More people biking in South Bend - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

More people biking in South Bend

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Sunday was a beautiful day for a bike ride, bringing to an end a week devoted to trading the car keys for two wheels.  An interest in biking is on the rise in South Bend.  More people than ever before participated in Today's Bike the Bend event.  Organizers for the event say it's an exciting time for the biking community.

Sunday Brock Ireland rode all over South Bend with family and friends.  "We seen a lot of parks, a lot of restaurants," said Ireland.  It was his first time participating in Bike the Bend...and he certainly wasn't the only first timer.  Based on registration numbers, Jeanne Blad the Executive Director of Bike the Bend, said it was hundreds of people's first time.  "We're way ahead of last year.  We were 10 percent ahead on Wednesday night so we're way beyond last year so that's just wonderful."  Online registration closed Wednesday night and Blad said then they already had 1600 people registered.  A few hundred more registered Saturday and Sunday.

So why is everyone now jumping on their bikes?  "The interest is growing here," said Blad.  Organizers and participants said it's growing simply from word of mouth.  "I'd tell people to do it," said Rachel Eddy.  She was turned onto the event by a friend of hers.

More people pedaling during Bike the Bend means more people riding bikes all the time.  "It gets people interested and then they continue to keep working to different levels of distance and ability," said Blad.

And Blad said a bigger biking community is a good thing.  "There are statistics that'll show you that communities that have bikers and bike lanes and facilities for biking they bring more people to the community cause it's a lifestyle quality of life issue."

So even though interest in biking is growing, Blad says there's still more work to be done.  "We'd love to see more designated lanes and bicycle facilities so it's easier to bike to work or bike to shop," said Blad.

But for now she's just excited that so many new people are trying out Bike the Bend and loving it.

Bike the Bend marked the end of Bike to Work week.  Another biking event that also saw increased participation this year.

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