How We Roll UA--FREE Bike Tours Through Downtown Akron
by Joanna Wilson
I only discovered this opportunity by chance one afternoon when I was hanging out downtown. Always curious, I introduced myself to a group of people who were renting bicycles during the recent transportation convention outside of the John. S. Knight Center. Turns out, they were representatives from How We Roll UA--an organization forwarding bicycle road safety and offering free bike tours in downtown Akron. They sent me to their website, I signed up for a time and date, and took the free tour. This is one of those exciting opportunities that makes it fun and worthwhile to write for a blog because now I have the excuse to share my experiences and encourage you to take advantage of this offer as well.
|The Bike Kitchen is a bicycle fix-it location.|
Though they have bikes available to borrow, the organizers encourage people to use their own bicycles. We met at the Bike Kitchen--at Lock 3 Park under the old O'Neil's Building where it's all clearly marked--at the appointed hour. The Bike Kitchen is associated with Summit Cycling Center--click HERE for more info about them. Our tour group was small but the informal, very casual journey was probably the better for it. On this day, our group had three guides who led us from the Bike Kitchen to some of the best and most interesting locations throughout the downtown area.
|On our casual tour, we passed Don Drumm Studios...|
|...the historic Old Stone School...|
|...and the Chihuly polymer sculpture on campus. Yes, the tours move forward rain or shine (not during thunderstorms) but this day only looked frightful--we didn't experience bad weather after all.|
Gently reminding us about road safety and how to share the road with cars, we stopped frequently to enjoy the locations and keep the group together. You don't have to be in top physical shape to keep up--it's meant to be a slow, enjoyable ride. Though my scheduled tour appointment was during rush hour traffic, we actually experienced no difficulties sharing the road. My guides knew exactly what they were doing.
|Our three lovely guides--too bad I couldn't carry a pad of paper with me to write down their names!? They were awesome. If I remember correctly, this photo was taken during a stop in front of Bierce Library on The University of Akron's campus.|
|We also stopped at the historic Hower House.|
|Our ambitious group decided to double the tour length and we rode across the All American Bridge. This photo was taken from the top of Waters Park in North Hill looking back at downtown Akron.|
In addition to the free bike tour, we also received a free t-shirt, a tote bag, and coupons for discounts in several downtown restaurants and events. This almost seems too good to be true but it is not. I did it--and I encourage you to take advantage of this program as well. The schedule for free tours continues through the end of August and a few select dates in September. Check out their website HowWeRollUA.com to read about the tours and to schedule your own. Let me know how you like your t-shirt!