Thursday, February 10, 2022

Uptown CycleLink

When my husband returns to the office uptown, he plans to commute by bike. Partly for exercise, partly to save on parking costs, partly because it's way better for the environment, and partly because, these days, it's so much easier to do than ever. 

If you haven't been uptown much or at all over the past couple of years, you might be surprised by the extensive network of new, fully protected bike lanes, called CycleLink, that now traverse the city. Offset from traffic by concrete and plastic physical barriers, delineated with distinct road paint, and marked with directional signs, these bike lanes offer a welcoming invitation to ditch the gas in favor of pedals and all the mental, physical and environmental benefits that riding provides. 

The CycleLink runs east/west on 5th St. and 6th St., connecting Irwin Creek and Little Sugar Creek Greenways. At the Little Sugar Creek end of the CycleLink, you can head south (someday soon, this will take you all the way to Pineville; right now you can get to Park Road Shopping Center) or head north for a protected ride to NoDa

Also accessible from the CycleLink: Charlotte Rail Trail, which you can follow (with some maneuvering across I-277) all the way through SouthEnd. 

The plan is for the CycleLink to connect more than 40 miles of "AAA" (All Ages and Abilities) bikeways across Center City. While pieces of this plan are complete, others are still in the feasibility study phase. Still, this is an exciting endeavor for our community. More bikes and fewer cars would benefit Charlotte and our citizens in many important ways. 

Last weekend, when the sun came out and temperatures warmed, our oldest and I decided to clip on our helmets and head uptown for a ride. While intersections and driveways still require active attention, we found the protected bike lanes to be very accessible, safe and pleasant. Of course, the hills will remind you why it's called "uptown," but the return is a breeze! 

Whether you're about to resume commuting to an uptown office or just want to take a fun urban bike ride, CycleLink is worth checking out. If you're feeling hesitant, check out this "how to" video. Then give it a spin. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. 

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