity from Downtown Akron. A new one will be joining us each week.”
According to Davis, the main purpose of the program is to “teach people how to ride the road safely.”
“We try to do it in a fun manner,” he said. “Most of the ride emphasizes having fun going around. Another part of it is going around Akron and seeing different interesting sites that people may not typically know about. So while you are having fun, you are also learning.”
The tours start and finish at the Bicycle Kitchen in Lock 3, located at 200 S. Main St. in Downtown Akron.
“The Bike Kitchen is a local community bike shop that many people don’t know about,” Davis said. “It’s a free community resource run by the Summit Cycling Center, a local nonprofit. It’s an education center located in the basement of the old O’Neil’s building. The Bike Kitchen provides a community shop with bicycle tools and work stations. We teach people how to work on their bicycles and keep them running. There are classes for that. And we also do a lot of community service, such as building bicycles for the LeBron James Family Foundation’s Wheels for Education Program. Currently, we are finishing 300 bicycles for third-graders, who will get them in August. We also rehabilitate used bicycles and get those back out to people through our earn-a-bike program.”
The How We Roll Bicycle Tour includes a trip on the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, Davis said, before heading south on Main Street and going through some of the old rubber factories. Other stops include the Hower House, the METRO RTA transit center on Broadway Street, The University of Akron and Don Drumm Studios & Gallery.
“Once people get on a bike, they often find the distances weren’t as far as they thought they were,” he said.
Making the tour even more appealing, Davis said, participants receive “free stuff” just for taking part in the free tour.
“We are giving away a free Dri-FIT T-shirt, a free front-rear light set for the bike, a free DoDowntown Card and a free swag bag,” he said. “The program is sponsored by the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study, and the program is being run by The University of Akron Department of Sport Science & Wellness Education.”
Participants can bring and ride their own bicycles or borrow a bike for the tour, Davis noted.
“We prefer if people can bring their own bike and helmet; that way they can get a quick safety check of their bike and we’ll put the free lights on the bike for them,” he said. “But we do have loaners available, so that shouldn’t hold you back.”
To register for one of the summer tours, go to www.HowWeRollUA.com. Preregistration is required.
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