Katie McQuaid's Scene in Manchester: Cyclists work to ride safely on city streets
Manchester bikers, unite. No, I am not talking to the motorcyclists with the obnoxiously loud exhaust systems. I am encouraging the nice, quiet, respectful bicyclists who just want to be able to pedal to work, or the store, or for fun, without being yelled at by motorists to “get on the sidewalk.”
Did you know it is actually illegal to ride a bike on the sidewalk in Manchester? That is a little tidbit I learned at bikemht.com. This is the very informative website of the organization Bike Manchester, which started last fall after group member Will Stewart posted a picture of three bikes on Elm Street, all awkwardly propped up against utility poles and street signs. It was a terrific illustration of the lack of racks and other biking infrastructure in the Queen City.
The group’s mission is simple.
“Bike Manchester wants more people riding bicycles in Manchester, New Hampshire, more often,” states the website.
To that end, the group advocates for rider safety and convenience. They want to see fewer potholes and more bike racks.
They are big cheerleaders of the city’s exploration into creating its first bike lanes and are helping to “stress map” city streets to find out the most difficult places to ride a bike due to car traffic.
Stewart is hard to miss when he is on his bike. He’s the guy in the suit and bow tie, sometimes with his toddler son, Zeke, riding in the back seat. I am sure bike safety took on a whole new meaning for Stewart when he started taking his mini-me out on bike trips.
I have not owned a bike since college, but now that I have a first-grader who likes to ride his bike to school, I appreciate Bike Manchester’s efforts to make bike riding the norm around here. More people on bikes will make motorists more aware and keep everyone safer.
“Future plans include implementing a safe bicycle education campaign and a bike-friendly business program,” said Stewart, whose affiliation with Bike Manchester is unconnected with his job as vice president of economic development and advocacy at the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce.
A section of bikemht.com, called Manchester Cycling 101, has a menu of everything you would ever need to know about owning and operating a bike in the Queen City. I had no idea that all Manchester city buses have racks to hang your bike on the front of them or that motorists must leave three feet of space between their car and a bicyclist. (Personally, I could actually use a foot or two more.) The site lists rights and responsibilities of Manchester bicyclists with links to applicable New Hampshire laws, and even has detailed instructions on how to avoid a crash and steps to take if you are unable to avoid one.
The best part of the site are the maps of bike routes and trails in the Greater Manchester area and of bike rack locations. The latter map is a work in progress; Bike Manchester needs your help to keep it accurate and up-to-date. Check out their map of bicycle rack locations at bikemht.com/bicycle-rack-locations. If you know of a bike rack not on the map, please email it to email@example.com.
Bikers and wannabe bikers of all levels are encouraged to join Bike Manchester, which meets the fourth Thursday of the month at 6 p.m., usually at different locations around the city. If you would like to help plan future Bike Manchester efforts and initiatives, learn more about how transportation infrastructure decisions are made in Manchester, or just want to meet fellow Manchester bicyclists, visit their website and sign up for their email list to learn more.
Last week I wrote about seeing Sarah Silverman perform in Manchester years ago for a fundraiser. Thank you to John Campanello of Between Gigs Casting for pointing out the fundraiser was for New Thalian Players, not the Majestic Theatre, as I had remembered.
New Thalian Players was started with the help of Silverman’s mom, Beth Ann O’Hara, at Notre Dame College in the 1980s. The troupe stopped putting on shows last year, but will be remembered for the wonderful contributions it made to community theater in the Queen City.
Yoga in the Vineyard
Sometimes the only thing that will get me through a workout is knowing that a good meal is on the other end. That is why LaBelle Winery’s new Yoga in the Vineyard series is such a brilliant idea.
The outdoor classes at the Route 101 venue are scheduled for the second and fourth Sunday of each month, June through September, at 11 a.m. Classes are $10.
Following the class, students will receive a 10 percent discount on lunch at the winery’s bistro. Sounds like a perfect Sunday afternoon to me.
Instructor Pubali Campbell, owner of Bikram Yoga Manchester, said classes will include 50 minutes of stretching and strengthening postures, followed by 10 minutes of silent meditation. They will not be the traditional Bikram yoga classes that are taught inside a hot room at her Manchester studio. Although, Mother Nature may provide the heat herself.
“Overall, this class is going to be a pleasurable Sunday morning activity to combine yoga, meditation, and the beauty of the LaBelle facility,” she said.
LaBelle has a whole calendar of interesting events lined up for the summer, including cooking demonstrations, art talks, live music and an authors series.
To learn more, visit www.labellewinerynh.com.
NH365.org Event of Week
When I was a student at Manchester High School Central, there was a framed Archie comic strip signed by Bob Montana in the main office. I had always been told the creator of Archie, Jughead and the gang had been a student at my high school, but didn’t know much else about his ties to Manchester.
I wonder how Montana would feel about the Archie comics of today, in particular, the revelation that grownup Archie is about to be killed off in one of the series. Perhaps historian Carol Lee Anderson can provide some insight for fans at the discussion of her new book “The New England Life of Bob Montana,” at the Millyard Museum this Saturday at 11 a.m.
Anderson’s book traces the artist’s life from his boyhood days in vaudeville and the development of the Archie comics to his many contributions as a resident of Meredith. Her presentation is included with regular paid admission to the museum and free for Manchester Historic Association members.
For more information on this and other events around Manchester, visit www.NH365.org.
If you have an interesting item for Scene in Manchester, write to Scene@UnionLeader.com.