Bicycles are not very welcome on the narrow country roads surrounding my little town. Motorists will indulge you as you peddle through our charming downtown, where the speed limit is 20 mph, but beyond downtown, you are an impediment to their motoring progress. There are a few brave souls who will hold their own against an onslaught of SUVs and one-ton pickups, but I am not one of them. Nor is my 12-year-old.
But just down the road, in the next town over, they are in the process of putting in a bikepath along a greenway where no motorists are allowed. The path runs along the Ohio riverfront, then turns to follow Pigeon Creek through town. The section to the north has been in place for several years. The section to the southwest is in the planning and clearing stage. All the sections should all meet up in a couple years, not nearly as soon as we'd like, but never mind our impatience. We're happy to have it, even in its current piecemeal state.
Yesterday we loaded the bikes, drove to that next town over, and rode the greenway. The completed section by the river is a bit too short to make a satisfying ride, so we looped a certain part of it where it crosses the train tracks, rounds a bit of grassiness, and dips under the cross-town expressway. (We did that part four times, whooping each time as we went under the expressway. Can you say fun?)
We're a long way from seeing bikes as transportation in this area. It's not (yet) practical and it's not (yet) safe. But not everything is about getting from Point A to Point B. Not everything has to have a point. Sometimes it's enough to load up the bikes and just go for a ride.