Pedal & Park at the Indiana State Fair
Writer / Kathi Moore
It’s August in Indiana, and any self-respecting Hoosier knows that means State Fair time. Whether you are a hard-core annual attendee or an occasional visitor, this may be your year to try experiencing the fair in a different way. Ride your bike!
It’s not a new concept. For 20 years the Central Indiana Bicycling Association (CIBA) has been hosting bicycle parking at the fair. But in recent years, as more and more people ride their bikes, the excellent resource that is the Pedal & Park program is gaining increasing exposure.
Consider this: you fill your car with gas, drive to the Fairgrounds where you sit in a line of exhaust-spewing traffic, you pay a facility parking fee and you’re still parking far away from your favorite Dairy Barn or tenderloin sandwiches in a dusty spot that may require a car wash afterward.
Pedal & Park is a much better option, claims Catherine Dusing, the first CIBA president and long-time volunteer. She suggests you leave your car somewhere else and bike the Monon to the 38th Street Boulevard Station, where you’ll find friendly CIBA volunteers (like 85-year-old Catherine) who will take your bike to a secure fenced-in area, give you a wristband and a $1.00 off Fair admission voucher, and then will watch your bike for the duration of your visit (until 8 p.m.) It’s a free service with no lines and no facility fees.
“Last year we served 2,400 bicycles in the 17 days of the Fair,” said Dusing. “This was way ahead of the previous year. Assuming about two people per car, I count 75 percent of those as cars kept off the road.”
Obviously the numbers are affected by weather. When it’s extra-hot or rainy, Dusing said they don’t see as many riders. But when Fair attendance is up, their numbers are also up.
“We see all sorts of bicycles, from expensive ones to children’s bicycles, to rollerblades and skateboards, too,” Dusing commented. They’ll also keep watch over your helmet, your trailer, your tandem, and other related items.
CIBA runs the free program as an outreach of their organization’s mission: “To provide opportunities for bicyclists of all ages and abilities to ride their bicycles on safe, friendly, and well-organized rides; to be informed of bicycle events and related activities; to volunteer in support of CIBA and other bicycle-related organizations; and to socialize with other bicyclists.”
Park & Pedal is open from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. August 1-17. For more information, visit cibaride.org.