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Lancaster is getting more and more bike friendly. Last year, West Chestnut street got its very own bike lane, and the City of Lancaster, let alone the county, has lots of bike retailers and repair shops. On the whole, Lancaster is becoming more and more bike friendly, and you can easily join in on the fun.

Bike-friendly cities are great not only for the health of the citizens, but also for the reduction of carbon emissions, land beautification, and community building. According to a 2009 study, car trips for journeys under one mile added up would extent over 10 billion miles per year. That’s a long distance, gas, and traffic for trips we could just as easily undertake on foot or on a greener vehicle like a bicycle.

First, you’ll need to either purchase a bike or repair repair the bike you have. You can visit any shoppe from Martin’s Bikes in Ephrata to Green Mountain Cyclery to any number of resale websites (craigslist or facebook marketplace). All of these places are locally run and will help you find the perfect bicycle for your size and needs. If you need an old bike repaired, you could probably take it to any of these aforementioned stores. Alternatively, though, you could take an introductory bike repair class at The Common Wheel on the 700 block of King Street. That way, if your bike has any minor problems, you can learn how to fix them up yourself.

Try to be mindful of places you can go on your bike. If you suddenly ran out of laundry detergent or need to deliver some information to a friend, you can easily take this trip on a bicycle rather than in a car. Sure, it may take a little longer, but even a short bike trip can boost your heart rate and allow you to see the landscape in ways you’ve never seen before. Additionally, cars that travel under a mile endure unnecessary wear and tear, as short trips are hard on engines, and and the traffic they cause is not proportionate to their end goal. Overall, it’s better for you and your community to bike short errands if you can.

Even besides using your bike for groceries, there are beautiful paths, parks, and scenery for you to bike at your own pace to relax and enjoy the beauties of Lancaster County. As the farms start to sprout and the scenery greens back in for springtime, long stretches of generally empty country roads just outside the city limits make for beautiful sunrise or sunset bike rides. It’s rare in our modern world to just move slowly and take in our surroundings, but on bikes, you can reclaim some of your time and use it to get active and enjoy the beauty that visitors from the other coast fly in to see.

Lancaster’s advocates for increased access to bikes, safety, and road space are holding events all the time for anyone with any interest in bikes in some capacity. There are slow rides through the city, political activities to petition city council to allot more money to the biking agenda, and volunteer opportunities to help kids learn how to ride and repair bikes. Opportunities for biking in Lancaster abound if you’re mindful and eager to pedal!